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Muriel The Half Caste Girl - a Memory of Whickham.

That's how most people outside of the Edith Brough Whickham home referred to me. My sister (Dorothy) and I were transferred from the South Shields home to the Whickham home when I was about 11 years old after I ran away from the Edward Brough South Shields home after one too many canings. Through the wonders of the internet, Betty (Elizabeth) Young and I were able to make contact with each other a few years ago and happily we still remain in touch. In 2008, while staying with my brother in London, I visited Gateshead to attend a reunion with Betty, her sister Margaret, and Rosemary Hughes . We stopped at the Whickham church on Front Street where we had worshipped as children. I have a wonderful memory of the four of us standing outside the church singing, "Yes, Jesus loves me" with curious onlookers probably wondering whether we were crazy or senile. I've been living in the United States in the San Francisco Bay Area since the late sixties.

I too remember Mary Waugh with the most beautiful red hair. Mary had burn scars on her back; I'm not sure how she acquired them. I remember shy near-sighted Paul Andrearson, Frankie and Johnny Skelly, Eleanor and and Marina Welch, and beautiful red-haired Sylvia Welch who frequently threatened to throw herself off the upstairs balcony whenever she was upset. Visiting day was agony, having to watch the kids with visitors enjoy chocolates, toffees and licorice allsorts, hoping they'd be kind enough to share.

The two "wardens" who glared at us at mealtime were Miss Jones, a miserable lady with white hair, a red face and starched blue uniform, and "Miss Mac" McCorquadale, a strict plump Scottish woman who constantly threatened to "smack our wee botties" if we misbehaved. I remember devouring from plates piled high with the beloved salty bread and dripping sandwiches. The kids who ate the fastest grabbed the most bread, so I learned to be an expert at speed eating.

Several girls on this site remember my sister Dorothy's beautiful singing voice. She played the role of Hansel in a successful local theatrical production of Hansel and Gretel. She's now retired and lives in the hills of San Francisco.

Thanks so much to everyone for sharing your memories.

Muriel Padmore

 Comments & Feedback

Thu Sep 24th 2020, at 10:08 pm
leighpadmore commented:
Hi Margaret. It's been 4 years since you commented but I just recently checked this site. When I was 16 we worked together at my first job at C&T Harris (Calne) Ltd. I distinctlly remember you (pretty girl with dark curly hair and blue eyes) and Edna because you were so kind to me and we shared a lot of laughs together. I also remember Audrey who often mentioned her fiance Norbert, and sweet Shirley who managed the switchboard. I remember when we all went to see South Pacific and made a pact that day that we'd gather in the same spot 20 years later. I never made it. Would love to hear from you and find out how you're doing. My email is
Thu Sep 24th 2020, at 9:50 pm
leighpadmore commented:
Hi Lilian. This is Muriel Padmore (Dorothy's sister). It was so nice to see your note. Would you mind sending me your email address so I can forward it to Dorothy. I can be reached at Not sure whether you need to add to the address to indicate I'm in America. All the best. Muriel
Sun Oct 25th 2015, at 3:06 pm
trevor.milne commented:
Hello Muriel,
My name was Lilian Tooley and my friend and I were at Baring Street with your sister Dorothy, Dorothy and Norma Robertson were lovely singers and both were in the school musicals Toad of Toad Hall and Hansel and Gretal.
Every year Baring street girls and Ocean Road Boys have a school reuinion and you both are always mentioned by the girls. No wonder we could not trace you living in America, strangely enough I was in San Fransisco a couple of years ago, it woulld have been lovely to have met up with you . Anyhow give Dorothy my regards and ask her to drop me a line so that I can inform her old school mates of how she is doing.
There would be so much to talk about.
Best Wishes
Lilian Tooley ( Milne)
Fri Feb 20th 2015, at 3:12 pm
mandjhenderson commented:
Do you remember Margaret Davis. We worked together at C&T Harris. We used to sing Everley Brothers songs
Been dying to know how your life panned out. Happily I hope. Margaret
Tue Oct 7th 2014, at 4:28 pm
kwne17139 commented:
hi Mue you have been great at jogging my memory. Whickham School Reunion is mid October which I, Margaret and Rosemary will be going. I wish you were too. ps I still eat fast now as you know!

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