Martin’s Memories – Tyne Street from the crossings to the Station Hotel.

This post appears in the following categories:

The Martin’s Memories series has been reproduced with the very kind permission of Tony Martin from his posts on the Old Blaydon and Old Winlaton Facebook group.

OLD Blaydon and OLD Winlaton | MARTIN’S MEMORIES 22 | Facebook

My experience of Tyne Street was completely different from my experience of Church Street and the Square. These I walked up and down and criss-crossed regularly. My experience of Tyne Street was completely different and more segmented, but I still have many memories of Tyne Street. As a lad from the Avenues, there were certain routes one took and these acted as “tunnels” as far as the rest of the street was concerned. If I was going to the Spike, the route was via the Dene, Lucy Street and Thomas Terrace; to other parts of the bottom end of Tyne Street, we walked down Theresa Street and then used either Robinson Street or Cuthbert Street. The route to the station was across the Square, whilst at other times, I cut through beside the blacksmiths to get to Flass Street and the ironmongers. The section between the meeting point of Garden Street and Tyne Street to the Douglass, I walked every day on my paper round. So it is a fragmented vision I am giving here and there are a number of gaps which others no doubt can fill in.

The level crossing and the signal box were situated at the bottom end of Tyne Street opposite its junction with Thomas Terrace. Between here and its junction with Robinson Street, there were several small shops ,among them a greengrocer and general dealer. My main port of call in this area of Tyne Street was the Crown Lending Library on the corner of Robinson Street opposite the Terrace Inn. In my early childhood, the County Library opposite the Pavilion had not opened. Uncle Stephen was a fan of Westerns, both films and books, whilst my Aunt Nell liked a Mills and Boon romance in between her knitting, crochet work and rug making. No TV so these were done while listening to the wireless. The Crown Library was run by a man called Humble, who was related to the family that had the garage at High Blaydon. One borrowed books for 3d a week and my uncle had read that many, that he was allowed to write in pencil the letters MHS on the title page. Quite often, I was sent alone to renew his books and as a reward I could get a 2d packet of foreign stamps for my collection. Humble had several cards with packets of stamps that I could select from.

Crossing Robinson Street from the library was the Terrace Inn and the between the back lane to Robinson Street and Cuthbert Street was the Newcastle Savings Bank (later TSB) where Uncle had an account. Across the street on the opposite corner was a very small shop, where Uncle Stephen had started out in business as a jeweller and watchmaker in 1918 before moving to 22 Church Street. He always referred to these premises as the “little shop” and very small it was….there was scarcely room for four people to be in there at one time. When I first became interested in music, I was given what was called a “pick up” basically a turntable that played 78s and plugged into the back of the wireless so you could use its loudspeaker. I was also given an album of records that were left over from the shop, most of them bearing the stamp of the shop and some of the early ones even had the stamp stuck to them to show that the tax had been paid on the records. Among these, which I donated to Beamish Museum were 12 inch one sided singles of Enrico Caruso and Dame Nellie Melba, the Hallelujah Chorus sung by the Huddersfield Choral Society, one by the Scottish comedian, Will Fyffe and others by the baritone of the day, Peter Dawson and the duet couple of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette Macdonald. I added my first record purchases to this collection of oldies…..most readers will no doubt also consider these oldies now – Slim Whitman singing Rose Marie and Indian Love Call, the first Chris Barber Jazz Band records and then when Lonnie Donegan moved from playing banjo in the jazz band and started his skiffle group, I bought some of these. But he had to compete with Johnny Duncan and the Blue Grass Boys and Nancy Whiskey and Chas McDevitt’s Skiffle Group. Also part of this collection was a plastic contraption called a repeater. It was obviously geared to the fact that most records only played for about 3 minutes and by placing this on the record, the needle would be quickly returned from the end to the start of the record so the dancing could continue. I might add that I did not have a record player until I was married and my wife had one she had got as a present at the age of 14.

Next to this little shop were the Coop Chilled Meat and Pork Butchers, which I have mentioned in another instalment. These were housed in the building originally known as the Mechanic Hall of Blaydon Races fame and there was an inscription on the lintel of one of the windows to this effect. Callers was next and crossing Church Street to Danny Brown’s we can continue up Tyne Street and we pass the Tyne Street entrance to the Lang Bar. There were a number of smaller shops before one got to Pinch’s Fish and Chip Shop which always had a lighthouse in the window. Among these was a pet shop. Next to Pinch’s there was a staircase up to the Tyneview Caterers restaurant. There was also a photographic studio, that predated Palmers and where my mother had my younger brother and sister photographed as 6 month olds which was the tradition then.

Opposite the main entrance to the railway station was the Blaydon branch of the Prudential Insurance Company, a solicitor’s office and the office of the Blaydon Courier, the local newspaper which was published every Friday and was a source of local information, adverts, gossip and reports of local events including all the cases from the local Magistrate’s Court. This section of Tyne Street ended at the Station Hotel, situated on the corner into Wesley Place and opposite the Post Office. We will continue our walk up the remainder of Tyne Street in the next instalment.

Tyne Street showing the Crown Lending Library, the Terrace Inn with folk waiting for it to open and the shop where my uncle started his business where the ladies are standing. The crossings at the bottom of Thomas Terrace would be off picture at the back of this photo.
The Terrace Inn at the corner of Tyne Street and Robinson Street.
The Coop Chilled Meat and Pork Shops. The inscription about the Mechanics Hall is above one of the windows.
The view up Tyne Street from Danny Brown’s outfitters towards the Post Office.
The view from the junction of Flass Street and Tyne Street towards the bottom end of Church Street showing the Post Office and the Station Hotel.
The main entrance to Blaydon Railway Station.
Pinch’s Fish and Chip Shop on Tyne Street looking towards Callers.