Archive for June, 2008

by admin
on Jun 16th, 2008

Memories for Eighton Banks

Year: 1952

My School Years

I started at Eighton Banks Primary School in 1952 aged five, having been moved from the slum clearance of the Teams, Gateshead. To be in open countryside after the lung-choking life of the industrial Teams was absolute heaven.

The headmistress was Miss Smith. My teacher was called Miss Forster, I believe. I loved playing on the old camp at the back of the school, (before the school became an animal shelter) with my good friends George Harrison who lived on Longbank in a detached stone house, his mother and father were very good to me, she would give me food and clothing, Tim Shield who lived in Springfield Avenue, Eighton Banks, (his mother was a teacher at the school), someone called Michael, a girl called Violet who lived in a bungalow off Wrekenton �Long Bank�, Angela Belford Catrine Cook and many more.

The school was first established in two cottages in 1832 as a �Charitable� school, called Barrington Charitable school, then in 1867 the existing building was built, still called Barrington Charitable School, after it�s founder, Bishop Barrington, of Durham. It became known as Eighton Banks school when it was taken over by the Education Board, under the Education Act.

My sister, brother and I attended daily to ensure we got fed at least one free meal daily, otherwise food was not usually forthcoming in our house. I attended St. Thomas�s Church at Harvest Festivals. I well remember Carol Cook, my brothers girlfriend. the Farm was a working farm right next to the school, the smell was awful, but the animals got used to us.

School dinners were delivered in an old Morris Estate truck. There were pigs in the field attached to the school. You could walk over fields starting at the Church, and a lane that ran between the Church and Chapel House, all the way down past a row of disused terraced houses once home to quarrymens families, passing the Quarrymans pub, down a steep incline and into Mrs Kitts sweet shop in Wrekenton, to buy a penny chew. What a lovely lady she was. From the back of the school we walked over the old Roman camp to my house in the new estate, built right on top of a tip!

They were halcyon days indeed.

From St. Thomas’s Church walking south we would walk up the hill, passing the council houses on the right where Carol Cook lived, up to the Wagon Inn and the streets of terraced houses where Angela Belford lived, where we played under the hangmans arch that led to the little chapel.

Coming out of the school, turning right we would walk up past the old row of houses to the bend, then down Galloping Green to the old house at Wrekenton, probably part of Wrekento House, it had a wall all aroung it, now long gone, but I remember it. I recall the Minors Institute next to Dr. Pothilwaites, (? spelling), surgery.

I left Eighton Banks school age 11yrs in 1958, having failed my 11+ exam, to go to secondary schooling firstly at South Street Boys School then into the new comprehensive education system introduced in 1960, by a whole school moved into the brand new school called Greenweel Lane, in Beacon Lough.
How I miss those great, hot long summers, the friends I played with both as a child and later as a teenager.

I return to this memorial place each year, my children and grandchildren know all about it, but have never lived there. My dead brothers ashes are scattered there as was his dying wish.

My fondest life memories are of this wonderous village and a pace and style of life now gone forever.

History is a thing of the past.

by admin
on Jun 14th, 2008


The woman my father married
Year: 1930s

I don’t know a lot about Blyth, Northumberland, only that for some strange reason I visited an awful lot during my life but thought nothing of it. My current fiancee and I would sit for long periods on the old docks at the bottom of Ridley Street area, eating locally purchased cheeseburgers etc.

I remember once booking a romantic table for two in Blyth, but it was a waste of time - she only potted 3 reds!

Much later in my life I learned that my grandfather, James Barns Chilvers, was lost at sea after leaving Blyth harbour on 25th November 1925, on a collier named Galleon, bound for London. She never made it. Only wreckage of the ship was found.

He was born in Hull on the 16th June 1855. He married my grandmother, Dorothy Rose Chilvers, nee Burns, on March 11th 1901, in Gateshead Registry Office.

My grandmothers side of the family goes back hundreds of years and includes Rabbie Burns, the famed Scottish poet. This is probably why my poetry is so well publicised in public arena’s - well in gents toilets anyway. An example of my work in the Saltwell Park urinal is……….

Land of hope and glory
Mother of the free
I don’t like your taxes
Canada for me.

They don’t write them like that anymore

It was with some shock that I learned just yesterday that my maternal grandparents lived in Ridley Street, Blyth, in the early 1900s, giving birth to the woman my father married. It left me with an extremely uncanny feeling of the supernatural. How extra-ordinary!

My birth-mothers name was Isabella Gattis Chilvers, born on the 1st March 1916, in Ridley Street Blyth, yards from where I would sit during my life, not knowing any close family ties with this area at all, but that I just wanted to be there.

Other siblings of the Chilvers family were Ruth Chilvers who died in 1921, Mabel Barnes Chilvers, who married William Parkin at Gateshead Registry Office on the 11th March 1931, Elizabeth Barnes Chilvers who married Hugh Mc Kenna at Gateshead Registry Office on the 8th January 1936, and Edward Burns Chilvers who married Caroline Rutherford on the 6th May 1939.

My maternal grandmother was born Dorothy Tulip Burns on Felling Shore, Gateshead in 1881. She married James Chilvers and then having been widowed she married Patrick Mc Caully, (Paddy), who worked for many years as an engine driver at the Gas Works in the Teams, Gateshead.

Last night I re-visted Ridley Street in Blyth with my sister. It is still there but, not as it was. The old school building still stands in an adjacent street, but I could not find any of the old housing stock of Ridley Street.

I doubt now if anyone still lives that remembers my maternal side of the family in relation to Ridley street. But, if there is I would appreciate contact in order to help me record my family history.