Around Rockcliffe





Memories of the area include long summer days at the paddling pool, climbing the cliffs to go home for lunch, jam sandwiches and Tizer , lovely! Learning to swim in the rock bather, having been thrown in. Going down to Brown’s Bay after school, sitting on the railings trying not to get wet.

I used to live in Gordon Square (3) before moving to Edwards Road in April 1957. My parents had a sweet shop in Station Road for a few years. They used to sell buckets and spades etc to the visitors from Glasgow who came to Whitley Bay in hundreds. My brother Ian used to carry their suitcases on his ‘bogey’ to their bed and breakfast places.

I remember the parades every summer, sitting on our garden wall in Edwards Road, watching all the jazz bands lining up, ready to march through Whitley Bay. I used to attend the youth club at St Margaret’s Church. Attended church at St Cuthbert’s Presbyterian chapel in Esplanade. Attended the Sunshine Club in the Salvation Army building which was on Whitley Road.



After school, we would go down to table rocks and swim in the pool, now filled in. Most of my friends learned to swim in there. We moved into Edwards Road just before I was born and it remained my family home until 2010. We lived just above the paddling pool and I have vivid memories of mum taking us down there when she finished work. When mum wasn’t with us we of course used to climb the cliffs to get back home, despite one or two of my friends falling off and breaking some bones.

I attended St Margaret’s Methodist Sunday School with my younger sister, probably until the age of 10.

I remember quite a lot of the shops on Whitley Road during my childhood. The top of Edwards Road (left-hand side as you turn in) was the cobblers, now apartment block. On the right there was a grocers – Bennetts – from which we used to buy our jublees. Next to Bennetts was Stockdales the fish and chip shop, and we used to take in old newspapers and get a free bag of chips. Next door again was the local butchers, Ord’s. This was where everyone bought their meat and my abiding memory is the smell of the sawdust which always covered the floor. Further along was a really old-fashioned chemist (Roses springs to mind as the name but that may be wrong). This shop was really dark and full of big glass bottles which to a child were magical.



I can remember standing outside on Whitley Road when they first put street lights in.

Welch’s sweet factory used to be behind Boots. People were asked to take in their spare sugar and for 4lbs they gave you a pound of sweets.

When Maynards was about to open, crowds arrived to watch them filling the window with jars of sweets.

On Whitley Road, Oliver’s Bookshop was the post office. The hairdressers was a bakery which became Crawford’s. The beauty salon used to be a bicycle shop. Then past the house was Johnny Clough the butchers. Before the bicycle shop was a chemist – he use to ring Newcastle for anything he didn’t have. They would put the drugs onto the number 8 bus and his daughter would meet the bus to collect them. Most of the staff went to Beamish when he died.

At the Co op, it used to take hours, having to queue at the different counters for different things. Flour and sugar were weighed out from sacks. Butter and margarine was delivered in casks and turned on a marble slab to be cut into pieces – in hot weather it melted! The Co op used horses for deliveries in those days. There was a dairy opposite the park and another dairy in Grafton Road. The milk came in churns and the dairy staff had to bottle it themselves before making their deliveries.

The Salvation Army used to parade on a Sunday morning and sing in a circle.

The St Margaret’s Sunday School had trips to Wylam on a boat and you got a box of goodies. There used to be dances in St Margaret’s Hall.

The Salvation Army Sunday School trip was a bust to Morpeth which was an amazing trip in those days. Just after the War, the Salvation Army had pictures shows and asked if we wanted to be a sunbeam. My mother wrote to my dad to tell him about this and he told her to get me out of there!



I remember when I was a little girl, people coming from Scotland on holidays. Different parts of Scotland had different annual holidays. Their employers would put them on a train but in the 1960s, people started to go abroad, which affected the shops.



A lady on Margaret Road used to make toffee and sell it in white paper cases to the children that came to Rockcliffe for a ha’penny.

In 1950, I met my boyfriend at Whitley Bay bus station. We ran hand-in-hand along Whitley Road and down Edwards Road to Table Rocks. He popped an engagement ring on my finger and we went back to join the choir singers. Our initials are carved into the rocks (DC and JR).



In the 80s there were a lot of us in the street with young children and on sunny days we all used to congregate at the padding pool, with towels, packed lunches, flasks and spare nappies. the paddling pool was filled from May to September and there were swings. climbing frames and a slide.

The North Tyneside college (annexe) grounds were open during school holidays and weekends and all the children learned to ride their bikes there and played football/tennis etc the hall behind – backing on to Templegate was used for community events such as Pre-school playgroup leader training, Woodcraft Folk.