Chester-le-Street Heritage Group

I have just been browsing your wonderful website and it has brought back some memories of a much-loved town where I spent the first twelve years of my life (1956-1968).

I moved to Chester-le-Street when I was 6 months old. I was a ‘top-ender’ who lived at Red Rose Terrace, and I went to Red Rose Infant and Junior school, before moving on to the Grammar School for a couple of years. My memories of Red Rose School were all fond ones. We had Les Kirkbride as headmaster and I can just about remember all the teachers who taught me. I still keep in touch with a couple of my former classmates even today.

My father was assistant golf professional for a time in the mid-1960s and my mother worked for a time at the hospital over the road. In no particular order, I have great memories of:-

• Getting the number 4 bus to Stanley baths on a Saturday    morning.

• Wandering up and down the Front Street with my Mum,    calling in at Johnny Healers (greengrocer), Johnny Loughlin    (butcher), Wilson’s the chemist, O’Brien’s newsagents,

   and T. Baxter Whites for cakes.

• Patting the old dog that lived at the High Crown every day   walking back from the Grammar School.

• Nearly getting my fingers bitten by a caged ferret and a   parrot in the pet shop on Front Street near West Lane.

• Calling into The Black Horse with my Dad to see the    landlord (Tommy Stoddart).

• Trying to augment my pocket money by grabbing coins    thrown out of the wedding cars at the Registry Office    opposite my house on a Saturday morning.

• Listening to the buzzing from the Vespa Honda bikes in the    bike shop opposite.

• Kicking the ball around for hours in the back lane.

• Getting up to mischief at the banks of the Wear – and    getting scolded regularly for crossing the busy main road    to get there.

• Getting my sweets at the shop on the corner (George    Studham).

• Seeing the doctor (Miles Hudson) on a regular basis after    many scrapes and scratches received.

• Getting my hair cut at Harry Jackson’s over the road from    me.

• Badgering the drayman delivering barrels to the Relton    Club for plastic blue star lapel badges.

• Standing on the railway bridge waiting for a steam train to    go underneath.

• Shopping for toys at Woolworth’s and the Arcade on a    Saturday morning.

• Fishing for tiddlers at Riverside Park (which also had the    small and the big slides).

I could probably go on and on ………….it was a great place for me and my sisters to grow up.

Reminiscence by John Johnstone for the Friends of CLS Heritage Group January 2012.

Do You Remember ?