Southwick goes back to the future

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Suddickers around the world are being urged to make a date with 2015 – by taking a trip down memory lane. Sarah Stoner takes a look.

VINTAGE views will help Wearsiders go “back to the future” next year. Southwick History and Preservation Society has just published a 2015 calendar filled with nostalgic scenes - as well as several mystery snaps.

OLD SCENE: "The Liney" - as the old train line which ran through Southwick was known.

OLD SCENE: "The Liney" - as the old train line which ran through Southwick was known.

“We’ve tried to create a balance between people and places pictures, using images that very few Suddickers will have seen before,” said chairwoman Pam Tate.

“But we are also hoping those who buy our calendar will take the time to help us out too, as we have included several mystery photos of schools and people.

“It would be lovely to put a few names to faces on all of these, as this would help us to complete our records. Perhaps people can turn detective and help us out!”

SHAPS members spent months tracking down images for their 2015 calendar and among the highlights is a snap of Southwick’s bicycle club in 1881.

“It really is a lovely photo, especially with all the vintage head gear,” said Pam. “The big house in the picture used to belong to George Clark, of Southwick Engine Works.

“George built the first iron ship on the River Wear in 1851, the Loftus, before setting up his engine works in 1872. He really helped develop our marine-engine business.”

Other calendar photos include several shops and firms, such as Pleasant Road off-licence in the 1950s, pork butchers F. Goetz and staff at Moore’s Stores in the 1920s.

“Moore’s Stores was a typical Southwick village shop, offering people a little of everything. Generations of Southwick women would have worked there,” said Pam.

“The F. Goetz store was extremely popular too, but had to change its name due to anti-German feelings during World War One. It did great saveloy dips and pig trotters.

“And we wanted to include the off-licence at Pleasant Row, as it reminds people just how much the area - once home the Hahnemann Court flats - has changed over time.”

Several pictures of youngsters at St Hilda’s School at around the time of World War One are also included, together with mystery shots of school classes and sports teams.

There is also an evocative 1960s photo of The Smith’s Arms on The Green, as well as a more modern snap taken from the roof of Southwick’s old Co-operative store.

“The Smith’s Arms was a popular pub at the centre of village life. Indeed, way back in 1894 a blacksmith used to shoe horses in the building close by,” said Pam.

“That blacksmith, Harry Marsh, moved to Southwick in late Victorian times to set up his business. It was to prove a very successful family firm for many, many years.

“As for the Co-op picture, well I was lucky enough to be allowed up onto the roof to take it. We wanted to use it as a contrast, really, to show how the area has changed.”

Other photos in the calendar feature soldiers from Southwick who fought in World War One, as well as vintage shots of Clockwell Street and the local railway line.

“We thought it was important to include the soldiers, with this being the centenary of the war. Not all the men, but certainly some, gave their life in battle,” said Pam.

“A lot of people will remember “The Liney” - the old train line which ran through Southwick. As kids we all played around the area - something frowned upon today!

“And we felt we had to include Clockwell Street, as it has so much history. The street used to run in line with the river and was very long. Today, just six houses remain.

“But the name dates back to the Middle Ages, when Suddickers used the area to practise archery skills – to make sure they could protect the village against invasion.”

SHAPS first started printing their own calendars back in 2002, just after the group was set up, when a print run of 100 was agreed. Today it is more popular than ever.

Indeed, although the calendar has only just gone on sale, a reprint has already been arranged - after a flood of orders from America, Australia and across Europe.

“We are lucky to have such a wonderful archive of old photos to use,” said Pam. “It is always our hope that the calendar will be bring back happy memories for people.

“But it is an on-going history project too. As well as bringing back memories, it brings in stories as well. It is our sincere wish to put names to all the faces shown here.”

l The calendar will be on sale at Corner Kitchen, opposite Southwick Library, from 10am-1pm on Wednesday and Thursday, priced £3.50. It can also be purchased from Pam on 07833 787481 or 5672438.