Letters, Saturday, July 7th, 2012

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Fish and chips from Annie’s van

I WAS fascinated to read that Ryhope artist Fred Carr had been inspired to paint an image of the fish and chip van which appeared in Sarah Stoner’s Wearside Echoes article “A Fishy Story”.

The article was inspired by my great-great-grandmother Annie Nord of Grangetown.

While Mr Carr may be correct that there was a mobile fish and chip van which covered the Hollycarrside area of Ryhope, I must point out that Annie Nord’s fish van only served the Grangetown area.

Her van was pitched at the top of Regent Terrace, on an area of waste land referred to locally as The Green and later the location of the Grangetown terminus.

She would stand out until midnight most nights serving her customers.

Her daughter-in-law, Phyllis Nord, herself a well-known Grangetown character, would recall: “She used to stand out until about 12 o’clock at night, and somebody used to say: ‘Eh, are you closing, Mrs Nord? Me da’s coming in from work and me ma hasn’t got anything.’ And she used to get back in the van and start again.

“Well I was with her more than I was with me mother cos I used to go to the docks with the cart and if she was with us she would say: ‘Pop along yourself, you know what I want,’ and that was before I was in the fish business.  

“And folks used to say: ‘Where’s your mother today?’ Everybody thought she was me mother.”

Annie served the Grangetown community from the turn of the century until her death in 1934.

Her daughter-in-law Phyllis would also later recall being asked by her husband George if she wished to take over the fish van.

“‘Do you want to go into the van to work?’ he asked, and the Lord must have put the words into me mouth. I said: ‘No, I don’t’.

“He said: ‘You were the only one I would ask to go in it. I wouldn’t sell it’.”

And he took it down to the gardens and burned it.  

Annie Nord’s story, and that of the wider Grangetown community is told in three volumes entitled “Just Like It Was Yesterday…A History of the Village of Grangetown, Sunderland” by Dr Robert Barry Shepherd.

If any readers are interested in obtaining a copy they can contact me on robshepherd1974@googlemail.com or tel. 548 2040.

Rob Shepherd

Tories still digging

I AM happy to announce that the demise of my socialist principles have been greatly exaggerated by Michael Dixon, the man who, in my opinion, prostituted the kind words by Chris Mullin on foreign aid.

This was when Mr Dixon made an unsuccessful attempt to justify inhuman Tory cuts which take a proportionally bigger amount from those on lower incomes. I included in my previous letter a quote from Philip Davies, a Tory MP. I should have known better – the Tories always let your down and can’t be trusted. Sure enough Mr Dixon (who obviously knows his colleague better than I) informed me of some of Davies’ views and I can only conclude Davies is a bigot.

Well, well, I could have chosen from a number of Tory MPs and I pick him. However, I understand there are a number of bigots among Tory MPs so I could have been left with another one.

Let’s not forget the bankers’ friend and U-turn king slippery Dave Cameron. He is showing plenty of intolerance towards the under-25s lately, which some might take as bigotry.

If Dave had the sense in 2010 to listen to the experts, things would have been different. They spoke these wise words in his ear. The UK economy has just been through a huge trauma and is in no fit state to absorb the withdrawal of consumer demand expected when millions are hit by cuts.

They said that when welfare payments are withdrawn there will be a knock-on effect on the high street, leading to the dreaded double dip. Remember, this was in 2010. The experts told Osborne to look at what happened in Ireland and Greece, where huge cuts in public spending had not rescued their economies. The Tories refused to listen, and even today are still digging the hole deeper.

W. Quinn, Duke Street, Millfield

Government help

SO Coun Watson thinks it is the Coalition Government’s policies that are hitting Sunderland (Echo June 22).

Are these the policies that have invested £17million in Nissan, provided funds for the new Wear Bridge, provided funding for a new multi-storey car park at the Royal Hospital, provided funding that allowed the council to purchase the Vaux site, building a new hospital at Ryhope and the formation of a new Enterprise Zone which includes Sunderland?

Many of these things were sat on by Labour for 13 years. The current Government has been in office for only two years and we have results despite the financial mess left to them.

On top of this we now have the announcement of funding to help fight youth unemployment.

Terrence Docherty, Zetland Square, Monkwearmouth

Cycle safety

I WOULD like to say how impressed I was when recently I saw the children from Barnes Junior School out on a cycle ride with instructors, also on bikes. This is obviously to give the children a more real experience.

There were also children from the nearby Broadway School practising manoeuvres outside my home as their instructors gave advice on foot.

The Council Road Safety Department is doing a fine job.

Keep it up.

Mary Stephenson, Canberra Road, Barnes, Sunderland