Remembering the days of soggy knitted swimming costumes and poss tubs

Sunderland lads on their way home after tatie picking at Cleadon in the 1950s.
Sunderland lads on their way home after tatie picking at Cleadon in the 1950s.
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Memories of washday blues, tin baths and soggy knitted bathing suits are recalled in a new book.

North East Life in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, by Sunderland author Andrew Clark, features a host of topics from tattie picking to childhood games.

Lads from Silksworth Modern School play a game of 'Mount�a�kitty'.

Lads from Silksworth Modern School play a game of 'Mount�a�kitty'.

“I’m fascinated with this era. I enjoy hearing stories of everyday life and some of those memories are featured in the book,” he said.

“The wireless was the main form of entertainment, every community had a cinema and holidays were a day trip to the seaside.

“Life was very different but, as these decades are within the living memory of many people, it is history that you can easily relate to.”

Among the stories featured are tales of washday Mondays, outside toilets, Coronation Day, early TV and Christmas celebrations.

Gertie Dawson on wash day in the backyard of her house at New Lambton in the 1930s. She is using a wooden poss stick and tub with a mangle fitted.

Gertie Dawson on wash day in the backyard of her house at New Lambton in the 1930s. She is using a wooden poss stick and tub with a mangle fitted.

“There was plenty of hard work in the shipyards and pits, but also plenty of hard work for mams who didn’t have all our modern gadgets,” said Andrew.

“Monday was always washday and it took all day. In some colliery communities, washday was known as ‘The Devil’s Birthday’ as it was such hard work.”

Other memories include tales of childhood games, from skips to mount-a-kitty, as well personal stories from around Sunderland and the region.

Silksworth man Colin Orr provides a moving account of life in the pit village of Silksworth, while Lena Cooper recalls pre-war work at the Co-op in Fencehouses.

“The subjects I’ve chosen are the ones I believe people enjoy – such as life at home, entertainment, holidays, Christmas and games,” said Andrew.

“However, this book is just the starting point in our trip down memory lane. I always say if my stories bring back memories you have – please share them.”

* North East Life is published by Summerhill Books at £4.99.