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Memories of Bryan who now lives in Adelaide, Australia

Forgive me but I just have to compliment one and all on your website for the absolute immense amount of pleasure it has given to an old Boldonian in perusing your new website. Having been born in the colliery, I think from memory in Arnold or Charles st  I just love to read anything at all about where I was born, lets face it in a small way we are famous, from memory we had Sam Bartarm Charlton Athletic Goalkeeper also John Shreeve again Charlton, Ian Cullen Actor, Albert Franks Newcastle U, Billy Walker the boxer and I have no doubt  lots of others too numerous to mention who came from this great combination of village and colliery.
 I have just enjoyed a whole hour of memories in looking through the photos and striving to recognise who all of them were. I was able to identify the buildings and in fact all of the cricket team most of whom I knew personally and others whom I worked with at the coal face.
I remember as a young man Sam Bartram  bringing to the Miners Hall the FA cup the year Charlton won it ,was he the pride and joy of Boldon Colliery? . Most of all though I remember the way in which the people of that generation used to rally around in times of need, the way in which when a mother had just given birth to a baby her neighbours would get the other kids bathed and off to bed ,cook tea for the man coming in from the pit and do any other chores that needed to be done, tears come to my eyes as I remember that , tears of real feeling and of having belonged to such a fabulous community as the people of Boldon. Give yourselves a pat on the back because it makes me proud to have belonged ,
Bryan Atkinson

More Memories:
I lived in Hilltop House during the war years with my Father Alby & Mum Emily, I remember vividly an Air -raid  during which a Landmine dropped in the back lane behind the house, from memory I think that three Wardens were blown up when they went to investigate, one was a Scout master named Gordon Edgerton but I dont remember who the other two were. My Father loved shifting and I can list quite a few houses that we rented. Hilltop House. Armstrongs buildings, Three addresses in Addison Rd, Rectory Terrace, Scotts House Farm, East View, Boldon, Colliery, Charles St. Arnold St.( Boldon Colliery). I dont know why he liked to shift he just did, as soon as we moved in to a place a number of relatives would turn up armed with scrapers and would the procede to strip off all of the old Wallpaper, we kids just loved getting covered in bits of Wallpaper and past Glue.Thats not bad Eleven shifts, I nearly forgot we moved to London once when things were real bad and Dad worked in the Nurseries where they grew Tomatoes etc.

I bet most of the villagers dont remember it, I only saw it open once, When you reach the top of the Colliery Bank if you look straight ahead there used to be a very large piece of ground which backed onto a Doctors surgery in Rectory Terrace I think he was called Dr Ingram, anyhow in the middle of the block at the top of the colliery bank there used to be a very large well which some workmen opened up one day much to the delight of us kids, I really dont know what happened to it after that it was probably filled in for safety reasons.
I along with many others attended the St Nicholas school in the Quarry at West Boldon The Headmaster was one Mark Wilson ex Stoke City Centre Half and an absolute Gentleman whom I admired very much he used to ride one of those very large Policeman Like Bycicles I got stuck with the daily job of putting it away in the very large Garage type building where the coke was stored, above that building was a large room and Boxers used to train there and we used to have to pay to get in to see them train, it used to cost an empty lemonade or beer bottle as entrance fee.
Village Weddings;
I remember when I was going to school that on Saturday's there were many weddings at St Nicholas Church and when we as kids  became aware that one was takinplace we would take up position downhill so that when the wedding cars were driving away whoever was in the cars would open the windows and throw out a handfull of threepences or sixpences depending of course on how afluent they wanted us to think they were, much to our delight we would be chasing money downhill until we could stop a coin with our foot and quickly pocket it before someone else grabbed it.Happy Days.
Reading about some of the families on this websight I am reminded of the Kirtons who are mentioned as the Butchers in the most fondest terms, I am not surprised, I remember vividly the exquisite feeling of going along to see Tommy Kirton with Mam and being promised that if I was very good which I made sure I was I would get a treat, the treat being a couple of slices of Pork inside a very large Breadbun which was then dipped in some kind of gravy, absolutely  "To Die For" to use a modern phrase.
The Co-operative Stores:
I am sure that everyone in the Boldons were or should have been members of this very ingenious concept of community spirit and help. Our family certainly was and we used to look forward to Divi Day when Mam would go along to the Co-op opposite the Miners Hall with all of her little checks I suppose they were to surrender them and be given the dividend which was due to her for buying all kinds of stuff throughout the year, I can even remember our number which was 1392. She would immediately spend most of it on shoes and things that we would need for the forthcoming year, I am sure everyone looked forward to Divi-Day.
More Memories.
I have fond memories of being allowed to visit with the boys at St Nicholas Boys Home in South Boldon I think that I was the only boy who lived in Boldon who was given that priviledge, reason was that many of the boys were my friends and used to visit me at my home when they were given permission.I was fortunate to be invited to play football for them when they had visits from other homes.Many of them I now realise were inmates because they were from broken homes and had had unfortunate circumstances in their lives and had to be put in the care of childrens instrumentalities. I hope they went on to have some love in their lives.
I was just reading about the RED WALL and how it was demolished and thankfully it is proposed that the bricks be cleaned and used to build a new hall, I think that is a fabulous idea and would be a fitting tribute to the village. Its fair to say that everyone knew where you meant when anyone referred to it, as a child it seemed a very long walk from one end to the other but as one grew older it became more manageable.

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Plaque inscription reads -

As a Mark of their Respect
30th Dec 1882

Remember Milk Tokens
from the Co-op.

East Boldon Boy Scouts

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