Saturday, January 13, 2007

Walking back in time.

Pounding feet open the eyes!

As part of this fitness regime to help return me to fuller health, I am now walking a minimum of two miles per day around the streets of South Shields. I intend to double this length over the next month, in a gradual manner.

Whilst out today, I ventured towards Tyne Dock Metro Station in South Shields, and came across The Crown Bingo and Social Club in Hudson Street. The club, which has been owned by the Hearn family for many years holds an interesting secret in it's buildings. Looking at the picture here you will see the left hand extremity of the club just opposite the Metro Station; as I looked at the building I recalled reading somewhere on this internet thing that there used to be a school here built for poor children by the railway company.

So I returned home to try and find the information again, and fortunately found this piece which describes how the school was built on land donated by the railway company, designed by their architect, and paid for mainly by their employees. The school was to cost 2,250 pounds to build and a public subscription of 300 pounds was asked for, the rest to be raised from raffles, bazaars, tombolas etc. Incredibly the school, whose name I don't know, was to educate up to 800 children and had four "efficient" certificated teachers, up to 400 children attended on a daily basis.

This British School had a boys schoolroom and a girls schoolroom, with an infant's section separating them in the centre.
picture of British School, Tyne Dock, South Shields
The only remaining portion is the boy's schoolroom which is now part of the Crown Bingo club, one can clearly see the boy's entrance with it's stone facing above and triple arched window still in situ. It's fascinating to think that a building raised using gambling, still exercises the same means to facilitate the entertainment of locals in South Shields.

The illustration is from the Illustrated London News of 1869.


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