South Shields Grammar-Technical School for Boys   
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Alex Patterson, VUA, 1946-1951 | alexpatterson~AT~videotron~DOT~ca
Hello Bryan,
It’s good to know that someone is out there who still reads the Visitorbook. My participation in the ‘Holborns’ came about after reading an article in the e-Gazette by Janis Blower regarding Gary Wilkinson, who is the director of Northeastern Films. His plan is to make documentaries about the riverfront starting from Jarrow Slake, through Tyne Dock and Corstorphine Town, West and East Holborn, Mill Dam and Wapping Street area then going on to the New Bridge, the Lawe Top Littehaven and the beaches. The Holborns is to be the first of a trilogy. The article asked for interested parties who had lived, worked or were familiar with the Holborns to contact Gary to see if they could add to the background story.
I called him from Canada and, after a lengthy talk, set up a meeting in South Shields. The timing was convenient to us both, but it was interrupted by my labyrinthitis attack. Gary kindly proceeded with his editing to keep to his schedule and slotted my interview in at the very end of my stay. I was able to provide him with some old B&W photos of West Holborn in the 40’s complete with garden air-raid shelter and vegetable patch and we had a most enjoyable filmed interview, some of which he will use in the film. He plans to show it in the fall, I think at the Library, I don’t know whether it is going to be on local TV or not. I can understand you not knowing the Holborns…it was a destination, rather than a place en route to somewhere else.
I think the school to which you referred was the Cone Street School which would have some Arab children in attendance, being in the area where the majority of South Shields’ Arab population lived. I too visited Google street view to see my old home at 93 West Holborn; I lived there from 1937 to 1960 and my Mum lived there until her death in 2003.
Speaking of Google, I see that some nitwit of a girl in Worcester thought it would be a good prank to pretend she had been killed by lying down in the street beside a car and was caught by the Google street cameras much to the distress of her parents and neighbours. She was “…chuffed about being on the internet. It is quite funny…” Whenever a new piece of technology comes along there are people whose only aim is to abuse it. While on the subject of technology, I have just read “Accidental Billionaires’ about the two founders of Facebook. It’s an interesting read that is ironic in its subtext in that Facebook brings hundreds of people together but its implementation drove two best friends apart.
I’m off to water the garden again, the summer continues at its hot and dry pace and the flowers and tomatoes are magnificent.
Regards from a sunny, warm (28 C) and dry Montreal.
Alex Patterson.
Thu 19-Aug-2010 18:42 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Bryan Cooper | bryglen~AT~bryancooper~DOT~wanadoo~DOT~co~DOT~uk
Alex,
a very interesting post and sorry for your problems but glad it turned out well.
I was interested in your being interviewed about the Holborns. Was this in response to your previous post asking about anyone else attending the school from there? To my chagrin, until I saw your original post I had never heard of the Holborns let alone knew where they were! This despite the fact that my dad was foreman electrician in the Middle Docks and worked there from 1936 until 1978, my cousin worked there until they closed and I worked there in my vacations from 1963 to 1966 and must have passed the area umpteen times! So thank you for enlightening me and broadening my knowledge.
Was I alone in my ignorance of town geography or did others share my lack, I wonder?
One thing I did was to look at the area on Google Streetview to see if I recognised it, but sadly not. I seem to remember that there was a school, near the Middle Docks entrance, for the Lebanese population, is that right?
Thu 19-Aug-2010 11:03 - North Wales

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