The picture top right is perhaps one of the earliest photographs of East Street, dating to around 1870. It depicts Ralph Pigg’s grocery shop and Post Office, which stood on a site close to the present day Gibraltar Rock Public House.
During the 1800s and early 1900s, East Street was just a narrow road which was crowded with popular Cafe’s, Tea & Cocoa Rooms.
Some of these establishments were simply temporary wooden structures which had been constructed on the edge of King Edwards Bay and were precariously balanced against the bank side cliffs using wooden props and support posts, as shown in the picture to the right.
Towards the 1920s, most of these structures were removed as they were deemed unsafe. Following this, East Street was widened and the cliff tops were rehabilitated.
An extract from Wards Directory indicates the following establishments were trading here in 1912:
1 East Street: J. Stephenson (Gibraltar Rock Inn)
3 East Street: W. Ferguson (Refreshment Rooms)
5 East Street: Mrs I. Gilmore (Priory Inn)
9 East Street: J. Heron (Refreshment Rooms)
Sea Banks: Miss C. Brown (Refreshment Rooms)
Sea Banks: A. Clements (Refreshment Rooms)
Sea Banks: W.M. Bell (Refreshment Rooms)
by Charlie Steel © 2014
His published books include ‘Monkseaton Village’ Vols 1 & 2, and ‘North Shields Public Houses, Inns & Taverns’ Parts 1 & 2, all of which are available from most local booksellers.