Whitley Bay Remembered (Part One) was published in October 2015 and covered the coastal strip from St. Mary’s Island to the Cullercoats boundary and its associated history. Whitley Bay Remembered (Part Two) will complement that edition and concentrate on the Town Centre and former village of Whitley, by looking at its development through the streets, buildings, shops and trades which have existed here over the years, and have been fundamental in its evolution.
Today, like many other town centres throughout the country, Whitley Bay has suffered with shop closures because of a drop in retail trade, which is attributable to a number of factors.
Prior to the 1980s, most retail shopping was done in town and city centres; however, retail parks and out of town supermarkets and shopping centres sprang up as a result of the increase in car ownership, which accounts for a loss of local trade. This in turn is exacerbated by internet shopping, which also takes away trade from our local economy.
In the ‘Good Old Days’, Whitley Bay flourished with almost every kind of business and shop imaginable: butchers, bakers, cobblers, tailors, jewellers, cafes and drapers – the list is practically endless. These businesses were a vital part of the community and rendered the town almost self-sufficient.
By today’s standards, it is very difficult to perceive the bygone array of different trades and businesses, all of which operated so close together. The facades and frontages were neat and tidy, window displays were large and varied and the signage above the shops was artistic and self-explanatory. Windows and steps were cleaned daily, door brasses were polished and lots of pride and effort was taken to attract, welcome and maintain customers.
After a short introductory talk and slideshow by Charlie, the book will be officially launched at 6.30pm on Tuesday 10th May at Whitley Bay Library (Customer First Centre) on York Road. Admission is free, however it is advisable to book a place in advance by contacting the library by calling 0191 643 5390 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copies of the book will be available to purchase at £9.99 each.
by Charlie Steel © 2016
Further reading for many of Charlie’s articles can be found in his books: ‘Monkseaton Village’ (Vol. 1 & 2), ‘North Shields Public Houses, Inns & Taverns’ (Part 1 & 2), ‘Tynemouth Remembered’ and ’Whitley Bay Remembered’ (Part 1 & 2) , all published by Summerhill Books.