White Mare Pool

June 7, 2009

In the summer of 1964 English industrial Landscape changed from coal and steam to electric and roads.

On Sundays Boldon Colliery, a pit village across the railway, was the destination.
A travelling fair visited the colliery town yearly. The pit closed. Evidence of railway lines and mining disappeared. Steam trains were replaced by diesel trains on the steep railway embankment, and the railway embankment portal to the countryside was removed to take the trunk road.

My own childhood was petrified at once.

Beyond Down Hill, Sunderland housing estates now surrounded Lumley castle:
Coal and the spiritulty entwined here since the thirteenth centuary, the monks of Finchale Abbey owned Lumley mine. The two cities of Newcastle and Sunderland collided under this hill in boiling hot June 1964. Poppies turned Downshire Hill red.

The A19 dual carriageway with a bridge over the River Wear was completed.

At about December 1997, in Steglitz, Berlin, I entered the raised garden of Begoniaplatz. 1600 miles and 35 years later, I wondered if I would ever go home.
From the flat window I watched the leaves fall off the trees till the very last one.

South Shields, a resort was freezing the day my two brothers from Ushaw college wearing loin cloth-like costumes swam in the cold North Sea, so bracing, there was talk of heating it with under water gas fires.
The heaving swell unhinged the pier.

On Saturday morning a van delivers pastel clothes for girls at No 17. Up on Perth Green, Durham colliery bands were marching, and there were even side show whippet races underway. This was the Neon Social Club Leek Show. The committee members seemed far too wealthy. The man at No 17 was on the committee.

My mother sewed and my father worked in a factory.
Although Jarrow had only one blackman, a whole community from Yemen lived in Reckendyke. Jarrow was Irish, South Shields maritime. We were socially Irish in an English field.

Historically Jarrow was linked by the worlds oldest coal railway line, into the heart of Durham via Sunnyside but that was already gone but occasionally there was still a 40 shilling cast iron trespass warning.

The arches at Tyne Dock were demolished. Newcastle stone was cleaned up and all trams sidelined.

Vince Rea’s gallery opened and closed. From White Mare Pool by nightfall I would be at Kings Cross.

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