in the west end of Newcastle
West Newcastle was formerly one of the most important industrial areas in the UK, home to diverse companies at the forefront of industrial development. After decades of economic decline and de-industrialisation, there are few traces of this legacy today.
Our Men’s Lives project aimed to capture the memories and experiences of older men from the west end of Newcastle who worked in jobs or industries that have disappeared or changed radically. We collected personal stories from older men who have lived or worked in the West End. You can listen to a selection of excerpts from the interviews by clicking on the links below:
Ab moved to Elswick from Pakistan at the age of seven. He worked as a radio operator in the Merchant Navy.
“There’s a romance about the navy”
“I remember getting off the train at Central Station”
Fred Millican worked for Vickers for more than twenty years, first in the laboratory and then in charge of heat treatment.
“You could go anywhere – the whole works”
“Vickers could have made anything”
John Perry was an engineering apprentice at Vickers. During the war he was involved in the apprentices strike there.
“So I said I’ll go to the Vickers factory”
“Where’s the health and safety?”
Mick Brady worked in various jobs, including Richardson’s leatherworks in Elswick.
“I went in there and asked for a job”
“It would come in completely as hides, straight off the cow”
Roger Broughton designed the first computer programmes for building ships at Swan Hunters.
“I packed a rucksack and caught a bus to Newcastle”
Sid Mather’s first job after leaving school at 14 was a delivery boy for the Co-op Dairy at Cowgate. He later trained and worked as a decorative plasterer.
“I finished up doing nearly all the shops in town”
“They called the horse Hector”
Stan Brown worked in the shipyards for more than 40 years as a caulker.
“I made the ship water-tight when they got it put together”
Stan Dove worked for the Co-op for several years in different shops in the west end, and later worked for the Prudential as an insurance agent collecting door-to-door.
“Peas and beans and sugar – you used to be on a whole day”
Ted Clark went down the pit at the age of 15.
Thomas Tuff worked for Vickers for most of his life. During the war he was send to work at a factory in Blackpool which made parts for Wellington bombers.