A gentle warning: The content of this website, though done in good fun, was not designed to be viewed at Friday evening temperance meetings, so if 'schoolboy humour' is not your particular beaker of squash, please read no further :o)

Welcome to whitleybayinthe70s.com (but watch where you're standing). Formerly ilovewhitleybay.com, this website and its general air of smugness is dedicated to anyone and their mates who (as kids) widdled from the top of the footbridge slopes of Monkseaton Station to see who could reach the bottom first.

“Hop on the world is swinging, don’t sit and twiddle your thumbs…”

Well that was certainly the rallying call for the 1970s to Scots in their squillions, in the summertime when the weather was high. No more deep-fried Mars bars for a week or two, those refugees for fun-and-a-half were sardined into Plaxton Panoramas and driven South East to stand and tan in the Whitley sea-fret, plodging through pop bottles and foam to a seaside white noise of screams from the Waltzer, 'Life Is A Minestrone', and the piercing hiss of the Jets. And rising way above the clamour, wafting over The Links to where red flags warned flappingly of the perils of wading-in deeper than up to where you last had a good scratch, was that bloke with the terminally monotonous drawl, beckoning the tartanned hordes to park their bums in Duncan's Bingo for an afternoon of B.O., biro pens, and nicotine.



'70s Party Time

The author aged 9 (left) at the birthday party of boyhood accomplice Clin, guzzling pop and stuffing our faces with cake way back in November 1975 on Bournemouth Gardens. Other guests not shown. We had just been to the very nice Astley Arms for some posh nosh (first time I ever had potato croquettes anyway).

Parents could keep their car-keys-on-the-orange-shagpile parties over in Birtley (fondue and kimonos indeed). We were just as capable of having fun as the next bloke. More Arctic Roll anyone?
 
Long before a fortnight in Lloret de Mierda could almost be had for the price of a one-way ticket to the Toon — in turquoise diesel trains with once-plush "First Class" compartments, their greasy chip-papered floors a-soot with upturned back-of-the-seat ashtrays — Whitley Bay was indeed a thriving seaside town with a focal Pleasureland that truly was.

“Well we sang 'shang-a-lang' as we ran with the gang...”

For this local who spent a childhood in and around the Spanish City, the well-kept parks and greens, the beach stretching all the way up to St Mary’s Island (our most prominent coastal landmark, like something from a Rupert book) and, a little further out of town, endless farmers’ fields and abandoned railway tracks for Chopper bike journeys to the verdant glades of Holywell Dene and beyond, the sunny 1970s were surely The Golden Age of Whitley Bay™.

There always seemed plenty to do. (Wasn’t everyone brought up on Just William and Oor Wullie books up to and around that time — adventures, go-karts, catapults, making dens, and shaving Gerard Robson's eyebrow off for a laugh!) Far more mischief was to be found around Whitley for a bunch of pudding basins in Winfield trainers and jumpers with stars on than just sitting on the wall outside Mace or Spar, spitting on the pavement and looking dejected. No, our generation was kept in parental check, which usually meant a hapless, guilt-ridden return home to the business end of a thick Kays catalogue.



White Dogs' Dirt

I've kept this hidden away down here just in case anyone is having their tea. In the '70s, no street-wise tree would be seen dead (at least not until Dutch Elm disease made them chopworthy in their hundreds) without a little pile of crumbly doggy-do's on the soil at the base of the trunk, white and chalky from a diet of cheap tripe mix and Chappie. Now there's something to chew over next time you're enjoying a gobful of Edinburgh Rock...
 
“I used to cry, but now I hold my head up high...”

whitleybayinthe70s.com will hopefully be of interest to anyone kind enough to take a hazy look back three decades at how wonderful our Whitley Bay was — a time of pageboy haircuts, civic pride, Belvedere pork pies, telly repair men who looked like B.A. Robertson, the heavenly whiff from Welch's sweet factory (Football Chums!), and cheesecloth from Topaz.

If you ever attempted to get drunk on a can of Top Deck shandy, sneaked in through the Playhouse fire doors to watch Grease for the umpteenth time for free, naughtily rode your bike over a bowling green, or went sledging on the golf course in those deep-snowy winters, you will just break out in mumps, spots, and — let's all own up to this — self-inflicted love bites at the all manner of crazy things which will be added to these pages in time.

“It’s just one of those things you put down to experience...”

But, at the mo and for the noo, being as a tribute to summers gone (and getting into trouble as a kid), this site will do its best not to become a political commentary on why — I'm just saying — our beloved Spanish City was given the bum’s rush to build a school when lovely old Coquet school was pulled down to leave a gaping wasteland.

So, before I do get carried away and maybe say something that ensuing legal advice may force me to retract, let’s just blame it on the boogie and all join our sherbetty fingers in the collective hope that something truly sensational is being discussed away from the public gaze; that our town may be brought back to being once more a bustling ideal of top-notch seaside resortdom — as promised. End of discussion. Now where’s me bucket and spade......



























Big Deal #1 — See that girlie postcard at the top of this page? It was originally sent from Whitley Bay to Portugal way back on August 15th 1968 (incidentally the same day The Beatles recorded 'Rocky Raccoon', boring trivia fans!). Purchased on eBay from Portugal, it arrived back in Whitley Bay on — get this — August 15th 2008, exactly 40 years to the day! Spooks or what!