Felling High Street
Once iconic, now eye-sore...ish
In fairness, there are worse defunct town centres around the North East
Let's analyse it. Looking downwards on the left and right the shops want converting into flats/houses, because shops have had their day in this location, whereas it would make a lovely village-like place to live
A steep street like this will never again be a successful shopping parade
Right...buildings are fine for conversion to housing
This one perhaps is the exception
In the next section, both sides are new. On the left is a perfectly acceptable library, followed by a mini car park. See the phone box and the bright red pillar box. The actual phone box has changed but not its location so look out for the phone box on old photos. It's a good point of reference. The pillar box is also good but it has been in two different locations
The Royal Cypher is Edward VII who reigned from 1901. This could be the oldest remaining pillar box in The Felling. It hasn't been here since 1901? This location is where the Greyhound pub was. The other location was further down on the opposite side, outside the former Chapel that became Walter Willson's. See, on this pic
This is about the 1930's so the pillar box shown is probably the same Edward VII one
It's a good game, when looking at old pics of the High Street, to spot the bright red pillar box. Like these
On the right are new shops, now thankfully occupied as well as the Halfway House, tastefully revamped into flats. The new shops have struggled and will continue to struggle and these too would be better as dwellings
In the next section, on the left there are some ill maintained shops, some open, most shuttered up and some shops now converted to dwellings. All should be
In the last bottom section there are new buildings on the left down to the Beeswing.
On the right is a magnificently restored private dwelling house sitting in the lap of the soaring St Patrick's Church. This section is fine, except for the three shops at the bottom on the right carved out of the old police station building
For the expats looking in, the place is better now than its been for years. The iconic high street has gone forever..it was, in any case, ridiculously steep in its hay day for woman pushing bairns in push chairs and huge prams and time has moved on.
Left click to see this wonderful photo enlarged. The bottom shop on the right is McGuiness and there is the word Dress and on the next shop up you can see the word Baby. "spot the bright red pillar box"
There were the big shops, Woolworths and Shepherds, local shops, Gallons grocery store, Ledune wood shop, McGuinness ladies clothes and there were two Sistersons, run by two brothers, one was a chemist and the other was a painter/decorator/wallpaper business.
Left click to enlarge
Sisterson has an advert on the gable. There's also a sign for B. Leask.
Leask is a Scottish name but there were Leasks in Felling. I came across this on the internet..."Annie Leask aged 32, along with Jack aged 4 and Catherine aged 1, arrived in America from Felling on Tyne in 1910".
Myers Pork Butcher and F.W.Woolworth & Co
The two Sisterson shops next to each other .The top one is the Wallpaper and Paint and the next one is the Herbal, Medicine and Drug store, both run by Robert S. He was of the paint trade but he also ran the Herbalist business stated by his father Thomas S. Eventually his two sons took over. Stuart S ran the decorator shop and Thomas, Jnr became a qualified dispensing chemist and optician and took the herbal medicine shop into the second half of the 20th Century
The next one down from Sistersons with the gable end facing the street later had a shop front fitted. At various times Gallon's supermarket was there and then a Baby Wool shop. Next three shops had J C Graham, Halifax and Bradley Jewellers
Any high street evolves and the shops you'll remember depends on your age. If you're below middle age you probably never went in to either of the Sistersons shops nor pawned your watch at Costelloes though you may have entered that shop when it was Sauls to buy paint or wallpaper. If you're young you may now go there for a tattoo. The bracket that held Costelloe's three golden pawnbroker balls is still there, shown on the next pic. It should be in Beamish museum!
You can see that the next two buildings down have been converted into houses, as they all should
"spot the bright red pillar box" and the old Greyhound pub ..with the sticky out top windows are good for getting your bearings
The white building is the converted Halfway House pub. The new buildings have spent most of their existence empty from day 1. They have been recently occupied and it must be presumed that the developers have now lowered their expectations and accordingly lowered the rents. But let's face it..there's little chance that these shops will still be trading this time next year... 2015. You can see the new development below what was the Halfway House where Walter Willson's, Ernie Walters etc shown as follows
And down from the Halfway House was Ernie Walters (furniture) , then The Wool Shop, J T Mallam (Butcher) and the Job Centre (previously Walter Willsons) as below. Of course each photo is but a snapshot in time and over the 150 years or so there will have been a very long list of traders, now long gone. Checking who they were is very difficult because the trade directories paid little attention to retail shops. In contrast, you can track who had the pubs, schools and factories over the years because these did receive trade directory attention