Many books have been written about Richard Grainger and his architectural achievements in Newcastle, including the great Grainger Market, but Heaton History Group member, Yvonne Young, wanted to hear the stories current traders have to tell. They told her of the time when gas lighting illuminated the market, when sawdust was scattered on the floor, barrow boys rushed through the alleys with pig carcasses on board. Butchers, fruiterers shouting their wares in friendly competition, times before pizza by the slice, crepes and Chinese dumplings.
While researching the book, Yvonne met many fascinating characters such as Mr Roy Eden who was ten years of age when he helped out in the family business during war time; Mr Robinson of the pet shop who recalled the day when the star Sabrina opened one of their shops, when Janet the chimp walked down the red carpet with a basket to purchase goods and when parking meters were hooded to allow a lorry to bring a baby elephant to the market.
Yvonne’s talk will be illustrated by photographs by Juan Fitzgerald from the book, the publication of which has been timed to commemorate the market’s 180th anniversary later this year.
And Keith Armstrong will read a couple of his poems which evoke the atmosphere of a busy, thriving community in the heart of Newcastle.
The event will take place at The Corner House, Heaton Road, NE6 5RP on Wednesday 28 October 2015 at 7.30pm and is FREE to Heaton History Group members. Non-members pay £2. The doors open at 7.00pm. You are advised to take your seat by 7.15pm. Please book your place by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org /07443 594154. Until Wednesday 12 August, bookings will be accepted from Heaton History Group members only but after that will be open to all-comers.
About the speaker
I’ve always enjoyed writing poems and short stories, but when I became involved with the library service, I became a member of the West Newcastle Picture History Collection. Through this I met publisher Andrew Clark of Summerhill Books who invited me to write about the West End. This resulted in three books, Benwell Remembered, Westenders and Westenders Part 2. I combined interviews of people in the area, scanned their family photos and made use of the archive service. This led to reminiscence work in care homes, community settings and with children’s groups. Recollections of times gone by are important, but recent events and stories of people living and working in Newcastle will also be appreciated by future generations.