Looking Back

Wakefield's Motors in North Shields in days gone by.
Wakefield's Motors in North Shields in days gone by.
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Our old photograph this week is of Wakefield’s Motor Company in North Shields.

According to trade directories, Thomas Wakefield had offices in Nile Street before taking over the Hunter coach-building works at 9 Albion Road, between Angus Logan’s bakery and the Queen’s Head pub.

Its booking office was next to its repair department and a BP petrol pump outside the sizeable Albion Road building.

Wakefield’s Motors offered coaches, charabancs, taxis, saloons, transport lorries and cars.

A sign outside says that its next trip was to Rothbury Races on Wednesday, leaving at 10.45am.

Signs on its walls advertise various local cinemas.

The Albion was showing crime drama The Last Witness, the Comedy has Declasse, and Chickie, starring Dorothy MacKail, was on at the Boro, followed by silent movie Code of the West, based on a Zane Grey novel and directed by William K Howard.

These films were all released in 1925, and Rothbury Races were held around Easter time, so the Shields Daily News was consulted for 1926.

That research revealed that the races took place on Wednesday, April 7, 1926, and the cinemas were showing those films at that time.

Prior to J Hunter’s coachworks, the premises were occupied by Shotton Bros, building contractors up to 1920, and the North Shields Motor Company was there for a short period in the early 1920s.

Part of the building apparently housed a boxing stadium from 1933, run by promoter Billy Forrest.

Thomas Wakefield also ran a coach business from Preston Avenue in North Shields, and he lived at 51 Linskill Terrace in the town.

He later branched out into running the roller rink in the Plaza.

If you have further information on this photo, ask for Discover at North Shields Customer First Centre on (0191) 643 5270 or email discover@northtyneside.gov.uk