|JOYCE & JIMMIE SHAW
Joyce - 7 weeks old "when she first came to Craster with
her father in a clothes basket in the back of the car, to see
grandparents who lived at the top of Chapel Row, that was Joe
Archbold and Jane Archbold. Jane Archbold had a by-name, which
was Jennie Midge, obviously because of her small stature. We
lived at Low Fell, my father worked (here, he had left Craster
when he was 15, he was bom in 1895, so that meant he left Craster
in 1910 and he walked to Newcastle from Craster, to Hawthorn
Leslie's to see if he could got a better job, he served his
time to be a Marine Engineer. They took him on 'cause when
the man who interviewed him asked where he had come from and
he said 'Craster', he hardly believed him but said if
he could be bothered to walk all that way, you can start on
Monday. He served his time there until he was 20 and then the
First World War started and he joined the Merchant Navy, he
was in tile navy until 1926, 1 was born in 1928 and after that,
we came to Craster every other weekend until he died in 1935,
aged 39. So my memories way back, were the memories of a child.
I always loved Craster and my mother told me that when it came
time on a Sunday night to go back to Low Fell, I never wanted
to go, I wanted to stop here. I never thought I would come
here to live, not in a working life, in retirement perhaps.
My grandmother lived until I was 21 and she died in 1950, so
I came to Craster over all those years very regularly, including
holidays. The War came in that time and of course you couldn't
go away for holidays, so I always came here and spent nearly
all my school holidays here.
Jimmie - Your grandmother was
a character, when I first came here with you, before we were
married, I had to go and be inspected
and she said 'do you drink?' 'No','do you
smoke?' 'No' and various things like that and then
she said 'you'll do'.
think she was very concerned "cause not having
had a father for so many years and also being an only child,
she wanted to make sure that I was going to get somebody who
was upright She also asked if he went to Chapel, 'cause
if you went to Chapel, all sins were forgiven.
After 1950,I didn't come regularly, I just came occasionally
to visit an aunt When my grandmother died, my father's brother
and I were left the house and of course, the house was no use
to me, so he wanted my half, to live here. He was a schoolmaster
and lived in a school house, so he came back to Craster to
live, in 1954. He was Edward Archbold and he had a by-name.
Jimmy Puffer He's on the end of that football photograph. I
asked my mother if she knew why he was called Jimmy Puffer,
somebody had told her that when he was a little boy, apparently
he was delicate and when he was running he used to puff.
A typical day, when I was here, I loved going on the rocks
and we went quite a lot to the Chantey Hole and the harbour.
My granny would say to me, when I was 12, 13'ish, she would
give me a basket and say 'Hadaway and get some black sticks'
They were black because when they burnt the whin bushes on
the hills, what was left were very brittle sticks which were
marvellous for lighting the fire. As you can imagine, you got
absolutely filthy and 1 really hated that job but never mind
I did it The fisherman burnt the gorse bushes to clean them
out, so that they didn't get too big.
Jimmie - That land up by the Chapel,
the 'Tatie Grunds'
as it's called, used to be ploughed 'cause when I started a
garden up there, I was picking up pieces of clay pipe, it was
just let it go and is all covered with gorse now,
Joyce - When the War came, we couldn't go onto the rocks because
there was barbed wire all the way along the banks, there were
little gaps when we used to go, but you weren't really supposed
to. There were mines washed up and one weekend when we were
here, a mine went off (a sea mine). It blew my granny's small
bedroom window clean out and others on Chapel Row.
I can remember as a little girl, aged maybe about four and
my father was doing something down at Annie Jane's shop and
I was sitting on the little seat on the front, which is still
there. I was sliding along the seat and I got the biggest spelk
you've ever seen in my bottom. I can remember that vividly
and I had to run into Annie Janets to get the spelk taken out
It was a grocer's shop and she was related to my granny, it
was also a little tea room.
Jimmie - When we came here in
1967 Annie Jane Nelson's shop was still here. There was Isabel's
butchers shop down the street
Edward Gray had the shop. There was the Off Licence, belonged
to Patience & Belle Mason.
Joyce - On the North Side there used to be a petrol pump,
where those gardens are now, opposite the new houses, there
were sheds and opposite them there was a petrol pump and on
it was a clock, I think you must have turned the clock if you
wanted two gallons and then you would pump it for petrol, apparently
it belonged to Old Rutherford, who had taxis down at the bottom.,
he lived up here, I can remember, Emily Dawson and I were making
tents with clothes horses, clippie mats and rag rugs on the
grass and we went along and I turned the clock and Emily said
it might explode, so we ran away- There weren't a lot of children
to play with, I used to play with Emily.
My granny had hens and a pig, everybody used to have hens
and a pig. One new year my grandfather, wasn't a boy at that
time, he was a man and he blackleaded somebody's pigs, I think
it was for a dare. My granny had her last pig in 1943, my grandfather
died in that year and she had no more after that, she was then
78 and she lived until she was 85. My grandfather was a fisherman
and I can remember my granny telling me, we used to play Ludo
in the evenings and I used ask her things about what my dad
did as a little boy. She said that when my grandfather was
at the sea, he had to go away in the morning before he went
to Dunston school, with two zinc buckets and he used to have
to go to the limpets, get the limpets off the rocks, they were
for baiting the lines, and she told me that sometimes in the
winter, he was so cold that he couldn't put the buckets down,
the handles were fast to his fingers and she used to have to
lift them, that was before he went to school.
Jimmie - The garden that I cultivate now by the Chapel was
their garden and the ground is full of limpet shells, thousands
Joyce - My granny was quite a strict woman, quite severe,
I can't say that she was ever severe with me, in fact, I loved
her very much and I suppose she spoiled me.-There was one thing
she was very strict about, not just with me but with most childrenin
the village and there will be several people that can tell
you this. she would not allow anybody up and down the Chapel
steps, they were sacred, it was a place of worship and she
allowed nobody to play there. She chased one girl who still
lives in this village and she hit the back of her legs with
There used to be a prisoner of war camp along the back of
the hills, they were Italians and they didn't come into the
village at that time but they used to come down between Chapel
Row and the way to the Castle was what we called 'The Chapel
Field', which was where Scott the butcher's horse used to graze
- to that wall and when we weren't here my granny says she
used to give them a basket and ask them to collect sticks for
her and she would give them scones. When the Italians went
away, we walked round the Nissan huts 'cause they had pictures
round the walls. They worked on the farms.
I can well remember the three men who lived next door to my
granny in Chapel Row, there was Adam Durham's father and two
brothers, Adam, George and Robert and they lived with Bella
and Rob, Rob worked at the butchers. Two of the brothers worked
at the quarry and when they came home at night, there was a
table below the kitchen window with an enamel dish on that
that was where they washed, outside, irrespective of the cold.
As far as my granny was concerned, she lived in the top house,
she never had a bathroom, hence, you went into the baithouse
round the corner and put the set pot on to get the water, lifted
the tin bath off the back and filled it with hot water and
you got bath and it was very cold in the winter. Nearly all
the houses had a place where they baited the lines.
My granny told me that the fishermen
had three lines with 600 hooks on each line and she baited
the lines and she said
if you got what she called a 'bla'ing day' the lines
had to be ducked', that was all the old bait taken off and
re-baited ready for going to sea, it must have been a very
My great grandfather was lost at sea. This is a cutting from
the Alnwick Gazette, 5th April, 1883:
'Lost: a melancholy accident
occurred on Monday at Craster, by which three fishermen,
named James Archbold, Edward Archbold
and a son of the latter, a young man, 19 years of age. Lost
their lives, it is not exactly known how the sad affair occurred
but it is supposed, either, that the boat was upset in a squall
or that a wave had struck the boat while they were in the act
of drawing their crab nets and sunk the fair craft. Although
other boats were in the neighbourhood, no one appeared to have
observed the occurrence'
My grandmother - there was three of them, her and her brother
Ralph, who lived until he was about 87 and she had a sister,
Elizabeth, who died at about 14 or 15, it just said in the
parish record 'went into a decline', which we thought was probably
that she died of TB, or fever and fever at that time did not
mean scarlet fever but enteric fever which my aunt tells me,
was caught at the well below the well stile between the south
and north side of Craster which was where they drew the water
and it was infected.
Apparently, my great grandmother
was what they called a 'bidder', she would go out after there
had been a tragedy or a death
in the village and she would go round and bid people to the
funeral or to the funeral service and what apparently, she
used to say was 'you are bid to the funeral of „......,
they lift him at 1.30pm service at 2 p.m.' I suppose everybody
in the village was bid. All I can say is that when my father
died, and he died in Newcastle and was buried at Low Fell,
there was a bus load came from Craster to the funeral.
Lots of times, I'm told, people had the service outside, with
the coffin outside the door, not necessarily at the church
of the chapel.
Jimmie - Before the Chapel was built in 1880, they used to
go round peoples' houses and
have the service.
Joyce - The Chapel used to be held in the house of Marjorie
Lumsden's father and grandfather at the West End - Derby Jenny,
Marjorie's father's mother was my grandfather's sister.
In 1883, my grandmother was born in 1865, so she would be
18 when her father died and she was the eldest
Jimmie - Talking about hardship, when your grandmother was
left a widow, she got nothing. The fishermen were self-employed
then and not entitled to an old-age pension.
Joyce - My grandmother never got
a widow's pension until the National Health Act came in,
in 1948, when she got what everybody
got, which was 26/-d. a week. In the 1940's, the boats were
doing very well and the fishermen were doing well and I said
to my grandmother that they appeared to be doing well and she
said 'yes, but we did well in the first World War and they
just have to save their money'. When my granny got her old-age
pension in 1948 and we came here one weekend and she said to
my mother 'Fancy Connie, I've been to the Post Office
and I've got 26 shilling for nothing'. She thought it was fantastic.
In the First World War, my dad's eldest brother, who was James
Edward Archbold, he was a school teacher, he was in the Durham
Light Infantry, because he was at St Bede's College, Durham
when War was declared, so he went into the DLI. He was taken
prisoner at Paschendale, they first of all got word that he
was missing in the July and they never got word that he was
a prisoner until the January and he spent his prison time in
the Salt Mines in Poland- He didn't get home until 1919.
There are a lot of names on the memorial in the Chapel and
the Church of the men of Craster who lost their lives in the
Wars. All the men that were at the Coastguards up here were
all killed in the War. During the 2nd World War the people
of Craster didn't go short of food, they were much better off
than people in the town, because they had hens and most families
had a pig, which was a bacon pig when they killed a pig there
was black and white pudding and ail sorts and you shared with
your neighbours 'cause there were no freezers therefore everything
had to be eaten, it was no good keeping anything. The fishermen
did get an extra ration. That did not apply to my grandfather,
he retired from the sea in 1933. He fell off the pier steps
carrying a creel of fish on his back, he fell back over and
he fell between two boats and hurt his back - he would be in
his 60's then.
My great grandfather and great, great grandfather were Atkins.
My grandfather was Little
Jimmy - In my research into the Archbold family, at one time
there were twenty three John Archbolds, they all had a by-name,
to distinguish one from another.
Joyce -I know some of the by-names - Beachy Bob, Jack Shell
(Shilbottle Jack), Crappy, he was a right bad-tempered man-
then there was Foxy, Fittus Bob, Derby Jenny, Clippy (Bill
Archbold), Sailor Bill (the man who built the 5 houses in Chapel
Row), Aad Scott, Dode, These names were still used when we
came here in 1967.
Jimmy - There were a lot of characters when we first came
Joyce - After Mary left school
and went to the Farm, Kenneth at the yard asked me one day
if I would like to work for him
in the shop. I said I would, it was only for 8/9 weeks in the
summer. I quite enjoyed it, you met a lot of nice people and
it filled my time. One day, Kenneth came over to me and said
'Ha'ya seen that car over there - it's a Jaguar' I said it
was very nice and he said "That fellow came all the way
from London in four and a half hours', while he was telling
me that Jack Hall, who was a fisherman (Jimmy Hall's father),
lovely old man and he worked at the yard, he was a marvellous
ty'er up of parcels I have ever seen - he turned round and
with the pipe in his mouth 'That's nowt, wor Jimmy could do
it in two and a half.
He was a real character, a real old fisherman, he smoked a
pipe, it was very short and instead of having it up the bowl
faced down. He would stand and tie up all parcelof kippers
and he made the boxes, everything was just perfect, he was
a very particular old man about his work.
I had my friend here from Australia
who was not Australian but a Scot, married to an Irish Catholic,
she was a Scottish
Presbyterian Her husband was very fond of grandfather clocks
and my friend, Marjorie Lumsden had a very nice grandfather
clock and she said to me that I could bring Bill over to see
the clock, so we went over to have a look. We had a cup of
coffee, Marjorie's father was there, Robert John, Marjorie
was introducing Bill and Elspeth to her father, who was a bit
hard of hearing, and she said to him This is Joyce's friend
from Australia' and Robert John said 'Oh' Aye' 'and this is
her husband, he's an Irishman' and Robert John says ' Ah, we'
ma man, you're none the worse for that, there's good and bad
in all of us'. When Jimmie and I were in Australia in
1989, Bill said he'd told that story to hundreds of people
Annie Jane, at the shop was a
character, she was a very forthright and outspoken woman.
When they were trying to get the lifeboat
here in 1969, it had been at Boulmer but they had their big
boat taken away and the didn't want an inflatable boat and
the RNLI were cutting down and said we only warranted an inflatable.
They first thought about putting the boat at Newton, then it
was suggested that it came here- Where the boathouse stands
now, it stands on ground which is owned by North Side owners.
They couldn't come to an agreement, Annie Jane was a North
Side owner and there was a meeting which included her, Edward
Garrett, Dr. Lishman, Billy Smailes and Willy Robson to decide
about the boathouse and Annie Jane turned round and said to
Edward Garrett and Dr. Lishman, 'My man, just "tak
the land, 'cause they'll never agree'. She didn't mince matters.
Of course, the first boathouse was built and it was nothing
more than a glorified garage.
We had a meeting and Billy Smailes, I was invited to the meeting
and ended up
with the job of being Treasurer.
I was Treasurer for about 25 years. Joyce was Chairman of the
Ladies' Guild. While I was Treasurer we sent about £1,000
to £1,500 to Lifeboat headquarters every year and, on
top of that, saved £22,000 towards the cost of a new
boathouse. We ran the Lifeboat on a shoestring. Joyce and I
used to go down on a Sunday afternoon, we had a little table
up and we used to sell souvenirs, we thought we'd done well
if we sold £5 or £6 worth of stuff. During the
week, Elsie Browell and Joyce often went down on a Wednesday,
in the summer and sell souvenirs.
Joyce - Annie Jane was a fantastic woman - if someone came
and sat on the seat beside the shop, she would think nothing
about asking them if they wanted a cup of tea and a biscuit,
total strangers. She was President of the W.I for years, her
daughter found her dead, sitting on the settee, with the Gazette
in her hand. She was only in her 70's when she died.
Jimmy - That was our port of call on a Sunday morning, going
over to Chapel, we used to call there and have a cup of tea,
Joyce - Annie Jane -was originally
an Archbold but she married and became a Nelson. Her husband
had been a fisherman but was
crippled with arthritis and walked with a crutch. That's how
she came to open the shop because she had to be the breadwinner.
There's never been a doctor in me village. Dr. Livingston was
at Embleton -I can remember one day looking out of the window
and I saw him running about and I thought that there must be
something serious so I went out and asked if I could help and
he said 'Yes, I've lost my car', 1 told him that
it was at the front gate and he said "so it is'. He never
walked anywhere, he always went by car. He visited every old
person once a month, in the village.
Jimmy - The practice that he had, on his own, is now run
by about five doctors.
Joyce - Apparently when all these people died of fever and
it's in the Parish records. When I first read it I thought
it was Scarlet Fever but my granny said it was enteric fever,
caused by the water and my aunt confirmed that and she said
that the well was somewhere beside me kipper sheds, just below
Michael Doherty's place. Apparently the water was infected
because when they got piped water here, there was no more fever.
The child mortality rate was high, you can see it in the family
trees. Another thing, when my grandparents were married, they
would be married at Embleton Church, I would think, there wasn't
always a house for them, so what they used to do, was, they
would rent a parlour from somebody until they could get a house
from the Squire. All the houses on the south side of Craster
belonged to the then Squire - the houses on the north side
of Craster belonged to the people who built them, which was
the fishermen. My grandmother said that when she was first
married, they had two rooms from somebody along the front,
or if it was a double-fronted house, they would make them into
twos, that happened on the north side in one or two cases.
The land on the north side was owned by the Eari ofTankerville,
that was right up to the burn and from the burn south was owned
by the then Squire, who would be T.W. Craster, St John's father.
The only division in the village was when the Methodists wanted
to build a Chapel, the then Squire would not allow them to
build it on the south side, he wouldn't give them land, that's
why the Chapel is where it is.
Jimmy - Talking about water supply, I have a couple of extracts
from those Alwick Journals, which might be interesting - I
think you have copies of these.
Jimmy - Local women worked in the kipper yard and there were
a lot of Scottish women who used to work and they moved down
the coast, some as far as Yarmouth.
Joyce -I think Winnie's mother went to Lowestoft. My granny
never went away. There were occasions when people slept in
the sheds and rent their houses to visitors, to make ends meet
My granny used to say that my dad and Uncle Jimmy used to sleep
in the loft at Chapel Row, so she could let two bedrooms. My
mother and father actually met here during the First War. My
mother was here on holiday on the 4th August, 1914, the day
War was declared and they met here at the end of the first
Fishing was seasonal and the boats weren't as big and couldn't
go out miles. I've heard my mother say that when I was a baby
and they were staying here, my granny used to get up at 4.30
a.m., with my grandfather, that was when he went to sea, I
wasn't a good sleeper and she would get me up, tie me into
a wooden chair and give me a tin with some sugar in. They went
out and would maybe have a pot of tea and some bread or something
and then when they came ashore about 9 a.m, they had what they
called their 'second coffee', that would be a bit of home fed
bacon and an egg, a proper fried breakfast When I was a wee
baby I slept in the bottom drawer of the press when I was here,
until I was too big to get in.
Visitors to Craster in those days,
came by train to Little Mill Station. My Uncle passed to
go to the Duke's school and
my father, who was four years younger than him, also passed
to go there but my grandmother couldn't afford to sent
my father, 'cause she couldn't afford two lots of rail fare.
They had to got to Little Mill, get on the train to Alnwick
and Uncle Jimmy, being the eldest went, my father just went
to Dunston School, he left at 14 and went to work at the sandy
quarry, in the engine house, with Adam McLaren, and he
was there for about a year.
Prior to the First War, people intermarried, it happened in
my own family. My uncle, my father's brother and his wife were
cousins. I don't think this is a good thing, I think it causes
problems medically- There was a lot of short-sightedness in
the village, which could have been caused by intermarriage.
After the War, men went away and met women when away and brought
them back. In the last War, a lot of men went away and also
women. Most of those people brought back wives and husbands
from Scotland, Wales, Ireland, most of these peoples' descendants
are still in the village now and that brought in new blood.
Before that, they might meet someone from Embleton, Beadnell
or Boulmer but not a lot farther away.
Jimmy - When we first came here in 1967,I worked in the Tax
Office, I used to come home for lunch, in the car, the folks
round here were gobsmacked, it was unheard of to travel regularly
Joyce - When we first came here
to live there was an occasion when I had the car, for some
reason and Jimmie was on the bus
and the man who said this, told it to me 'I was on the bus
one night, coming from work and your Jimmie was on the bus'
he says' I was talking to the fellow next to us and he said 'wee's
that fellow there', and the reply was 'way you naa, that's
Jimmie the Tax - They call him Jimmie Shaw but he works in
the Tax Office'.That was Matta Stephenson.
My grandfather died and they had a terrible time getting his
coffin down the stairs 'cause he was such a big man and the
stairs were practically vertical. It was Billy Lumsden and
Eric Archbold that were the two 'stop' men, to stop the coffin
falling down the stairs. Jackie Gray had to take the sitting
room window out to get the coffin through.
The War was a good thing in a way because it brought much
new blood to lots of little
A lot of people coming here now, with no connection to the
village. People who have come for a few years on holiday and
then want to move, etc. At one time you absolutely everyone
here, now, I know most people because I go round with the Red
Cross box and the Poppies and you get to know people that way
but there are still people who I don't know. At one time the
village stopped at Church Street, those Council houses were
only built after the last war, the Council houses on the bottom
row, the first six and then Nancy Robson and George Greys,
were built about 1922 and there were no more built until 1951.
Most of the Council houses have been bought now.
Jimmy - This is in the History of Northumberland, Embleton
Parish, about Craster.
' The small stream which finds it way through a gap in the Heugh,
divides the village into two parts, north side and south side,
the inhabitants. No longer so numerous as formerly, maintain
themselves chiefly by fishing. There are many characteristics
which distinguish them from the agricultural people of the
neighbouring villages. A stranger will receive a pleasing impression
from the fisher folk, he will observe their fine physique,
their rugged but handsome features and a peculiar softness
in their speech, these traits, in some measure given the simple
and healthy occupations of these people have been developed
by a manner of life. The similarity of the names, and it would
be hard to find a Craster man who is not an Archbold or a Simpson,
shows that the inhabitants of Craster, as of other fishing
villages along the coast of Northumberland are a colony apart"
Joyce - The influx of people into the village, prior to 1939,
would be possibly, the coastguards, they came from places like,
Plymouth and they would fluctuate, here for a while and then
gone. The other influence would be hirings, the farm people,
but there again that would probably only be a radius of 20/30
miles. Craster South Farm is included within the village.
Winnie's great aunt married a coastguard, she was only married
a fortnight and she died of the Spanish *flu, in 1919- Some
of the coastguards brought their families with them and they
lived in the Coastguard Cottages.
The Square of 16 houses where Whin Hill is now was known as
the Curtain, it would have a curtain wall all round, like a
castle. There was an entrance. You can see the curtain on some
of old photographs. They were eventually condemned.
The Coastguard Cottages were built about 1900-
I did have occasion to look at the old school register when
the new school was opened here in Craster, which was in 1969.
The year that my father was at school at Dunston there was
96 children in the school - two classrooms. Mr.W.E.Kinnaird
The school in Craster was open
14 years. It was built at a cost of £38,000. There were about twenty pupils latterly
and there was debate on whether to keep Craster or Embleton
school open. By comparison Craster was a new school and Embleton
was a Victoria school, right on the road side. Craster had
a huge playing field and a big school yard and was obviously
very safe for children. The Church of England were more interested
inselling the building, to make money, and the then Vicar was
more interested in keeping Embleton school open. At one of
the meetings, Winnie and I decided to write to the Bishop and
we said that if the school was to close would it be possible
for the building to be turned into either sheltered accommodation
for the elderly of the village, or into an old people's home
and I got a reply from the Bishop to say that the Church of
England were very much in need of funds and that they would
make more money by selling the building. It was advertised
at a price of £60,000, nobody was interested at that
time, so they rented it as an outward bound school, they were
there a year or two and in the time they were there, I understand
they never paid any rent, left a huge debt and the place was
wrecked- It was in such a bad state of repair, it was knocked
down and sold as a building site for four properties, there
are currently three properties and I believe they were asking £60,000
Annie Jane was on the school committee
and she was against the school being built there in the first
place, she said it
wasn't an appropriate place, as there were water problems,
the school floor lifted twice. It turned out that there was
a spring under the floor. It would have been better to spend
the £38,000 to upgrade Dunston school for the 14 years
that Craster was open-
Jimmy - Children had to walk up the hill to school and along
the cinder path. That's why at the end of the cinder path,
there's still that fence, to stop children running along the
path and onto the road. Dunston school was originally built
by the Crasters.
Joyce - I've heard from Eva Archbold, she went to Dunston
school, and she said they got a visit from the Vicar every
week but they also got visits from Mrs.Craster, that was the
Squire's mother and she would come and they all had to stand
up and curtsey.
The village was very strong Methodist but the children had
to go to the C of E school. I've heard my mother say that my
father, when he went, you had to go to the Church Sunday school,
which was in the morning and The Chapel Sunday school was in
the afternoon and you had to go. Even Winnie and Marjorie and
them went to two Sunday schools.