South Shields Local History Group

Under Construction

Blue Plaques

Amy Flagg

A commemorative blue plaque for local historian and wartime photographer, Amy Flagg, was unveiled on 8 March 2022.

Miss Amy Flagg (1893 – 1965) was a well-known figure in South Shields, using her Brownie Box camera to record daily life and the changes in the town during the 1930s.

Her work is most notable for the haunting images she took on the outbreak of the Second World War, particularly the aftermath of enemy air raids.

These photographs have come to be an important and unique record of the impact of the war on the area.

In addition to her love of photography, Amy had a passion for researching the town’s history and was a keen local volunteer.

On her death in 1965, she left her extensive collection of photographs and notes to South Shields Public Library. The collection is still available today at The Word.

She will forever be remembered as one of the town’s most important photographers and local historians and for the incredible legacy she left behind.

The commemorative plaque for Amy is located at her former family home, Chapel House in Westoe Village.

Amy Flagg Westoe Village – 2022
Amy Flagg Plaque – 2022

Anne Seymour

The plaque pays tribute to Dr Anne Seymour who ran the A&E department at the Old Ingham Infirmary in South Shields for many years.

Anne Seymour was also renowned for her charity work where she supported refugees and asylum seekers across the Borough.

The plaque has been funded by parishioners from St Gregory’s Church as well as Anne’s friends.

Anne Seymour Ingham Grange – 2022
Anne Seymour Plaque – 2022

Catherine Cookson

“Catherine Cookson, author based her book ‘Colour Blind’ near the site. This plaque was presented by Gray Fawdon & Riddle in memory of Ian Gray.”

Cookson Mill Dam – 2022
Cookson Plaque – 2022

Eileen Blair (nee O’Shaughnessy)

A commemorative blue plaque was unveiled on 27 March 2022 in honour of Eileen Blair (nee O’Shaughnessy), a South Shields-born Oxford scholar and the first wife of famous author George Orwell. 

Eileen was married to Eric Blair, mostly famously known by his pen name George Orwell.

Orwell is renowned throughout the world for his novel ‘Animal Farm’ and the dystopian classic ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’, along with many more journalistic essays, social and political commentaries and literary reviews.

A writer herself, Eileen met Orwell in 1935 and they married a year later.

She is thought to have been a strong influence on Orwell’s style of writing, in particular with ‘Animal Farm’.

It is also thought that Eileen’s futuristic poem ‘End of the Century 1984’, which was published before she met Orwell, influenced the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four published after her death.

The blue plaque is located at her former family home in Beach Road, South Shields.

The plaque was funded and installed by The Orwell Society.

Eileen Blair Beach Road – 2022
Eileen Blair Plaque – 2022

Elinor Brent-Dyer

Elinor M. Brent-Dyer author of the Chalet School series. Born in South Shields 6 April 1894 and educated in this house 1906 – 1912 as St. Nicholas School.

Elinor Brent Dyer Westoe Village – 2022
Elinor Brent-Dyer Plaque – 2022
Elinor Brent-Dyer Plaque (new) – 2023

Former Customs House

Tyne Port Health Authority – This Authority was established in January, 1879 to combat the danger of imported diseases following a tremendous growth of foreign – going shipping in the Tyne. It occupied this building from 1886, when it was built, until 1985.

Former Customs House Mill Dam – 2022
Former Customs House Plaque – 2022

Former Pilot Offices

Former Pilot Offices – For 320 years from 1536, Trinity House, Newcastle controlled the Tyne pilotage. Thereafter, pilots were directed by a new Authority on which they were represented. This house was the Pilot Offices from 1886 to 1980.

Former Pilots Office Greens Place – 2022
Former Pilots Office Plaque – 2022

Gary Gillespie Davison

A blue plaque celebrates the life and work of Gary Gillespie Davison and his wonderful contribution to South Tyneside’s performing arts scene.

Gary, who was UK Disco Dance champion, won a number of dance titles during the 1980s and 90s.

He was a great choreographer, working on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s West End production of Starlight Express and was assistant choreographer to Arlene Philips.

He also worked on a number of productions including 42nd Street and choreographed the cheerleaders for the American film production, Stormy Monday.

On his return to the northeast, he continued to perform and went on to become a very popular DJ. 

Gary sadly died in his hometown of South Shields in 2020.

A plaque to commemorate his achievements was installed by his family and friends and unveiled in May 2022. The plaque is located at the junction of Commercial Road and Station Road in South Shields.

Gary Davidson La Strada Commericial Road – 2022
Gary Davidson Plaque – 2022

Greens Place

1-18 Greens Place.  Oldest purpose built block of flats in South Shields (1938).  Site of the Greens Sailor Boys Home (1877 – 1922).

Greens Place Mile End Road – 2022
Greens Place Plaque – 2022

John Simpson Kirkpatrick

John Simpson Kirkpatrick – There is some corner of a foreign field that is forever England. In proud memory of the men from Tyneside who fought and died in the Gallipoli campaign. Royal Navy. Royal Naval Division. 10th, 11th, and 29th Infantry Divisions. Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). Unveiled by HE The Hon Alexander Downer AC, High Commissioner for Australia to the United Kingdom, 19 May 2015.

John Simpson Kirkpatrick Seafront Plaque – 2022

Lawe Beacons

Lawe Beacons – Erected as navigational aids in 1832 by John Turnbull, at a cost of £60, this beacon and its companion replaced 18th century structures.

They complement the High and Low Lights at North Shields. 

Lawe Beacon at the Lawe Top – 2023
Lawe Beacon Plaque – 2023

Old Marine School

The Marine School of South Shields was founded here in 1861 by its benefactor Dr Thomas Winterbottom.

Old Marine School Ocean Road – 2022
Old Marine School Plaque – 2022

Pilot House

Pilot House – The Old Pilots House was modernised in 1930 is still the office of the Tyne Pilots. (? Private house now).

Opposite the house is The Beacon which was erected in the late 18th century for the guidance of the local pilots.

Old Pilot House Lawe Top – 2016

Old Town Hall

Old Town Hall – The only Market Place building to survive the 1941 blitz, it was erected in 1768 by the Dean and Chapter of Durham and served as the Town Hall until the new Town Hall was opened in 1910.

Restored in 1977.

Old Town Hall Market Place – 2022
Old Town Hall Plaque – 2022

Ray Spencer (Tommy the Trumpeter)

Celebrating 25 Summers of Tommy the Trumpeter aka Ray Spencer MBE.

Tommy the Trumpeter (South Tyneside Council Current Plaques)

St Hilda’s Colliery Brass Band

St Hilda’s Colliery Brass Band achieved the unique feat of becoming the World Championship Brass Band on five occasions: 1912, 1920, 1921, 1924 and 1926.

St Hilda’s Colliery – 2022
St Hilda’s Colliery Plaque 2018

Tyne Port Health Authority

Tyne Port Health Authority- This Authority was established in January, 1879 to combat the danger of imported diseases following a tremendous growth of foreign – going shipping in the Tyne. It occupied this building from 1886, when it was built, until 1985.

Tyne Port Health Authority Mill Dam – 2022
Tyne Port Health Authority Plaque – 2022

Volunteer Life Brigade House

Volunteer Life Brigade House – The South Shields Brigade was formed in January 1866 to rescue mariners ship – wrecked on nearby shores. This Watch House, built 1867 and extended 1875, was restored by the Brigade and Tyne and Wear County Council in 1985.

Volunteer Life Brigade Pier – 2022
Volunteer Life Brigade Plaque – 2022


Information taken directly from South Tyneside Council’s site.

Current plaques – South Tyneside Council

Terry Ford

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