Events 1904


2 January

The monthly drills continued throughout the year.


THE NEXT DRILL will take place SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 2nd of January at 3.30 o’clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 2 January 1904


6 February


THE NEXT DRILL will take place SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 6th of Feb. at 4 o’clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 4 February 1904

13 February

Representatives of the Brigade attended Marsden Life Saving Company’s annual dinner.

Marsden Life Saving Company

In one of the rooms of the famed Grotto the members of the above company and a few friends foregathered on Saturday evening for the annual dinner. About forty sat down, among whom were Capt. Marshall of the Marsden Company; Capts. W. Buckland, J Page, and G. Ogilvie, Deputy-Capt. J Ross, of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade; Messrs M. Vasey, W. Pass, R. Lumsden, M. Haswell, C. Stephenson, J. Crawford, and others. Capt. J Page presided.

In proposing the toast, of the evening, "Success to the Marsden Life Saving Company," Capt. W Buckland referred to the excellent state of efficiency of the members. He had watched their progress with much satisfaction, and the way in which they had gone through their work when called upon for actual duty had met with the commendation of the officers of the district. He wished the company every success in the future, and he knew if they should again be called upon they would uphold the traditions possessed by all the brigades the north-east coast (Applause). Capt. J. Marshall and Mr W. Pass responded.

A good programme of music and recitations was provided by Captain J. Page, Messrs T. Burns, R. Lumsden, E. Jones, T. Elliott, J, Wilkinson, W. Haswell, J. Urwin, W. M Vasey, J. Cooper, T. Varley. F. Fallon, C. Stephenson, and others.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 15 February 1904

27 February

General Woods visited South Shields to encourage the formation of a naval reserve ambulance corps.

Ambulance Work
Association and Brigade
General Woods to Visit South Shields

South Shields is to be honoured next week with a visit from Inspector-General Woods, R.N., M.D., C.B., C.V.0., etc. The distinguished officer will be present at the annual dinner of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade on Tuesday night, and on the following evening he will give an address in St. Paul's Hall on "The formation of shore and mercantile marine division of the St. John Ambulance Brigade, and a diffusion of knowledge of first aid and elementary nursing amongst the seafaring classes generally with a view to assist the Sick Berth Staff of the Royal Navy in time national emergency and maritime war." It will be gathered from this that Gen. Wood's visit has special reference to the St. John Ambulance Brigade, the objects and operations of which are perhaps not so extensively known as they deserve to be. The Brigade is an important development of the ambulance movement. It has its own particular duties to perform—duties which are of paramount importance, but not more so than those performed by the St. John Ambulance Association. It is really a supplementary part of that body, taking up the work just at that particular stage where the Association drops it. The special function of the Association, as we know it, is to disseminate general information to the preliminary treatment of the sick and injured among all classes of society. When a student has successfully taken the regulation course of instruction under its auspices, and has obtained his certificate of competency, he then passes out of the control of the Association. Until the Brigade came into being that was practically his severance from the ambulance movement altogether, and there is only too much reason for believing that many students who would otherwise have been active and useful factors in the promotion of this excellent work have fallen completely out of touch, perhaps out of countenance, with it. In South Shields alone, during the past nineteen years considerably over 3,000 men and women have qualified to render first aid and skilful nursing to their fellow men and women in cases of accident and sudden illness. Only a fractional part of those have so far been drafted in to the Divisions of the Brigade, and they consist, for the most part, of students who have taken their course of training since the formation of the new institution. The rest have apparently passed outside the immediate sphere of influence, of the movement.

The Brigade will consolidate the work of the Association because it provides for the continuity of the instruction. As members complete their training under the Association they will, it is hoped, pass into the Divisions which constitute the Brigade. At the present time there are only three of such Divisions in the borough, the premier one being the South Shields Nursing Division, which was formed at the latter part of 1900, and the two others being those started in connection with the Volunteer Life Brigade and the Borough Police. It is hoped by the present effort to considerably augment their number, as wherever classes are conducted by the St. John Ambulance Association it is an essential that Divisions should also be formed.

The Brigade has another supremely important function allotted to it. That is to provide volunteers for the Auxiliary Royal Navy Sick-Berth Reserve. This Ambulance Reserve has been approved by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty "to augment the Permanent Sick Berth Staff of His Majesty's Navy afloat and ashore in time of national emergency and maritime war." Volunteers for it must have the first aid and nursing certificates of the St. John Ambulance Association, and be members of the St. John Ambulance Brigade. They may be enrolled to serve (class A) in ships of war; (B) in hospital ships and non-fighting auxiliary ships temporarily attached for war; (class C) hospitals, medical establishments or harbour ships of the Royal Navy and coast ambulance stations abroad, or (class D) in such hospitals and establishments at home. The latter class is, naturally, the one which will commend itself to a community like South Shields. There are various other matters insation, rank on board ship, special instruction rank on board special instruction, etc. These it will be the special mission of Inspector-General Woods to explain in detail, but sufficient is here stated to invest the subject with a real public interest and, it is hoped, to ensure a crowded attendance on Wednesday night.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 27 February 1904


1 March

General Woods was a guest at the Annual Dinner.

6 March


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 6th of March, at 4 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 March 1904

5 March

A problem occurred at the Annual Supper.


(To the Editor of the "Shields Dally Gazette”)

Sir,—While I quite recognise how necessary it is, in view of the legal proceedings of a few years ago, that the Tyne Commissioners should fully maintain their rights in and upon the South Shields Pier, still I think an incident which transpired on Tuesday night is carrying officialdom to excess. On the occasion of the annual supper of the Volunteer Life Brigade, the supper was as usual prepared in the town and brought down to the Brigade House in a cart, but the River Tyne policeman on duty at the entrance to the pier refused to allow the cart to proceed to the Brigade House. Probably he was within the letter of his instructions, but he exceeded the spirit. I cannot think that the ordinarily sensible business gentlemen, who compose the River Tyne Commission would ever have issued such a petty, childish order as that which kept the gallant Brigadesmen waiting for some considerable time for their supper.--Yours etc.,


Source: Shields Daily Gazette 5 March 1904


2 April


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on SATDAY AFTERNOON, the 2nd April, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 2 April 1904

18 April

Mr James Purvis died. He had been a prominent member of the Brigade.

Death of Mr J. E. Purvis

The death took place this morning at 45 Broughton Road, South Shields, of Mr James Edwin Purvis, aged 39 years. Mr Purvis, a son of Mr Robt. Purvis, Magistrates' Clerk, had been in ill-health for the last two or three months, and his death was not unexpected, but it will have caused deep grief to all to whom he was personally known, for his kind and genial temperament won him many friends. He was a prominent member of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, with which he had been connected many years, and was also honorary swimming master of the Westoe Bathing Club at the time of his death. In former years he was a clever exponent of the Rugby football code, and took a very hearty interest in all athletic sports.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 18 April 1904


7 May


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 7th of May, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 7 May 1904


4 June


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 4th of June, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 June 1904

9 June 1904

Mr Thomas Pyke died. He had been a founder member of the Brigade.

Death of Mr Thomas Pyke
An Interesting Career

Portrait of Thomas Pyke

The death took place yesterday of Mr Thomas Pyke, an old Shieldsman, and probably one of the best known men in his native town. The sad event took place at the residence of his nephew, 26 The Crescent, Whitley Bay, with whom he had spent the last years of his life. He was in his 72nd year, and held the post of librarian of South Shields up till about two years ago, when he retired. He enjoyed only indifferent health latterly, and about six months ago had an acute attack of blood poisoning which rendered the amputation of one of his arms necessary.

The death of Mr Pyke closes a wonderfully useful and vigorous career. To the old standards of the town he would perhaps be better known, but he carried the vigour of manhood into almost old age, and up till decade ago he was constantly before the public in the pursuit of some useful hobby—for he was a man of useful hobbies.

He began his career as an apprentice joiner and followed that trade for some years. Afterwards he was secretary to the old Bottle Works in East Holborn. His leisure moments he devoted to self improvement, and among the first institutions to claim his active interest was the old Working Men's Club, which in 1870 became amalgamated with the Mechanics' Institute, the combined organisations ultimately being taken over by the Corporation under the Public Free Libraries' Act. Mr Pyke was a member of the committee of the old club and institute and either in an honorary or official capacity he was identified with the Public Free Library during the whole course of its existence. He succeeded Mr Lawrence Inkster as librarian about sixteen years' ago, during which period he saw many remarkable changes and developments.

His energies found a useful outlet in connection with the movement for the formation of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade. He was one of a committee of eight local gentlemen appointed in January 1866 to carry out the idea on the model of the Tynemouth Institution which had then just come into being. For many years afterwards the deceased was an active member of the Brigade.

In the late fifties Mr Pike, fired with the patriotism of the hour, threw himself heart and soul into the agitation for an artillery corps, and when under Mr J. C. Stevenson, the first officer in command, that corps was established Mr Pyke was appointed one of its first Corporals. That was in 1859 or 1860. His zeal in the cause won him early promotion and he soon afterwards received a commission. At the time of, his retirement, now more than 20 years ago, he held a major's rank, and in recognition of his valued services to the corps he was created honorary officer and allowed to wear his major's uniform. In his day no one enjoyed greater popularity in the rank and file of his regiment, the Third Durham.

Mr Pyke was a thoroughgoing studious politician, and a capital platform speaker. His voice was often heard in the espousal of advanced Liberalism in election times, in the old-Free Library hall, and in his best days he, was a trenchant and telling speaker.

He was an antiquarian of more than local repute, and took a leading share in the work excavating and laying out the Roman Remains at the Lawe. His mind was a perfect storehouse of local lore and local families, and he was often, quoted and consulted in his day. He rendered particularly excellent service in connection with the controversy which waged over the question of the inventor of the lifeboat. It was perhaps to Mr Pyke more than to anyone that that matter was finally adjusted in its present basis, for which he pursued his researches into the family history of the two distinguished men into remote years.

In the hey day of his public life Mr Pyke was one of the most popular men in the borough, and the news of his death will be everywhere learned with regret.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 9 June 1904

22 June

The Board of Trade had proposed a reduction in the number of drills.

The Life Brigade Drills

The officers of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, who protested strongly against the proposal to reduce the number of drills to four per annum, have now been officially informed that no change will be made in the system of monthly drills.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 22 June 1904


2 July


NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 2nd July, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 1 July 1904

8 July

The Annual Meeting took place.

13 July

Mr Williams was promoted within the coastguard and left South Shields.

Coastguard Changes

It will be with unfeigned and mutual regret that the severance will take place between Mr Joseph Williams, chief of the coastguard at South Shields, and the members of the Volunteer Life Brigade. The two institutions are inseparably associated in the work of succouring the shipwrecked mariner on our coast, and whereas under the regime of others occasionally a little friction has crept in, under that of Mr Williams the relations have been of the most cordial and friendly nature. Throughout the whole of his stay at this station, extending now over years, not a jarring word has been spoken on one side or the other, a fact which is as gratifying from a public point of view as it is to those immediately concerned. Mr Williams came to South Shields from Hartlepool a little under five years ago. He joined the navy 34 years ago, and has served in the coastguard 24 years of the intervening time. The last sea service he saw was under Sir Wm. Hewitt on the West Coast of South Africa. His popularity in South Shields may be attributed to his many undoubted personal qualities, notably his marked courtesy and cheerful disposition, to his industry and devotion to duty. For both of these reasons he made close friendship among those whom his lot was cast, and officers and men alike of the Life Brigade realize they are losing not only friend but an officer of genuine worth. He will leave to-day for Orford Haven, on the Suffolk coast, where he will enter upon a promotion as chief officer. He will complete his time of service—39 years —in five years time, when he will enter upon his pension allowance. Mr Williams's successor is Mr J. Collins who is coming from a station near Deal.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 13 July 1904


6 August


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 6th of August, at 6 o'clock.

Members are requested to attend the funeral of Dept.-Capt. James Wood on Saturday afternoon, at Westoe Cemetery. Assemble at corner of Saville and Fowler Streets at 2.20.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 4 August 1904

5 August

Mr James Wood died. He had been an early member of the Brigade.

Death of Mr James Wood

There passed away on Wednesday, at the ripe age of 70, a well-known figure in South Shields in the person of Mr James Wood. The deceased gentleman stayed with his daughter, Mrs A. Kooy, 1 Saville Street, where his decease took place. He served in the employ of the R.T.C. practically the whole of his lifetime, and for 45 years was a foreman at the South Pier works. He retired from that post about four years ago. Although not one of the pioneers of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, Mr Wood was certainly one of its first members, and was always active and attentive to his drills and to the various calls made upon him. At the time of his retirement, some years ago, he was a deputy-captain of the brigade. Deceased took a warm interest in friendly society work, and filled various official positions in local Forestry. He was very widely known and respected by everybody.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 5 August 1904

31 August

The Brigade took part in Lifeboat Saturday.

South Shields Lifeboat Saturday

That public opinion is aroused to a great extent as regards the holding of a Lifeboat Saturday demonstration in South Shields has been shown by the large attendances at the various committee meetings held. Captain J. W. Anderson last night presided over another large attendance at a further meeting of the general committee held in the Marine School, Ocean Road and was supported by Chief Constable Jamieson of the River Tyne Police, Captain Gentles, Mr Thomas Robinson, and district secretary of the National Lifeboat Institution, and Mr James Groundwater, the local secretary.

The Chairman referred to the great public interest taken in the demonstration which he was certain was going to be a great success. He was pleased to announce in addition  to various other attractions, the Tynemouth and South Shields Life Brigades, the Marsden Lifesaving Company, the Boys Brigades of North and South Shields, the various cyclists clubs, the fire brigade,  tableaux from the various theatres, and the friendly societies would take part in the procession. The lifeboat, which has recently been touring the towns where similar events have taken place, will take part in the demonstration, and will be manned by the Tyne pilot lads. It was reported that efforts were being made to obtain the services of five local bands to take part in the procession. Prize committees were elected and excellent incentives to compete are to be offered to the tradesmen,, cyclists, friendly societies, and other bodies.

Officials of the general committee were appointed as under:-  President, Alderman J. E. Lawson; vice-presidents, Mr J. Lawson, jun. and Dr. Crease; treasurer, Mr R. Jacks; chief marshal, Chief Constable Scott; assistant marshals, Capt. J. W. Anderson and Mr F. B. Earle.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 31 August 1904


3 September


NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 3rd of September, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 2 September 1904

14 September 1904

Lifeboat Saturday

The ranks of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade will be appreciably depleted on Saturday, they having to furnish stretcher parties for the accident stations which are to be provided at different parts of the town on the route of the procession. The Brigade are the only body of men (except some of the police) available for this important work, out of the thousands who hold the certificates of the St. John Ambulance Association. South Shields is slow in forming a brigade, but after Saturday's object lesson it is to be hoped a strong incentive will have been given for the formation of a brigade worthy of the town. With regard to the lifeboat procession it has attained developments which speak abundantly in praise of the way the officers and committee have worked. Particularly does it reflect credit upon the secretaries, Mr J. W. Anderson and his experienced colleague, both of whom have laboured in the matter with untiring energy and resource. The demonstration will be a unique one, far as South Shields is concerned, and given fine weather on Saturday first the inhabitants will turn out en masse. I hope to see it.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 14 September 1904

16 September

Lifeboat Saturday
Ambulance Arrangements

In connection with the lifeboat procession on Saturday the St. John Ambulance Brigade have detailed their men various parts of the route to be in readiness in cases of emergency.

The detachments stations to which they are appointed are as under : —No. 1 detachment, Ogle Terrace, to fall back on Marine School, Ocean Road; No. 2, St. Mark's Vicarage, to fall back to cemetery gates, Westoe Lane; No. 3, Baths, Derby Street; Nos. 1, 2, and 3 detachments, after procession, to fall back to the foot of Beach Road, situation denoted by flag; all these will comprise members of the Volunteer Life Brigade detachment at N.E.R. Ambulance Hall, Hudson Street, Tyne Dock (railway men); detachment N.E.R. at corner of Bertram Street and Frederick Street (railway men); detachment at Fire Station, Laygate Lane (police division). St. John Ambulance Brigade Nursing Division will supply the nursing sisters at the various stations.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 16 September 1904

Lifeboat Saturday
Successful Procession in Shields

As a reward for their indefatigable and unselfish labours the promoters of the first South Shields Lifeboat Saturday fund demonstration were on Saturday favoured with the genial and sunny conditions of an ideal summer's day. No better reward was desired, for far as it was within the power of mere mortals the committee had done everything else assure success. This was apparent from the grand spectacular display itself, the variety and novelty of its features, the remarkable grotesqueness where fun and mirth were intended, and the beauty and pathos where charity, in its manifold forms, was impersonated. It was in evidence in the proportions of the demonstration, and in the enormous surging crowds of people who thronged the Ogle Terrace area to witness the start, and the great crowds of people who lined the circular route over which the procession travelled. The order of the procession need not be repeated here, but it was a unique one in every sense of the word so far as South Shields is concerned.

Lifeboat Saturday

The Volunteer Life Brigadesmen, notwithstanding that their numbers had been considerably depleted by the calls of the St. John Ambulance Brigade, made an interesting show, each man appearing in a complete "rig out" of their uniform. The "Worthing" lifeboat, built by the R.N.L. Institution, was gaily decorated with flags, and was manned by a crew of Tyne pilots, under the veteran coxswain Tom Young. It proved an object of special interest.

There was no more popular feature in the procession than the Wellesley boys. Equipped with their rifles and their ordnance, and headed by their excellent band, they marched with delightful precision and steadiness. Their picturesque appearance and their music quite captivated the crowds. The Boys' Brigade, accompanied by their bugle band, also made a fine display in their trim uniform.

The friendly societies in the town had evidently taken a real interest in the event, and helped largely to swell the proportions of the procession, while their showy banners and attractive regalia added much colour to the spectacle. The Shepherds carried off the palm for numbers, and included in their lines a finely arranged tableaux of shepherds tending their sheep, to symbolise the origin of their order.

The trimmers made a characteristic show. Their faces begrimed with coal dust and wearing their ordinary working attire, a number of them manned a boat, mounted on a waggon, using their shovels instead of oars. Another novelty was provided by a gang of "iron men," who dragged behind them a steel plate, on a boggy, each one carrying an implement of his trade and wielding it to some purpose.

A large variety of tableaux were introduced. Britannia was, of course, a popular subject, for those who sought after artistic and pretty effects and one arranged by the Misses Mercer, Joblin, and Hodgson, of the Mortimer Road Junior School, came in for a good deal of audible praise. The South Shields Empire, and Theatre Royal and the North Shields Palace of Varieties also sent cleverly designed pieces, and two charming novelties were also included from Miss Appleby. Other notable attractions were a model of the Groyne Lighthouse,, lent by the Trinity Brethren, a miniature Tom Perry lifeboat, model of the Tyne lifeboat, etc. This portion of the procession was fully a mile in length, and occupied twenty minutes to pass a given point.

Upwards of 300 persons, of both sexes, took part in the cyclists' parade. They represented possibly every conceivable character under the sun, not forgetting the modern "Bill Bailey," and although far the greater run was made upon the grotesque there were many daintily arranged costumes. It was altogether an unique show, and imparted endless merriment and pleasure to the proceedings. Eighteen clubs were represented and the unattached were also a numerous body. Mr R. D. Surtees captained this section of the procession.

Quite an army of young collectors were pressed into the service, and dressed all sorts of guises they irresistibly flourished their receptacles for coppers—and silver —in front of everyone. The result must have been a great harvest. The orthodox collecting box in some cases gave way to receptacles of ingenious device. One collector hit upon the happy idea of iron pail in which gathered as many pennies he could carry. A funny Scotsman, conspicuously successful in reaching the pockets of the crowd, while ladies daintily dressed used all their arts to aid the noble cause.

The Chief Constable (Mr W. Scott) was at the head of the marshalling arrangements, and he got through the tremendous task with singular credit and satisfaction to all concerned. He was supported by Capt. Anderson and Mr F. B. Earle, and a big staff of assistants.

The principal officials were:—Ald. J. R. Lawson, president; Dr. Crease and Mr J. Lawson, jun., vice-presidents; Messrs J. P. Groundwater and Capt. W. Anderson, hon. secs. The president of the cyclists' committee was Mr Adam Tomlinson.

The cyclists were judged in the grounds of the 3rd V.D. drill hall in Bolingbroke Street where they assembled. The judges were Messrs A. Tomlinson, J. W. Anderson, T. T. Bains, and J. H. Woods. The judges for the friendly societies were Messrs T. Robinson, A. H. Paris, and J. Lawson, jun.; and for all other sections, the members of the committee.

The following prizes were awarded: Boys' Brigade (silver challenge cup, presented by Ald. J. R. Lawson, for competition in company drill, and a small silver token for each member of the winning team) —Won by No. 1 Company (Captain R. Cunningham.)

Tableaux.—"Britannia and her Sons," arranged by Mr R. Thornton, Empire Palace, 1; "Britannia" and "The Handy Man," arranged by Misses Mercer, Joblin, and Hodgson, Mortimer Road Schools, 2 and 3 respectively; "Knights of Labour," arranged by working men, consolation prize of 20s, given by the president.

Best Decorated Horses. George Smith, South Shields, 1; Hodge and Sons, South Shields, 2.

Friendly Societies: Trophy for the largest master of members of one society.—Won by the Shepherds.

Cyclists' Prizes.—Best individual novelty: F. Reavely, Cullercoats, "Neptune," 1; W. George, South Shields, "South Shields Electric Tramcar," 2; A. Morrison, North Shields, "Scissor grinder," 3. Largest muster (for clubs outside the Parliamentary borough); Sunderland Excelsior, 48, 1; Jarrow Codgers, 24, 2. Largest muster (for clubs within the borough): Tyne Dock School, 39, 1; West End Ramblers, 27, 2. Best collective novelty; Jarrow Congers, 1; South Shields. CC, 2. Best fancy dress costume (lady): Miss Laing, South Shields, 1; Mrs Irwin, Heaton, 2. Best fancy dress costume (gentlemen): A. Hill, South Shields, 1; R. Surtees, South Shields, 2. Best decorated machine: George Armstrong, North Shields, 1; S. Mordue, South Shields, 2. Youngest cyclist: T. Bright, South Shields, 3 1/2 years. Oldest cyclist: William Withworth, North Shields, 58 years. Shabbiest turn-out: Sunderland Excelsior.

Lifeboat Saturday

Youngest horseman: J. Young, South Shields, 1; J. Anderson, North Shields, 2.

In the evening the prizes were presented at the Marine School, South Shields, by Mrs J. R. Lawson.

Prizes were also offered for the highest amounts collected the route and in hotels.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 19 September 1904

24 September

The Brigade took part in the arrangements for the visit of the Channel Fleet to the Tyne.

Final Arrangements

A meeting of the committee was held in the Town Hall yesterday, when the details of the programme were carefully gone over and approved.

The South Shields golf club has thrown open its links officers of the fleet throughout its visit.

In addition to the volunteers the members of the Volunteer Life Brigade will turn out in their uniform on the Wednesday to form a guard of honour.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 24 September 1904

28 September 1904

Entertaining the Sailors
Dinner in South Shields

To-day was the real opportunity given to South Shields to hold out the hand of welcome to our visiting blue jackets. The general committee allotted to the hospitable care the local executive 410 men and 10 officers, and these were chosen exclusively from one vessel—the Victorious, the flagship of Rear-Admiral Francis C. B. Bridgeman, M.V.O. The official time table provided for the guests landing in their own boats at the Pilot's Jetty 11.30 this forenoon, and the fact being an open secret large crowds of people thronged the summit-of the hill overlooking the spot to witness their arrival.

Meanwhile the members of the Entertainment Committee foregathered at the Town Hall to put the last finishing touches their programme, after which they drove in open carriages to the Lawe. In the first carriage were the Mayor and Mayoress (Ald. and Mrs Donald), the Town Clerk and Mr A. T. Flag. The Mayor and Town Clerk were attired in their official robes. The rest of the carriages were occupied by Messrs G. Wylie (chairman of committee), Rev. R. E. Holmes, Mr C. W. Wood, Mr W. Allon, Mr G. B. Hodgson, Mr J. K. Hall, Mr C. Masterman, Mr Geo. Laing, Mr J. T. Reed, Mr J. W. Henderson, Mr J. Bridge, Mr L. Winstone, the hon. secretaries (Messrs Taylor and Geo. McVay).

The men were conveyed from the Victorious to the landing stage in the steamtugs Titan and John Batey, and were landed at 11 o'clock. They were in charge of Commander Charles F. Thorpe, who was attended by the following officers: Lieut. Knox, Lieut. Gipps, Midshipmen Balnois, Graham, Grey-Smith, and Watton, and Lieut. Hatton (Royal Artillery and Infantry). The police arrangements at the landing stage were admirably looked after by Mr Jamieson, of the River Police.

Soon after the arrival the Mayor and the Committee drove up. The Mayor extended a cordial hand of greeting to Commander Thorpe and his officers, and he briefly addressed the men in the following words: " Commander Thorpe and men of the Victorious of the Channel Fleet, I bid you a hearty welcome to the town of South Shields to-day on behalf of the members of the Reception Committee and on behalf of its inhabitants. I hope we shall be able to make you comfortable, and that you will enjoy your visit amongst us and long remember it." The words of welcome were heartily applauded by the blue jackets.

The procession was then formed. At the head was a mounted escort, of police under the charge of Chief Constable Scott. Then followed the retinue of open carriages, behind which came the South Shields Military Band and the blue jackets, marines, etc., of the Victorious. A guard of honour was formed by the members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, who turned out in full uniform under the command of Captains W. Buckland, J. Page, and T. B. Grimes, and S. Malcolm (hon. secretary).

The blue jackets marched to the strains of music of the band through an immense concourse of spectators, whose enthusiastic admiration repeatedly broke out in lusty cheers. Proceeding by way of Park Terrace, Ocean Road, and King Street, one-third of the men were escorted to the King's Hall. The procession was then reformed, and the remainder of the men were marched to the Victoria Hall in Fowler Street. At each place a splendid dinner was provided, the Mayor presiding over the company at the King's Hall, and Mr Cleveland Masterman over the proceedings at the Victoria Hall

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 28 September 1904


1 October


THE NEXT DRILL will take place SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 1st of October, at 4 o’clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 30 September 1904

1 October

The ambulance classes continued to be held.


Working Men and Apprentices are Invited attend


At LAYGATE LANE SCHOOL, MONDAY, Oct. 3rd, 8 p.m. Class Secretary. Mr Arrowsmith, 4 Dean Road; and STANHOPE ROAD SCHOOL (date to be fixed), Class Secretary, Mr Hook, Harton Road. Other Classes will be held as follows: Ladies First Aid Class, Tuesday, Oct. 4th, 8 p.m., St. John's Higher Grade School. Class Secretary, Miss A. Robson, Wellington Terrace. Ladies' Nursing Course, Tuesday, Oct. 4th, p.m. St. John's Higher Grade School. Class Secretary, Miss F. Skinner, Westoe Village.

Volunteer Life Brigade, Brigade House, Monday, Oct. 10th, 8 p.m.

County Borough Constabulary Class, Police Buildings

Boys' Brigade First Aid Class.


Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 October 1904

15 October

The Gazette published a series of “Old Stories Told”.

Old Stories Told
The Wreck of the Tyne

All day on Wednesday, Dec. 20th 1876, a fierce gale from the south-east raged on the north-east coast, rushing the Tyne Piers with angry mountains of sea, and lining the shore with one white belt of foam. The rain was continuous and blinding, and the grey dull sky overhanging the whole scene made the seaward prospect a very depressing one. During the day a few vessels came into port, making the bar successfully; but the greatest anxiety was felt for several vessels that were known to have left London for Shields and that would probably arrive that night. Towards midnight the wind abated slightly violence, but the sea was running very high on the bar.

About ten minutes to two in the morning the look-out man at the Watch House on the South Pier reported a vessel in sight. She was observed to be making very heavy weather, her masthead lights going well down to one side. Suddenly she was seen to waver in her course: a heavy wave seemed to strike her and instead of the red light she showed the green, thus plainly indicating that she had been completely turned round by the force of the waves. The men watching her noticed that she did not recover so rapidly as might have been expected and a few of them at once ran down the pier The vessel by this time had got down to the south of the pier and was coming on the beach. Upon seeing this the brigade men proceeded to get the rocket apparatus and gear down the pier.

In the very act of doing so they were called by their mates on the pier, and rushing down with a promptness that could not be too highly lauded got the rocket and the van right abreast of the vessel as soon as the first guns were fired from Spanish Battery and answered by the guns of the Castor. The whole action of the brigade in this emergency was admirable, as may be seen from the fact that before the last gun of the Castor had boomed the first rocket was prepared to be fired. The first rocket line fell fairly amidships of the vessel, but hung on to the stays where it could not be reached. A second line was fired, which fell abaft the mainmast; but at last a line was secured and hawser drawn on board.

By this time It became known that the vessel was the Claremont, of Newcastle, commanded by Captain Worth. She was from Hull and bound to the Tyne in ballast. At three o'clock, when communication had been effected, the pilots were launching the Willie Wouldhave lifeboat at the south side of the pier, with the view of getting the crew off by that means. The brigadesmen were indefatigable in their endeavours, and the delay seemed to be on board, owing to the terrific sea that was running. Shortly after three o'clock the wife and child of the second engineer, Harvey, were safely brought ashore by means of the apparatus; the poor woman and her little boy being very much frightened. Then one by one the crew, consisting of 20 hands, were all landed safely on the pier and taken to the Brigade House, where they were kindly and tenderly treated.

It appears that the Claremont left Hull about eight o'clock on the Tuesday night, and when off Flamborough Head she was overtaken by the gale, and ran before it until noon on the Wednesday, when off the Tyne, the tremendous gale making her labour heavily. When the wind went down the master attempted to enter the river, and when in the fairway for the harbour a succession of heavy seas struck her on the starboard bow, and rendered her unmanageable. The helm was hard-a-port to clear the pier end, but she would not answer, and was in great danger of striking the pier, Captain Worth put the helm hard a starboard to run her on the beach, when she was seen by the brigade. The Claremont was a vessel of 700 tons register, and belonged to Mr Wilson, of Newcastle, the son of the owner being chief engineer. She was almost a new vessel.

So happily ended the first calamity; but while all this was in progress the sea seemed to be increasing in violence, though the wind had somewhat abated. Between five and six o'clock, a light was discerned on the horizon far to the south. It was steadily watched as the other had been, and preparations for equal promptitude were made. . The light approached, and another large steamer was seen to making for the harbour. All appeared well with her till, on rounding the pier, a terrific sea caught her, and twisted her out of her course, and she struck with a tremendous crash upon the end of the pier. She proved the screw-steamer Tyne, Captain Lawlan, of North Shields. Once more the signal guns boomed out the startling, and as in this case proved fatal tidings, for not a single soul of all her hands but what perished in that sea.

The vessel seemed be very deep in the water, and appeared in a sinking condition. It was evident that she would soon go down. The most active attempts at rescue that ever mortal man could achieve were at once endeavoured. The apparatus was brought down instantly, but nothing could avert such an appalling fatality. Rocket after rocket was fired, while the ship settled down under the very eyes of the brigadesmen who were striving with heart and soul to save the crew. The men took to the rigging at once, and again and again the lines were fired to them. At this time the guns had brought vast crowd to the piers, and this somewhat impeded the action of the brigadesmen, but nevertheless they continued to fire the rockets over the fast sinking ship.

It was about half-past five now, and a faint grey glimmer of the coming day enabled those at the pier to see the outline of the vessel's rigging with the poor fellows clinging to it. Their cries were simply heartrendering, and words can give the faintest idea of those fearful shrieks of doomed men. The waves ran half-mast high over the vessel, and one by one they were washed off. At last the continued seas smashed away the funnel, and next the stays and mainmast gave way. Still the poor fellows clung desperately to the rigging, and all the time piercing cries for and of despair made every heart on the pier sad. Nothing could be done; no lifeboat could live for a single moment in such a sea; while the brigade men tried their hardest and their utmost, the Tyne went down, and every one of the crew were engulfed in the awful sea. Above the howling of the wind and waves could be heard the cries of the drowning men, but only for a few seconds, and then all sounds ceased; and all eyes were turned to another approaching calamity.

Almost before the Tyne had gone down, a third steamer was seen making for the harbour. As she came in to South Pier, it was seen that she was running dead on to the wreck that had occurred only a few minutes before. She had been dashed out of her course by another fearful sea and had struck the end of the pier, while a second wave had swung her off again. Those on shouted with all their might to keep clear of the wreck. The captain of the ship must have understood their warnings and seen the danger once, for with splendid seamanship he sent the vessel into a safe place by the south of the pier, narrowly missing the stern of the Tyne. He cleared it, however, a few feet, and the vessel was stranded just astern of the Claremont. She turned out to be the screw steamer Fenella from London.

The lines were once thrown to the ship, but the captain and crew, thinking the vessel lay on a safe place, choose to remain on board. Just at this time the body of Captain Lawlan was washed ashore, and conveyed at once to the Brigade House, where every effort was made to restore animation, but Dr. Crease, who was present, examined the body, and pronounced it to be lifeless. The head and face of the captain was fearfully bruised and battered, and presented a shocking appearance. An accident happened during the night to one of the river policemen, who was assisting the brigademen. He fell over the rocks and broke his leg. Two of the brigademen were also slightly injured.

With regard to the sinking of the Tyne, further harrowing details are given. Not only were men holding on to her rigging, but several poor fellows were seen clinging to the funnel, till the heat of it burned their fingers, and they had to drop off. Six or seven clung to the mainmast, which, first of all, went by the board, the sea swallowing them up instantly. The foremast next went but none of the men were upon this. On the mizzenmast two poor fellows were hanging on as the Fenella can by, and it was piteous to hear the cry they gave to the captain to throw a rope to them, and it must have been equally piteous to the captain to be powerless to do anything for them. But so it was. After dexterously clearing the stern of the wreck,  the Fenella put full steam ahead, and ran far up into the sand. The lifeboat was tried to be launched, but the sea was too heavy.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 15 October 1904


1 November

Dr Crease was honoured by the Ambulance Class.

Ambulance Presentation at South Shields

An interesting presentation was made last evening, the recipient being Dr J. Robertson Crease, Ambulance Instructor to the Shields Volunteer Life Brigade. The proceedings took place in the Pier Watch House, and the presentation (which consisted of a large framed photograph of the ambulance division of the brigade) was made by Brigadesman J. Barbour in an eulogistic speech.

His remarks were supplemented by Sergt. C. Shaw (Drill Instructor) and Brigadesman J. Fitzpatrick.

Dr Crease, in a very interesting and instructive reply, thanked the members for their mark of esteem.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 2 November 1904

5 November


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 5th of November, at 4 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 November 1904


3 December


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 3rd of December, at 3.30 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 1 December 1904

20 December

Old Stories Retold
Lost on the South Pier
With All Hands

About half-past six on the evening of Monday, February 16th 1880,a melancholy disaster took place near the South Pier, South Shields. At the time a strong gale was blowing from the south-east, and the members of Volunteer Life Brigade, from the tower of their watch house, observed the lights of a vessel making for the harbour. As she approached the South Pier it was seen that she was too far inshore. That being so she was unable to weather the pier end and struck about fifty yards south of the pier. The usual signal was given from the Brigade House, and the alarm guns were fired from the Spanish Battery at Tynemouth, and H.M.S. Castor, moored at the Low Lights, North Shields. There was immediately a general rush to the pier and many thousands of persons soon assembled, including a good muster of the members of the Volunteer Life Brigade to reinforce those already on duty.

In the meantime the Coastguard, assisted by the Brigadesmen, had got out the waggon containing the rocket apparatus, and ran it down to the end of the pier. Five minutes from the stranding of the vessel was a rocket was thrown over her. She was, however engulphed in the sea, which was breaking heavily over her, and both masts went by the board. A second rocket was fired two minutes after the first one, but it was of no avail for by that time the vessel had broken to pieces and the whole of the crew were washed away drowned. Shortly afterwards the nameboard, the long boat, and official log book of the vessel were washed ashore. From these it was proved that the vessel was the brig Thomas and Elizabeth, of Sunderland, Captain John Luck. The log book showed that the crew signed articles on the 4th of February 1880 at Kennet Pans, in the Firth of Forth, and was coal laden, but her destination was not stated. She had been spoken in Sunderland Bay, in the afternoon, by the Tyne steamtug Tom Perry, and was making for the Tyne. The crew of the tug asked the master if they wanted assistance, but he declined the offer, saying it was a fine wind. The Thomas and Elizabeth was the property of Mr Luke Dyer, of Sunderland. She was a vessel of 173 tons register, and was built on the Wear in 1841.

The members of the Life Brigade, in spite of great personal risk, were most energetic in their endeavours to find the bodies of the crew. Indeed, one of the Life Brigadesmen (Mr William Purvis, of H.M. Customs) had an exceedingly narrow escape whilst searching among the wreckage, for had not another member succeeded in getting hold of him, he would inevitably have been swept into the sea and drowned. When the alarm guns were fired the South Shields lifeboats, Tom Perry and Tyne, were manned and pulled down the harbour, but, it was utterly impossible, even had their services been of any avail, to get them outside the piers. Shortly after the wreck there was a lull, and the wind got round to about S.S.W., although the sea continued to roll very heavily. At midnight, when the tide was about its lowest, there was nothing of the vessel left with the exception of the keel, and by that time the wreck had been driven by the force of the waves about 30 yards above the new jetty, and close into the stones of the pier. The first body was discovered about one o'clock in the morning lying on the stones at the north side of the pier, just below the landing stage. Soon afterwards the bodies of other five of the crew were washed ashore near the same spot. They must therefore have been carried round the east end of the pier by the strong current which was known to run there. It appears that the owner of the vessel, Mr Luke Dyer, was on board. He was about 60 years of age. The captain was a young man, who was finishing his apprenticeship as a pilot. He belonged to Gravesend. The remainder of the crew were all young men belonging to the Isle of Wight. Several persons that morning visited the mortuary at the South Shields Workhouse and identified the bodies of Mr Dyer, Captain Luck, and other members of the crew. The six men composed the whole of the crew.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 20 December 1904