The Coast at Whitley Bay

When aa was a lad a holiday was a daytrip to the sea
With a bag full o’ sandwiches, some pop and a flask of tea
There’d be me, me mother and father, me sisters and Aunty may
Heading for wa holidays at the coast at Whitley Bay

We’d get the train from the Felling, buckets and spades in hand
Excited just by thinking aboot aal that sea and sand
We’d change at the central station, view the scen’ry on the way
Heading for wa holidays at the coast at Whitley Bay

When w’reached wa destination, we’d head straight for the prom
And try to find a bit of beach before it was aall gone
There’d be lots of other fam’lies, aall doon for the day
Enjoying aall their holidays at the coast at Whitley Bay

When w’sat wa selves doon on the beach, me father would disappear
He’d say he was gannin for a walk and just might have a beer
“Y’ll not see him till closin’ time” I’d hear me mother say
Cos he was on his holidays at the coast at Whitley Bay

Well he’d be back at closin’ time, expectin’ a bite to eat
And after a couple of sandwiches he’d be fast asleep
While we made pot pies in the sand, around him as he lay
Cos we were on wa holidays at the coast at Whitley Bay

Then we’d gan and have a plodge in the freezin’ sea
And sometimes aa was very brave as it came up te me knees
Time flew by as we had fun, w’wished that we could stay
When we were on wa holidays at the coast at Whitley Bay

The day was not quite over yet as w’headed for the train
We’d caall in the Spanish City, the nearest w’got te Spain
For a couple of rides before w’ left and Auntie May would pay
Cos we were on wa holidays at the coast at Whitley Bay

Words & music by Wilf Mitford


From The Mitford Family album ‘Geordie & Northumbrian’
Credits: Wilf Mitford, Vocals & Guitar; Pamela Mitford, Violin; Julia Mitford, Flute

Having just posted Seaton Sluice to Sydney, this jumped out as the next song of Dad’s to share.   In Seaton Sluice to Sydney you’ll notice Whitley Bay gets a mention.  Dad has been fond of the seaside town of Whitley Bay since he was a child after spending his summers there with his family. Although it’s the dark of winter in England, here in Australia it’s our summer holidays as I write this – with a heatwave no less!  Our beaches may be a little different and the mercury certainly peaks a little higher, but I too have fond memories of Whitley Bay and the Spanish City from my childhood with its rollercoaster and arcades where you could put your pennies in the slot machines.

I love this colourful description of Dad with my Nanna, Granda & Aunty May heading off on a massive day trip to the beach, with Granda taking in a few beers at the pub.  Sadly I didn’t get to meet Granda as he died before I was born, but I know from family photos and tales that he’d be sitting there with his trousers rolled up and his handkerchief on his head as every self respecting beach going man of his generation would be!  It’s also very timely that this song gives mention to the Spanish City as that is finally being redeveloped with restoration of the famous dome frontage.  The new development will see it returned to its former glory with a boutique hotel, apartments, and a restaurant.  Dad wasn’t the only songwriter to take inspiration from the Spanish City – Dire Straits’ Tunnel of Love also nods to the famous landmark too.  I look forward to visiting on our future trips home!

Julia Child

spanish_city_postcard_early_1900s
Postcard from early 1900s

Creative Commons License
The Coast at Whitley Bay by Wilf Mitford is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://mitfordmusic.wordpress.com/.

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