The Five Stone Steps
A tale of a policeman's life in 1920s' South Shields
by John Orton
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Tom Duncan, a Scot, joins the South Shields Police fresh from the trenches after the Great War. Little does he realise, when he first walks down the five stone steps into Kepple Street Police HQ, that fifty years later he will be writing his memoirs at his desk by the fire, a glass of malt at hand. He tells of his early days as a bobby on the beat in Shields – tales of life and love in a major seaport, shipbuilding and coal mining town where people like their beer, their bets, and stick together in the face of poverty and adversity.
When Tom tells his tales you can almost hear his whisky tinged voice as he talks of the river side pubs, their prostitutes and the foreign sailors who frequent them; of the pubs whose landlords leave a pot of whiskey outside the back door for the bobby on nightshift; of the bookies and the bookies runners; of the knockers up who would wake those who had to rise early in the morning for work.
Life in the 1920s in an industrial town in the North-East of England is brought to life with real characters and authentic dialogue in this fictional retelling of the memoirs of a South Shields policeman.