The Wilkinson’s Site Today

Corner of King Street and George Street

W.A. Wilkinson Ltd – Location

With the passage of time there’s now some confusion as to the actual location of W.A. Wilkinson Ltd. To clarify, it was not on the site of the current King Street Club. Nor was it on the site of the East End Youth and Community Centre. Check out the link below which shows the location.

Site of W.A. Wilkinson Ltd

Site of Wilkinson’s after the air raid (1941)

Wilkinson’s yard and stables were located over the road at the Tynemouth Road end of King Street. Following the bombing the business re-located to this location and operated from there until 1966/7. The land was sold and became a builder’s yard. In 1983 the buildings and chimney were demolished and the rubble was sold and used as hard core for the MetroCentre in Gateshead. Photos of the yard and the demolition of the buildings can be found in John H Alexander’s book, “Memory Lane, North Shields”.

In 1954, W. A. Wilkinson’s brother, Joseph, sold his factory in Gateshead and bottles to Margaret Pearson of Sunderland. It wasn’t long before W. A. Wilkinson met a similar fate; he sold up in 1964. In 1900, Wilkinson was a big fish in the small pond of North Shields, but by the sixties he just couldn’t compete with the larger national companies that dominated the market.

Original Site – Sinking House to be Pulled Down


site of wilkinsons

Wilkinson’s site from George Street.

Following the disaster the site was cleared. It was partially built upon in 1946 with two council houses. The plot of land occupied by the factory extended to the lane, which separated it from a row of terraced houses which made way for East End Youth Club in the 70s.

By 1978, the Weekly News reported that the house at 11 George Street had started subsiding despite having had 65 tons of concrete poured into the foundations. The houses had started to tilt with cracks appearing in the walls.  A decision was taken to demolish both houses to prevent any injury to tenants.

The houses were rebuilt and can be seen on the corner of King Street and George Street.

Sinking House

Weekly News: Thursday January 26th 1978

with thanks to Joyce Marti for supplying the clipping image and confirming the date.

site of wilkinsons

Wilkinson’s site from George Street.

The entrance to the back lane, extending originally, almost up to the railway line, is shown here.

site of wilkinsons

Site of Wilkinsons on the left, looking down King Street from George Street. King Street Social Club is on the right hand side.
Wilkinson’s shop was situated on the left at this corner.


site of wilkinsons

After the bombing, Wilkinson’s continued trading and moved operations across the road and towards the Tynemouth Road end of King Street. The site is derelict now but was used for many years as Clifford Leighton’s builder’s yard. Photos of the buildings on the site from the 80s and 90s can be found in John Alexander’s book “Memory Lane: North Shields”.

next to wilkinsons

Upper Queen Street, just past the Youth Club and along from the shelter.
11 residents of this street were killed in the shelter.