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John McCree Pallister [p.]

John McCree Pallister was the second child of Robert Speed Pallister & Sarah Ann Dimmock born December 14th, 1910 at 29 Tunstall St, Ryhope, Co Durham & christened January 4th, 1911 at St Paul’s Ryhope.

His early years were at 29 Tunstall St, Ryhope, the home of his grandparents Eliza & John Dimmock. He & his parents lived there until about 1920 when they moved to 82 Ryhope St South. The grandparents came to live with the family at Ryhope St South by 1929. By 1934 John & his family had moved to 13 West View, Ryhope, along with grandmother Eliza.

Left: young Jack & ? in theatrical costume c1922. Right: Jack (3rd from left in top 6 group) with fellow blacksmiths at Ryhope colliery

After leaving school John (known as Jack) began work at Ryhope colliery.

Left: Jack c1934. Centre: Jack & Freda's wedding day 1938. Right: Jack c1941

At the age of 27, Jack married Freda Mary Earnshaw on June 4th, 1938 at St Aidan’s church, Grangetown. Freda was the second child of Frederick Earnshaw & Mary Emily Stainsby born December 23rd, 1913 at Grangetown, Co Durham. Jack was a blacksmith striker at Ryhope colliery at the time of the wedding. Witnesses at the wedding were Freda’s father Frederick Earnshaw, her sisters Joan Ada & Robert Speed Pallister, Jack’s brother.

The 1939 register lists Jack & Freda living at 33 Ryhope St South, Ryhope.   Jack was described as a blacksmith striker & general labourer.  It was noted that he was a member of the A.R.P. decontamination squad. 

During the war Jack served in the Royal Engineers spending time at Chatham, Kent & Lerwick, Scotland. His skills as a blacksmith were used in building pontoon bridges needed during war time.

After the war Freda & Jack set up home at 43 Wraith Terrace, Ryhope where their only daughter, Trudy Loraine Pallister, was born. They spent all their married life together there.

Jack was a member of the order of Reccabites, a society that was formed by people against alcohol. While not being strictly teetotal, he did not drink – apart from a small toast at New Year.

One of the loves of Jack’s life was his car – the first being an Austin 7 & the second was his beloved Morris Minor bought in 1956. He spent many hours lovingly tending this car – painting the underneath with red lead paint & polishing it meticulously. Not many cars had a carpet in the garage & Jack would rather take the bus & get wet rather than take the Morris out in the rain!

Left: a day out with Austin 7 & Trudy c1954. Right: Morris Minor on holiday c1960

Another of Jack’s hobbies was his garden, a pleasant relief from work in the hot smoky blacksmith shop. His particular pride was the manicured privet hedge which surrounded the garden. He made most of the gardening tools that he required & also the swing on which his daughter played for many hours. One of the small trowels he made is still in use today by his son-in-law who swears you cannot buy anything as good!

Around 1965 Freda’s health began to deteriorate and Jack gave up work to care for her at home. He became very adept (under Freda’s direction) at cooking & his speciality was a casserole with dumplings followed by steamed syrup sponge – still recalled by his son-in-law John with mouth watering memories!

Eventually Freda had to be admitted to hospital where she spent the last 2 years of her life. Freda died October 4th, 1979 at the Havelock Hospital, Sunderland.

Family after Freda's funeral - from left Eric & Betty Earnshaw, Alan Earnshaw, Edie, Jean Earnshaw, Jack with grandson Robin, Joan Robson, Ken & Dot Earnshaw, Ada & Chas Berry, Trudy

In the years following Freda’s death Jack enjoyed times spent with his daughter & family & especially his grandson Robin & granddaughter Kate, who lived close by at Durham.

Grandpa & Robin 1979

Jack, a life-long cigarette smoker, became a chronic bronchitic in his later years. This was a major cause of his death which occurred on July 17th, 1984 at 43 Wraith Terrace, Ryhope.

The children of John McCree Pallister & Freda Mary Earnshaw were:

p. Trudy Loraine Pallister born at Ryhope, Co Durham


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