Author Topic: South Tyneside March 2016 Meeting Report  (Read 1477 times)

Offline Annf

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South Tyneside March 2016 Meeting Report
« on: April 29, 2016, 06:25:21 PM »
The meeting held on Wednesday 16th March 2016 was well attended by both members and guests, when the speaker was Vince Petrolino, a member of the Branch, whose talk concerned his family history.

Vince took us on a journey from Italy to America and then to South Shields, where his Great Grandfather, a merchant seaman, came ashore and met his future wife.  His father had been a Baker in Italy and he started in catering, firstly outside a shipyard in South Shields before moving towards the centre of town, eventually opening the Borough Dining Rooms just off the Market area.

Business prospered and he bought a house for the family in one of the "posher" parts of town.  Staff from the Dining Rooms "lived on" the premises, two sisters in the front attic bedroom and another staff member in the rear attic.  Unfortunately, one night the premises caught fire.  The fire spread quickly from the basement kitchen through the building via the staircase, trapping the staff on the top floor.  The sisters escaped through the window onto the roof but the third member of staff died in the fire.

After disputes over evidence given at the inquest, GGF Petrolino secured an enquiry by the Watch Committee.  The enquiry found in favour of it's Fire Service's actions.  This together with the death of the staff member severely affected GGF Petrolino, who died within a couple of years of the tragedy.  His daughter-in-law always claimed his death was due to a broken heart.

This most informative and interesting talk was followed by a vigorous question and answer session and discussion by the members/guests in attendance.