Your Heritage, Your Memories
Jan 2012: page 1


Mr. Andrew Short, was a well known Choppington tradesman. He was born at North Shields in 1827, and was the second son in a family of seven brothers and one sister, six of his brothers became engineers. Kettlewell School in North Shields is where he was educated, and at the age of thirteen he was an apprentice shoemaker. This apprenticeship had unsociable hours, he was expected to work from six in the morning until either eight or nine at night. Not being disposed to bear the bad temper of his master, he ran away from his apprenticeship when he was fifteen. He left with one penny in his pocket and travelled the first day from Earsdon to Alnwick, and on the second day to Berwick.

On his way to Berwick, with a company of Irish Shearer's,  he fell in with George Handyside, of “consumption cure” fame of Newcastle, and was engaged to start for him as he had commenced a shoemaking business in Berwick. On the next day the two of them sat down together and made shoes, etc, and then as Mr. Handyside possessed very little capital, they hawked the shoes in Spital and other places around Berwick. After being away two months, he decided to return to North Shields and saw his apprentice master, who immediately had him imprisoned in the House of Correction at Tynemouth, for two months.

When his imprisonment was up he returned to his master and served another two years of his apprenticeship. After a row with his master, he again turned his back on North Shields and walked to Scotland with a shilling in his pocket. He proved to be a capital craftsmen at his trade and was very much appreciated by his employers in Scotland. During his time over the borders, which he had a great affection for, he made many friends and had a good time, but after two years he was persuaded by friends to return to North Shields.

Returning home, his master could have had him imprisoned again, but his mother paid a good round sum to his master for his indentures. This then left him free to go wherever he liked, and he moved on to Newcastle to work.

He worked in all the little villages up the Tyne until he was nineteen years of age, when he again decided to return home, and set up business on his own account. He used to tell people that he had worked for twenty different masters before he was twenty years of age.    

When he was twenty one, he married, and he had in his wife a real help mate, for they were both industrious and careful, and business prospered in their hands. Then a problem arose with the house they resided in as the owner wanted it back, leaving him to look for a new abode. The only suitable place he could find was a grocers shop as the owner was about to immigrate. He purchased the house and resumed his business as both a shoemaker and shopkeeper.

Then when about the age of thirty three he moved to Choppington, and became very successful. During the winter he decided to drop the shoemaking and concentrate on the grocery side of business, to which he added a drapery and ready made boot and shoe business. He was looked upon by his merchants as a splendid buyer, and was very widely and highly esteemed for his integrity, uprightness and affability. To his customers he was courteous, straightforward, and in many instances a benefactor.

He had been from being a boy, a member of the Wesleyan Church, and in his prime he did useful work as a Sunday school teacher and other offices. He always spoke with great affection of his mother, and attributed his success to her good training and consistent Christianity

In 1901, he passed the business onto his sons, and went to live at Shotley Bridge, and later to Monkseaton, where he died on June 20th, 1915 at the age of eighty eight years. Mr. Short was buried at St. Paul’s Church, Choppington.

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