I always look forward to the two Autumn gatherings of the NE Mercedes-Benz Club – at Whitley Bay and at Beamish Museum.
The Whitley Bay Classic Car Show started four years ago and at each one we have seen the area being transformed thanks to the North Tyneside Council’s regeneration scheme for the town. The refurbished toilets at Watts Slope definitely have the wow factor.
The area to the south of those toilets has dramatically changed for the better with a wide promenade by the sea and the new Premier Inn. We did enjoy the view from our bedroom window (pictured above) at that hotel but were sad to find that we could not open the window and so let in the sea breeze.
We are looking forward to next year when the promenade beside The Links where the car show is held will be open again after refurbishment. The biggest attraction, however, will be the Spanish City with its splendid white dome and statues of dancing ladies back once more atop the re-instated cupolas.
The restoration of this historic feature of Whitley Bay could well make the town as popular as it was when Charles Elderton brought his dancing troop, the Toreadors, to the town in the 1900s and then had the Spanish City built.
Before going to Whitely Bay I did quite a lot of research on the internet to find a restaurant that would cater for a vegetarian, those with severe allergies and food intolerances, and children. The result was that, after the car show, we went with Giles and Elaine Brown and their two children to The Astley Arms at Seaton Sluice. The carvery there provided a superb meal for each of us.
The car show, organised by North Tyneside Council, was once again a great success with over 500 cars dating from the mid 1930s to more recent models. The success is largely due to admission being free both for those entering cars and for the public. Then there’s that great location which gets better each year. It always helps, of course, if the sun shines as it did during the morning at this year’s show.
We enjoyed meeting friends, catching up on club news, and browsing among the vintage and classic cars.
Above: some of the members’ cars at Beamish – click on this picture to see more photos of the gatherings at Whitley Bay and Beamish.
A week later we met club members again, this time at Beamish for the Classic Car Day organised by NECPWA North.
This is a very special location with so much to do and see. We went on tram rides while others explored the 1900s Town, the 1940s Farm and the 1900s Pit Village. Most of us took picnics because we knew that there would be long queues at the fish and chip shop and the bakery.
Among the friends who we met both at Whitley Bay and at Beamish were Bill Reid and Kate Workman. It was so sad to hear that they had died in a suspected carbon monoxide incident at their home in High Seaton near Workington on October 22.
They organised events for the Cumbria Mercedes Benz Club for many years. When they stepped down the NE Club took over and we met them at events in Cumbria, and they began attending gatherings in the North East. We will miss them.
Details of how they died from carbon monoxide poisoning due to Bill reversing their Mercedes Benz into a large plastic bag were published in April 2019 following an inquest into their deaths.