Jarrow 1906-1922

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The following fragments of manuscript are from a journal kept by Michael "Chickie" Mackin. My father borrowed the journal during the 1960's and when he returned it did not notice that two pages had fallen out. These were not discovered until many years later - after Chickie's death. If anyone has the remainder of the journal and wishes to reunite these pages with it please contact me.

Michael "Chickie" Mackin was born in Jarrow on 2nd February 1896. His father was Michael Mackin, a labourer born in Ireland in 1865; his mother was Mary Ann Mackin (nee Crawford), born in Jarrow in 1866. The family lived at no. 61 in the cluster of buildings to the east of St Paul's Church, known in 1891 as "Jarrow Church Buildings", and in 1901 as "Old Church".

Michael acquired the nickname "Chickie" because his family's hens were accused by Sep McLarney, the Headmaster of Low Jarrow Catholic School, of having fouled the school doorstep. A warning given to him by Mr McLarney was recorded in the school logbook. Michael insisted to his dying day that the hens belonged to another family. He was a stalwart member of the Jarrow Branch of the Irish Self Determination League during the 1920's and served on the committee in a number of roles. What is less well-known is that Chickie was also the Quartermaster of 'A' Company (Jarrow and South Shields) of the IRA. He took part in a number of operations, including an attempt to burn down the Empire Cinema and the firing of a garage at the Springwell Paper Mills on 21st May 1921. He died on 31st March 1974 in the nursing home of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Sunderland, at the age of 78.

These fragments give a interesting, if all too brief, insight into working-class life in the early part of the last century.

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picture of Michael Mackin

Michael Mackin circa 1920

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