Fish Wife

"FISH WIFE" It tells of two women one from Scotland the other from North Shields.Margaret Rose Garbutt, has a violent abusive husband who beats her up whilst pregnant she runs away from from Sterling and when her baby is born is forced to give her up. years later she ends up working in the kipper factory on North Shields fish quay where she meets Irene Milsip who had such a bad home life that when she was set up on a blind date met Jimmy Johnson who she marries more out of desperation than love. Jimmy is a waster and is having an affair behind Irene's back with an Irish immigrants daughter until Irene's friend finds a letter in the street. Annabelle Crosby is faced with a dilemma- does she tell her friend or let the affair go on. This is the story of hardship and struggle of two women during the 1960's and their rise to success but one thing they will never forget is their roots. FISH WIFE is a tale of love, ambition, family values, and friendship.


77. 77

The door slammed as Mollie went out to play hopscotch with Anne Cosh and Gracie Wilson.

After spending over an hour telling the girls about Bobby Ross; the girls asked if she was going back.

“I have come back to pay off a few debts Betty then Mollie and I are going back yes.”

“Good on you lass; you deserve a bit of happiness after what you have been through.

“Don’t worry though girls; every Friday night is bingo night and I will be back for that.”

“eeh whey you can take the lass oot a Shields but not Shields oot the lass.”

Irene laughed out loud then said “right who coming to the bingo tonight it’s my treat?

“Whey if your payin’ like we will ahl gan.”

“Six o’clock then outside the Borough tonight?

“We’ll be there Irene love; the girls got up and made their way to the door.”

Irene made a note of what she owed; she calculated with food to buy she would still have forty five pounds left.”


“Are you ready Rose the bus is going to be here in a minute?”

“Yes love, I’m coming; just putting my coat on.”

George and Cathy Crossed the road as Rose closed the door; they sat on the wall and waited until the bus came then got on board. The conductor took their fares and gave them a ticket. Along the route George pointed out the school that she would go to if she decided to stay. The bus stopped at spring gardens to let someone off then carried on along Albion Road then turned into Northumberland Square.

“What is that statue George she asked as they got off the bus?

“That’s the Wooden Dolly.”

 Why is it called that?

“It was because years ago the foreign sailors named her so. The original statue stood outside the Prince of Wales pub on the Quay Side.” The sailors cut chips of her with their sharp knives for good luck until all that was left of her was a stump in the ground.

This one has been here since 1958 but the first was made in 1842; then the second in 1902. She is carrying a fish basket on her back, you can see the mice if you look closely at her. Cathy studied the statue in every detail; before they headed off towards Howard Street. George pointed out the police station and the muster rooms at the bottom. There used to be a prison ship in the Tyne and anyone caught thieving or committing a serious crime were sent there and life was really tough for them. They all walked down the library stairs until they came upon the Fish Quay. The pungent aroma hit Cathy’s nostrils as they walked along the quay side.

This was the largest herring port in the world Cathy and the boats would come here and would stretch right along the Quay and about six to eight boats deep.

“What is that across the river?

“That is South Shields; I will take you over on the ferry the next time that you come.

Rose Showed Cathy where she worked before going in to start.

George walked along the Road to the Black Midden’s. George explained about the ships that were marooned and plundered in the 17th century.

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