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.


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In March 1961 Rose Wilkinson opened her first Shop called “Stylize” she made lots of hippy styled dresses and mini skirts after Mary Quant brought them into fashion.

She also employed six machinists until 1963 when she bought he first factory on the coast road making fashion shirts and blouses. By 1965 she had ten outlets and her business was booming. They moved to Tynemouth where she bought a five bed roomed house on the Broadway. She now drives her own car and is a very wealthy and successful business woman. Cathy came back home and now lives with her mother and George. She wants to open her own record shop when she leaves school but still go to College to study journalism.

Gerald Garbutt; Roses ex husband was killed in Jamaica in 1964 when he got into gambling debts with a gangsters.


 Both Irene and Rose became very good friends after Irene met her one afternoon and remembered her from the Kipper factory. They got together to hold a festival on North Shields Fish Quay free for all the people of the little town. There is live music played and market stalls and a huge party for all the children. They all have dinner at least once a year when they return to the Fisherman’s Mission now owned by Alice Hunter after the two women gave her the money to buy the place. She now employs two staff to help run the place.

Both women had risen above the poverty and they had made a success of their lives.

One thing they never forgot was their roots and the fact that they were once fish wives.








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