A Place Beyond The Priory

 "A Place Beyond the Priory " This is a story about Life in North Shields during the 1900's-1920's Tom Farrow is a third generation coble fisherman, Who meets and falls in love with a young herring girl who has travelled from the isle of Barra in the outer Hebrides looking for work. Margaret Linnie, her two friends Kerstin McDonald and Beth Munro all end up on the gutting line in Tyne Brand - their unscrupulous foreman Albert Mortimer treats all the girls on the line like animals including his wife Lizzie who bares him 11 children. forced into a marriage she did not want, Lizzie is abused by Albert for his own sexual gratification. She was in love with a young Greek boy called Leonidas Kostalas whom she had known from her days at school and lost her virginity to but her father will not allow them to marry- this is a story of love and betrayal and will keep you riveted until the last page is read.

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The professor had a word with the guard who called for assistance. To burly looking men dragged Ben out and then led him away.

The warden then led them to another part of the prison which was the place where executions took place. The floor was marked with white paint and the gallows stood along side with a length of rope tied with a noose. There was a lever on the right and the warden explained that when the lever was deployed the floor fell away and the person being hanged would drop. A weighted bag would be attached to his feet which they tied as well as his hands. Then a bag was placed over the persons head and the noose tightened around the neck. The weighted back was meant to break the neck with the downward force. Sometimes the person being hanged was completely decapitated; others suffered slow strangulation; it could take up to ten minutes for them to die.

Once past the execution chamber there was a small room with a table and three chairs.

“I will bring you tea in a moment said the guard as he locked them inside the room.’

This place gives me the creeps said Martha.’

“It is a correctional facility Martha not a holiday camp.’

“No liberty, dignity, and equality here then professor.’

“I don’t make the rules here Martha.’

“You certainly have the power to change them though.’

“I can only make recommendations Martha, can’t you see my hands are tied.’

“This is inhumane and I will certainly be making a report when I leave this place.’

A half hour had elapsed and Ben was led into the room with Hand cuffs on behind his back.

“Does he have to wear those handcuffs officer asked Martha?’

“I’m afraid so Miss; it’s the rules.’

Where’s that tea you promised us; and would you be so kind as to bring a spare cup for Mr Leonard.’

Yes Miss, right away.’

Ben’s hair was long now; he was in dire need of a shave and his eyes looked vacant.

Hello Ben, do you remember me?’ It’s me Martha.

Ben never looked up from the wall in which he was staring at.’

“We have come to help you Ben but you must help us; do you understand?’

Martha had a note book and a pencil and she was writing down notes as she was speaking.

“How are they treating you here?’

The guard gave Ben a stern look.’

“Ben was obviously afraid as his whole body flopped.’

Martha knew enough about psychology to know the signs of submission.’

Excuse me said Martha to the guard could I speak with my client alone.

“I’ll be outside if you need me.’

The other guard returned with tea milk and sugar and set the tray down.

“Thank you officer; that will be all.’

“The officer left the room then locked them in.’

The first officer whispered something to the second as he left.

The second kept peering through the metal bars as Martha poured the tea then spooned in some sugar and milk.

He held the cup to Ben’s lips and asked him to sip on the tea which he responded to.

“Now Ben,’ I’m going to ask you some questions; some you may not like or not want to answer but you must if you want me to help you.’

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