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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“Yes, what can I do for you ladies said the middle aged man with a tweed suit?’

“Sorry to bother you sir but me and the girls on the line are not happy.’

Malcolm Thewlis took out a Senior Service cigarette from the box a lit it then took a long drag from it and exhaled before asking why they were not happy.’

“Well it’s like this Sir, we girls work from seven o’clock in the morning until five every night and we only get eight shillings’ a week; I think that we should get a rise.’

“What makes you think that Miss Robson?’

Christine was surprised that he actually remembered her as the last time she saw him was when she came for an interview three years ago.’

“Well I have worked here three years now and the wages have not gone up in all that time. Food and clothing, rent and rates have.’ “This is why I’m asking you for a rise.’

“If we pay you a rise then we would have to pay everyone else in this factory a rise as well.’

“We work damned hard Mr Thewlis we really do.’

“Harder than everyone else in this factory?’

Just then Albert Mortimer came into Malcolm Thewlis’s office.’

“Sorry sir, I knew nothing about this.’ Get back to your work this instant or your fired.’

“Wait Mortimer, I will deal with this myself; I asked you a question Miss Robson?’

Christine looked at Albert and then at Alison before she answered.’

“Yes sir I think we do, we fill over ten barrel of herrings a day which are sold for £24.00 per barrel that is £120 pounds per day that is £900 pounds per week in my calculation sir from only the two of us.’

“You are wasted Christine your mathematics are correct, who told you the price per barrel?

“Steve Weir the lorry driver.’

“I see, so who pays him his wages?’

“Well you do sir,’

“Yes I do, and who pays for the herrings?’

“You do, but you must make a good profit or you wouldn’t be in business.’

“You impertinent little cow said Albert whose face had now gone about three different shades of red,’

“Don’t you be calling’ me a cow Albert Mortimer or I will knock you on your fat arse.’

“Are you going to allow this girl to speak to me in this way sir?’

“Mortimer step outside a moment will you.’

Albert adjusted his tie nervously then left the office.’

“I admire your courage Christine; it took real nerve coming in here.’

“If you were a man you would have made a better foreman than Mr Mortimer.’

“I would do a better job than he does I assure you of that.’

“Why?’

“Why, because firstly I would listen to my staff and take on board what they are saying. I have worked in just about every part of this factory in the three years I’ve been here sir and I know most of the girls here and I hear them day in day out wondering how they are going to pay bills. A lot have them are widowed sir, they lost their men to the sea or during the war.’

“Carry on.’

“Well, I would like to see a wage scale introduced in this factory and a fair wage for those who work the hardest. I’m not sayin’ the other girls don’t work hard; they do but not as hard as us girls on the gutting line.

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