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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“What do you think would be a fair wage assessment then Christine?’

“I think ten bob per person per week on the gutting line.’

“What about the girls in the canning part of the factory.’

“They are on seven bob a week the same as us so I would give them another shilling per week.’

“What about the foreman?’

“He’s already on £2.00 a week so he would get no rise.’

“How do you know that?’

“I make it my business to find out.’

Christine I like you very much, I’m going to tell you what I’m going to do?’

“I’m going to make you a charge hand for all the women in this factory.’

“What about Mr Mortimer?’

“Leave him to me.’

“You will earn one pound five shillings and sixpence a week but you must ensure that every woman who works for me, works hard, is that agreed?’

“Yes Sir, Thank you sir.’

“Now go and take your lunch and because you have brought this to my attention you can start your new post from tomorrow.’

“Will I still be working on the line?’

“No, you will oversee all the women from the canning plant, the packaging, and the loading of the lorry’s as well as the herring girls.’ “I trust you Christine so do a good job.’ Please tell Mortimer to come in will you on your way out.’

“Yes Sir she smiled as she went to the door with Alison.’

“Once outside, Christine told Albert Mortimer that his boss wanted to see him.’

Albert got up from his seat and snarled at Christine. “I will see my day wi you Robson just you wait.’ He opened the office door and went inside then they both heard Mr Thewlis giving Mortimer a right dressing down before walking down to the Fisherman’s Mission for their dinner. Alison went on to tell them what Christine had said and about her new job.’

“Well done you said Nancy, but I would watch that Albert he’s a snake.

“Don’t you worry aboot him Nelly if he comes near me I will cut his balls off wi me knife.’

The girls all laughed all except Nelly, who knew first hand what Albert Mortimer was like and what he was capable of. Albert knew all the low life around North Shields and wasn’t averse to getting them to do dirty deeds for him. She had a run in with Albert when she first started after she spurned his advances. Even though Nelly was just married then he would try and get her alone. One day she was sent to the warehouse to get more boxes to pack the canned herring, mackerel, and pilchards she wondered into the warehouse and it was empty or so she thought. Walking down the aisles she called out but no one answered she was in the middle of the warehouse and it was badly lit. Looking around she could barely see a thing; she felt her way around the next corner when a hand grabbed her from behind and a sack cloth was placed over her head. She struggled but the person who had hold of her was strong, very strong. He held her in a vice like grip and told her if she screamed he would slit her throat. He forced her down onto something she later saw was a pile of empty cardboard boxes. Before she knew it, his hands were all over her and then she felt him inside of her skirts he had forced open the buttons on her blouse and was roughly feeling her breasts.

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