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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“My guess that just about every skipper and crew will be in the Dolphin tonight having a drink to the skipper and crew of “The Bella Rosa.”

“Okay we will go down to the Dolphin; you don’t mind do you Margaret?’

“I mean you can come with me if you like.’

“No you, Steve and Chris get yourselves out; we don’t mind. We might have a bath tonight.’

“I will bring in the tub for you then.’ Tom got up and went out the back then brought the tub into the house. Tom went to his room and put on his clean shirt and tie he put on his best shoes and polished them on the backs of his black dress trousers he fastened the belt around his slim waist then hooked his arms through his braces. He then combed his hair before putting on his jacket. He then went into the room that Margaret was using and looked at himself in the full length mirror. The tie needed adjusting so he straightened it up before closing the door after he’d left.

Ready then said Tom; he gave Margaret a quick kiss before heading out into the street. The walked up to number 86 where Chris lived and knocked on the door.’

When Chris’ sister Elizabeth answered she quickly shouted for her brother.’

Chris came to the door shortly after.’

“Change of plan mate, we are going to the dolphin.’

Yes, but I thought that we were going to stay in wi the girls tonight; he grabbed the door and closed it then said”I’ve been to the chemist for a packet of Johnny’s for later.’

“The Bella Donna went down mate said Steve as he relayed the story again to his friend.

“Shit how many got off?’

“None at all.’

“Christ are they all dead, even Snowy?

“Yes, He could have made it but went after a youngun’ who had just started as a deck hand that day.’

“I now him as well, they call him Geordie Douglas, he was only sixteen. I was only talking to him yesterday when he told me that he had got a start as a deck hand.

The sea is a cruel master look at my brother Jack, he was only nine.’

“Giz a minute and I will get my tie and jacket on.

They lay back on the stair post waiting until Chris came out.

“Is my tie straight.’

“Straighter than your nose.’

Cheeky sod, come on lets go.’

They hurried along the road then cut through Dockwray Square then down the stairs a journey they had made a thousand times. Turning left they saw a few others making their way towards the pub.

They followed the others as they opened the door and went inside. The pub was full to bursting and there was a picture of the Bella Donna and Snowy McGregor and the crew on the bar.

Three whiskey’s and three pints Leanne said Tom who knew that the lads wouldn’t have much money on them.

Leanne Murray knew all the fishermen who frequented her bar, she was married to one.’ Dave Murray her husband worked on the trawler “The Storm Petrel.”

“Nine pence Tom said Leanne as the lads took hold of the pint and sipped on it.

Mickey Robson was the next man in the bar and he asked everyone to buy a whiskey.

 Mickey read out the names of the dead and a bell sounded for all eleven crew members then the room fell silent for one minute.

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