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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Darcy was twenty six years old when she married Edward and it was her brother Tom who gave her away. they went to live in Jesmond on Osborne Road.

Darcy had twin girls in the spring of 1921 that she named Mollie Anne and Winnie May. They were beautiful and Tom adored them both. Each week he came to dinner and each week he brought them gifts. They in turn loved their Uncle Tom.

 

After they had walked around the fun park Tom suggested walking along to St Mary’s lighthouse. Tom explained how he would wade into the shallows to collect mussels and Willicks to eat during the summer months. Margaret was feeling the cold from the sea and Tom promptly took off his coat and placed it around her shoulders.

Beth and Kerstin had found a shelter and were sitting in it. Both were now in the arms of Chris and Steve who wasted little time in kissing the two girls. Tom on the other hand was a little shy and it was Margaret who kissed him first. She felt Tom’s arms like steel around her. The bulging biceps swollen from years of hauling nets and his broad shoulders engulfed hers. He brushed the hair from her face with his hand and looked into her eyes before his lips coved hers. She was swept up in a wave of passion and wondered what her father would make of this. Then she lost herself and forgot her father and everything else as she held onto Tom.

She liked him straight away he made her laugh and he seemed very confident when he talked of his boat. He reminded her of her father Richard Linnie who was also a hard working fisherman on board his own boat called the “The Rock Dodger.’ Richard fished for prawns and crabs which were plentiful around the island. Her mother Isla was a housewife who looked after them she was a hard working woman who never stopped. She was up at dawn every morning and always the last to go to bed. Like Tom, Margaret had an older brother who died; he was called Tim and he died of cancer when he was only fourteen. She loved and missed him terribly even though as they were growing up they fought like cat and dog.

Tom said they should head back as the last train was at eleven thirty.

Steve and Chris got to their feet and they led the girls back along the coast. The wind had dropped now and it didn’t feel as cold as it was earlier.

There was a Fish and Chip shop near the station and Tom went in and bought everyone fish and chips with the money he had won at the fair ground. Fish and chips were so cheap you could buy fish and chips for one penny ha’penny. Four suppers cost Tom 6d (two and a half new pence) you could buy a fish and chip shop for £55.00. Profit was about £3.00 per week unless you opened of a lunch time as well.

There was a fish and chip shop called Taylors down by the docks that opened for the influx of ship yard workers. He never went short of customer’s day or night.

They came out of the chip shop and walked towards the train station where Steve bought their tickets.

“Make sure you eat those before getting on the train mind.’ said an old man behind the ticket office as the walked through the turnstile how long have we got before the train comes said Beth inquisitively?’

“About fifteen minutes said Tom after checking his watch. He was the only one wearing a watch that night. There was a clock on the wall but the girls hadn’t noticed it.

The fish that they all ate was fresh and it just came apart like large oyster shells.

The girls wrapped up what they couldn’t eat to give the three other girls staying with them in the boarding house when they got in. The chances were that they wouldn’t have eaten anything. They only earned eight bob a week and that included Saturday morning.

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