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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“I will buy a bag of chips on the way mam.’

“Chips if you please.’

Here there’s a shilling get yourself fish and chips but don’t tell your father. Thanks mam said Benny as he put on his coat then headed out the door.

The Screw stood at the end of the landing and called “Slop Out.” The prisoners walked out onto the landing carrying their piss pots ready to empty. They waited for the order to move as each landing was done in order. It was the same every day Three times a day the whistle blew and they had to come out. Failure to comply meant a day in “The Block” (Solitary Confinement) even if you were ill you had to drag yourself out. Those that didn’t were either stupid or dead.

“All clear on the ones.”

“Two landing move off.’ the men walked to the sluices then emptied the pots out and washed them. Some took toilet roll with them and emptied their bowels because once they had eaten they would be banged up for the night and would not get a chance to use the loo. Those who were foolish enough to press the buzzer in their cell got a stern reminder from the screws. They would run in and beat the offender within an inch of his life then frog march him down to the Block where he would spend five days.’

All that they would get would be a mug of soup to keep them alive. Woe betides anyone who told the governor about their beating. The sex offenders went last of all as they were deemed the lowest of the low and treated accordingly. By the time they got down to get a meal most of it was gone and they only got the slops of what was left. You had to be on your toes when the screws shouted because you had to hurry along the line. The trustee’s who served the meals took note of all fresh fish. That was the term used for new inmates. They knew all the sex offenders and they would be dealt with by the other cons. There was always a way to get to a nonce. Officers turned a blind eye so that the cons could mete out their own kind of Justice. You learned to grow eyes in the back of your head and you kept a watch on everyone.

“When Jeffery Worthington moved off he stayed in front of Nathan Peters. He went down the landings via the iron stairs until they got to the bottom and it was there that they picked up a tray and joined the line the man in front hurried along where the trustees slopped your dinner on the plates; soup would end up in either your dinner or pudding; everything on that tray had to be eaten. Waste was not abided here in Durham. If you left food, you got nothing for three days. That taught you a valuable lesson. The trustees would fill the trays with stale bread so the nonce’s had to either eat it or be put on a charge. Kelvin Williams learned after he refused to eat the food he was given. Gavin Main walked up to him then dug his wooden truncheon into his solar plexus. Kelvin fell to the floor unable to breathe and he was dragged to the hole.

After five days of just clear soup to eat Kelvin was like a starved rabbit. Worst thing for a man is starvation then being made to eat a large meal as the stomach has shrunk so much it cannot take it and vomiting usually occurs. The trustees loaded Kelvin’s tray. He had five thick slices of bread but only one pat of margarine. He dipped the bread into the soup in order to soften it and make it go down then he ate the slice of ham that had more fat in it content than meat; everything had to be eaten along with roast potatoes designed to bloat the stomach. Then a large piece of duff and custard followed and a large mug of tea. Benny his cell mate helped him out by eating his pudding. Even so, after it Kelvin felt full as a gun. He fought the urge to vomit and the spy hole in his cell was constantly being moved because if he was sick he would be put on report and would end up down the block again. The first six months of a prisoner’s life are the worst. Kelvin being only nineteen was gang raped by other prisoners who were not homosexuals; but just wanted a hole to stick there dicks into.

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