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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Again the screws turned a blind eye to all goings on. Kelvin’s anal passage was ripped so badly he spent time in the hospital wing for a month. He had to be stitched which made it very unpleasant when he had to use the toilet.’

When he got out of the hospital the men were all waiting for him again. He was sent into the laundry where he was paid one shilling and thrupence per week to Iron all the shirts, trousers and work overalls for the whole prison. It was an idea opportunity to rape someone because it was hotter than hell in there and the screws only came in periodically.

Kelvin learned to fight back; his first victim was burned across his face with a hot flat iron the second hit over the head with it. The inmate ended up with a fractured scull and nine stitches.

Eventually they moved onto an easier target and Kelvin was left alone.

Jeffery Worthington was still being protected by Nathan Peters. He had had a visit from a friend of Jeffery who was now making enquiries into his case. He was told that it was a slow process and that could take several years before he could get a retrial.’

Nathan held out little hope. Firstly, Nathan was black and secondly he had no confidence in the judiciary after what they had done to him to begin with.’

He had resigned himself to spending the full 15 years behind bars.

Jeffery paid so that they were working together sewing mail bags. It was better than shit detail which Nathan had been on since he arrived. Inmates threw shit out the windows onto the yard below rather than stink a cell with it. Every day Nathan shovelled shit into a bin as he walked around with a prison guard who let him into every yard in the prison. He had done it for the last two years and was immune to the smell of it. It was a complete surprise when the guard told him to report to the mail bag shop. He was placed next to Jeffery and it was Jeffery who taught him how to sew   the mail bags.

Then after six months Jeffery having an education was put in charge of the library; of course he needed an assistant who could do all the filing and Nathan found himself helping out his cell mate. Nathan didn’t know the circumstance of Jefferies crime, all he knew was it was a sexual charge. Nathan never asked Jeffery about his crime, he was just happy to be given a cushy job to do. So much so that Nathan said that he was going to try and get a job as a librarian when he got out. Jeffery taught him all about his rights and a little about the law. Nathan now had a thirst for knowledge and it was Jeffery who helped him complete his GSE examination in English and history.

Having access to any book he liked, Nathan learned new skills. He was able to educate himself. Jeffery worked on breathing techniques with Nathan and taught him how to speak more slowly and correctly. His stammer that had taken away so much from him was all but gone. He did slip up occasionally especially when he was nervous but it would disappear in time and he would be able to speak like any other educated man.

 “I want to do a degree Jeffery.’

“What would you like to read?’

“I want to fight for justice for every black man in Britain so that they can be equal to any white man. They should have dignity, liberty, equality, and brotherhood.’

“Powerful stuff Nathan.’

“What do you think Jeffery?’

“I think you should go for it; you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. “ Do you want me to write a letter for you?’

“Would you, I mean you have influence on the outside.’

“Give me a half hour and I will knock one up for you.’

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