EBB AND FLOW

"Ebb and flow" which is centred around the Charley Clays Clothing Factory during the early sixties. The story focuses on different kinds of life in North Shields at that time - There's Helen Smith the young woman who dreams of a better life for herself, she wants to live like the rich people. When she marries Thomas Lattimer who is a wealthy banker she discovers that the life that she wanted is not all it was made up to be. Jimmy Mulligan who works for Hoults the butchers, lives over the road with his parents he has been in love with Helen since they were at school together. He tells her of his love and that he will wait for her no matter how long it takes. Allan Forster has been in and out of Borstal for petty crimes he dreams of one big job that will net him enough money to live the high life - He gets involved with Paddy Leonard a notorious hardman. A power struggle takes place in North Shields for supremacy. Paddy Devlin another bouncer, come gangster is running a protection racket

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endured. Anywhere there was money to be made young boys and girls found a way to earn it.

The boys would sit in the path chopping up old railings or floorboards from derelict houses. Once chopped into small bundles of six inches or so they were bound together with wire then the girls would then go around selling them using a box fitted to the back of a bogey. (Go cart) Everyone’s rubbish bin was searched for bottles that could be returned for money. The brown ale and Amber ale bottles were worth thrupence each; milk bottles one penny and pop bottles tuppence. Again the bogey came in handy to collect them in.

The binmen came on Wednesday so boys were sent out on a Tuesday evening just after nine o’clock to collect as many as they could. Going errands was another way boys could make a few shillings. Widows would gladly pay someone to go down to the shop and get them coal or fire lighters (white solid sticks of paraffin infused logs)

Older boys who were about twelve borrowed a ladder from their father and went around cleaning windows. It was hard work for very little money. But it kept the gas meter running or the slot television working.

 

 

The Northern Venture sailed through the bar at Tynemouth after a week out in the Icelandic waters hunting the cod fish. The stream of squealing herring gulls and black cormorants followed the boat in as it passed The Priory Castle and Lord Collingwood’s monument. Mickey Robson and his crew still had a lot of work to do before they could get paid and returned home. The fish would have to be unloaded then the hold washed out and fresh boxes brought onboard and stacked. Then the fish was sold and they would wait to see how much they had made from the catches. When Mickey had taken his expenses for diesel and food, bottled water, tea and coffee, the men would be paid. Mickey had to make sure that money was set aside in case something went wrong with the engine or the winches to haul in the trawl net. He even had to ensure that he had money in case the net itself was lost. This had only happened to him once whilst fishing off the Faeroe Islands. His net caught fast on rough ground and they spent nine hours trying to retrieve it. They did eventually get the net back using grappling hooks and the winch but the net was so badly damaged it took them nearly a week to repair it. That was a valuable lesson that Mickey learned; never again would he leave himself in a position where he could not afford to fish.

Going past the Black Middens they were nearly home. A fisherman on Lloyds jetty reeled in for all he was worth to avoid getting his line cut off. He stood shaking his fist but Mickey ignored him and carried on into the gut.

The winch was quickly used to haul the catch onto side where it was carried by the

crew to the inside of the gut that looked like a giant shed. It had an aluminium roof that stretched right around the gut. Inside it gave shelter to fishermen and fish store owners who came to buy the fish.

Charlie Steel in his distinctive white coat and green coloured wellies got the auction going and it wasn’t long before the catch that had taken a week to bring to market was sold. The fish that had been caught and set in ice were now ready for the filleting process and dispatch.

Mickey received a cheque which he would then cash and later that day would work out how much it had cost him and how much each deck hand had earned.

Once again the quay came to life as the poppers and wagons transported the fish and the filleting knives slashed box after box until they were all done. Another day on the Quay was complete and it would all start again in the early hours of the morning.

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