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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“The Smokehouse Boys.’ provided the music and it wasn’t long before they were all joining in to the “Irish Rovers.’

By nine thirty Tom told the others he was off home and he would see them later. He walked up the steps and onto the streets that were so familiar to him. He got into his own street when Lilly Thewlis came bowling out of her gate.’

“I see yor back then.’

“Nothing wrong with your eye sight is there said Tom sarcastically.’

“Where’s all yor women?’ it’s like a harem in that house.’

“If you are referring to my bride to be then I will tell you; as we speak she prepares for a night of sheer passion.’ That is something that you will never experience you ugly old crow.’

“There’s no need to be like that Tom Farrow I knew your mother and father.’

“Aye and they knew you an aal and they said that you were an interfering old busy body. now get back to yor rat hole where you come from and mind yer own business.’

“You are drunk Tom.’

Yes I’m drunk; but you are ugly, the difference is tomorrow I will be sober but you will still be ugly.’

Tom pulled out the key to his house then went inside.

He picked up the post then went into the scullery sat down and took the bread knife and opened the envelope. It was a letter from the council saying that he was subletting his house for the purpose of immorality.

That little cow he said to himself; this was her doing I would bet on it.’

The second envelope was from his estate agent telling him that a property had become available to buy in Cullercoats. There was a picture of the property which was a fisherman’s cottage next door to the Queens Head. The cottage had great views overlooking the bay. It would be ideal because he could moor his boat either on the beach there or near the pier. He could sail straight out and be on his pots within half an hour. It would mean that Chris and Steve would have to cycle each day to the Outcast but that wouldn’t be a hardship he thought.

The other post was from the quays commission informing him that he could moor his boat in the gut for an annual fee of £30.00. Tom smiled then went to his room undressed and got into bed. He didn’t hear the others come in as it was after twelve.

They both staggered to their rooms and like Tom were asleep in no time.



Over the next four months Tom, Chris, and Steve went fishing every day until they had all saved up enough money to return to the isle of Barra. On the 14th July 1925 Tom married Margaret Anne Linnie in the Church of our Lady. The sun shone for them that afternoon as they made their vows together. The wedding celebration went on right through the night and there was no happier or prouder man that day than Margaret’s father Richard. Steve brought Kerstin back with him and Chris who said he was too young to get married did just that. He married Beth Munro upon their return to North Shields. Tom went on to buy the cottage in Cullercoats and went fishing when the weather permitted. In the winter of 1926 Margaret gave birth to two twin boys who they named Tom and Jack. Steve and Kerstin had a baby girl called Mollie. Chris and Beth didn’t have children until they had been married for two years. They now have a son called Alan. The three women meet regularly and take the children out for walks together.

 The years passed by and Tom took his two sons out in his boat Just as his father had done with him when he was a boy. 

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