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.


27. 27

Now several years had passed but the memory of what had happened that day in the warehouse was as clear as it was then. She stood up and walked slowly back to the gutting line.


Nelly walked up to Christine Robson and pulled her to one side.’

“What ever you do Christine; do not go into the warehouse alone.’


“If you want to stay safe keep out or have someone go in there with you.’

“What happened in there?’

“I will tell you later Chris’ when we are on our own.’

“After work then said Christine; with a look of concern on her face.’

Christine went back on the line, she thought about what Nelly had said about Mortimer being a snake.

What had he done to make her say such a thing; she carried on working and occasionally looking over at her friend. It was when Albert Mortimer walked through that it became apparent that Nelly was terrified of him.’

“Albert walked over casually and stood next to Christine; he looked her up and down before saying. “ I see we are going to be working along side each other.’

“I am to be in charge of the women in this factory Albert; she addressed him.’

“Yes, and I have been demoted. “ My wage has been cut by ten bob a week because of you I now oversee the lads in the canning plant.’ I would make the most of your new post because it won’t be for long. I will be foreman of this whole factory before the end of the week, you’ll see.’

“Will I now; if you lay one finger on me Albert Mortimer my brothers Alan, and Bob will come and pay you a little visit and it won’t be a social call either.’ “I know all about you Albert Mortimer and you don’t scare me the way that you scared Nelly Cartwright.’

“What has she being sayin’ about me?’

“Nothing yet; but If I find out that you have harmed her in any way then I will deal with you myself. She held up a herring in one hand and the knife in the other and in a flash she dismembered it in front of Albert, He swallowed hard then straightened his tie and walked away.

Nelly gave him a sideways glance as he left the outside and went back into the factory. The girls worked steadily until the horn sounded for the end of the shift. The plant never stopped; as soon as they left a new set of herring girls took their place on both the gutting line and in the factory. Tyne brand prided themselves on their 24 hour promise. From gutting, smoking, and canning; the process was all done in 24 hours and dispatched.

The girls went off to the changing rooms then they hung up the rubber overalls after hosing them down to get rid of the blood and fish scales that stuck to them.

The girls put on a clean head square then to their bags. Some left to walk up the bank to their houses or climb the one hundred and six steps to the top of bank.

Christine waited for her friend and asked her to wait until the others had walked on a fair way before she spoke.’

“Now Nelly Cartwright, tell me all.’

“I don’t know where to start said Nelly who was close to tears as she recalled the first time that Albert had touched her.

“So he did this more than once said Christine after Nelly told her that every Thursday afternoon after the first time he had raped her she was sent to his office which was at the back of the factory.

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