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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Artist impressions of the tattoos on Bob Robson’s hands were spread all over the newspapers.

Bob went to see a Chinese tattooist who was on board one of the ships they were both working on and paid him a lot of money to cover the original tattoos. Mr Lee used his deft skill to change each tattoo so they were turned into red coloured roses.

The love and hate were left because Bob said lots of men had love and hate tattooed on their fingers. There was now no way they could implicate him or his brother in a murder investigation.

Many tattooists were questioned but Mr Lee, who worked as a cook on board a ship called the Shanghai Dawn,’ was bound for Hong Kong in a week and would never be seen again.


“When the herring girls learned of Albert’s death they were shocked but also relieved at the same time. Albert was a nasty man; he had inflicted so much pain amongst the girls. Some who would never talk about their experiences even to their best friends?

Nelly Cartwright never spoke of Albert again. Christine Robson became the first female foreman at Tyne brand and everyone liked her.

Hardly anyone turned up at Albert Mortimer’s funeral. Mr Thewlis had even given those who wanted to pay their respects a half day off. Many took the half day and didn’t go.

Lizzie never shed one tear when Albert died; he had treated her like a sex slave for years and she could never tell her children; not ever.

Everything returned to normal after a few months passed and the whole of Shields forgot about the “Wanker in the Lane murder.’

The police had drawn a blank too and the case was finally closed later that year.


At Christmas, Kerstin, Beth, and Margaret decorated the house and Tom bought a nice tree which the covered in tinsel and baubles from Frank Woolworth’s.

Margaret made a paper angel and placed it on the top of the tree.

On Christmas morning the three girls got up looking for their presents like small children; their excitement still apparent after all those years. Tom bought the girls a warm woollen jumper each and a hat and scarf.

They bought him a framed picture of his fishing boat. They had gone to see George Shotton a local artist and asked him if he could paint the boat.

“It will take me a few days to paint a boat that size and I’m going to need a gallon of blue paint.’

“We only want you to paint a picture of the boat Mr Shotton.’

“George laughed; and told them he was having them on.’

George took his easel and his oil paints and spent the day painting the picture with the piers and the monument of Lord Collingwood in the background.

They all sat around the dining table as Margaret had cooked a goose which was the traditional roast at Christmas. Both Chris and Steve turned up and a dinner was put out for them.

Tom had painstakingly opened a Christmas cracker and placed something inside he resealed it then once the dinner was over and they sat drink mulled wine together Tom took the cracker and asked Margaret to pull it.’

She took hold of the end and pulled. A loud bang could be heard then she looked inside; she pulled out the paper hat and put it on then looked for the toy that was normally inside it weighed heavy and she looked again and inside was a rolled up 

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