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.


57. 57

Kerstin McDonald and Bethany Munro left the house as they usually did and were making their way towards the stairs at Dockwray Square which would lead them onto the fish quay. Lilly Thewlis, Ann Clasper, Annie Whitlock, and Winnie Shotton were all standing in the street as they passed.

Ann Clasper was the first to speak, “Yeev’e got no shame yer Scotch women have yer.’

“What do you mean.’ said Beth Munro rising to the little woman’s remark.

“What a mean is this; said Anne. It’s immoral three women living in just one hoose wi a bloke a tell yer.’

“And what business is it of yours who we choose to live with replied Beth.’

“Whey a waddn’t lower mesel; yer the talk of Shields do yer na that?’

“Well if you and others paid more attention to your own lives then you wouldn’t have time to talk about others the way you do.’ “Tom Farrow is a good man and has offered his spare room to us because we had no where to live; and for you’re information you see this woman who comes out of Tom’s house now.’ “Well she is called Margaret Anne Linnie and she is engaged to be married to Tom Farrow. So go and tell all of your busy bodies about that.’ You women make me sick pointing the fingers of suspicion at people when you know absolutely nothing.’ “Get your facts right before you start casting aspersions about people in future.’ And by the way do you know what your man is up to because we do don’t we Kerstin.’

“Aye we do; your man is a bit of a whore master isn’t he; we see him walking wi a different woman on his arm every night from the Jungle Bar so don’t be slaggin’ us women off here Ann Clasper.’

“That’s a bloody lie.’

“Is it, well get yourself down to the Garrick’s Head because that’s where he meets his floosies.’

Margaret Linnie joined the two Scots women and Beth took hold of Margaret’s left hand and showed the women the diamond ring. “Happy now said Beth looking at the women.’

Ann Claspers’ face turned scarlet as she turned and went back into the house whilst the other women were all now talking about her husband John.

“Well that shut her up said Kerstin as they all walked down the street.


Christine Robson was making sure that the goods in the Lories had been checked and accounted for before they left the factory. Steve Weir gave the signal to the others that they were leaving and he started his engine. They had to catch the goods train in Newcastle then the men had to load the boxes onto it before it left the station at 7am that morning.

The fleet of wagons left the factory and headed up the bank towards Northumberland Park. The girls were all ready for the first batch of herring to be gutted and barrelled that day. Nelly Cartwright, Alison Fisher, Mary Ellis, Beverly Thompson, Irene Jackson, Christine Smith, and Carol Hall joined the three girls from Barra as the herring came down the chute and the day’s labour began in earnest.’

The girls usually sang a little ditty so they built up a steady rhythm. It was Kerstin who started the others away with a rendition of “The Mingulay Boat Song” the other women of North Shields had come to learn the folk songs from the Scottish isles and they all joined in the chorus.

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