Highlights from exhibitions spanning the past seven years.

Highlights from exhibitions spanning seven years now on display at fish quay heritage centre

Visitors to the Old Low Light Heritage Centre, North Shields Fish Quay, can now view highlights from exhibitions spanning the past seven years.

The new display is on the top floor and includes a selection of display boards from a range of previous exhibitions telling stories about the fish quay, river, town and people who have lived and worked in North Shields, including:

  • The Treacherous Tyne’ – with a map and list of all the shipwrecks off North Shields in the late 19th century.
  • ‘Shields versus the Toon’ – about the difficult relationship between Newcastle and North Shields from 1225 to the mid-17th century, including the role of local hero Ralph Gardner, who challenged the monopoly that Newcastle had over trade and the school named after him.
  • ‘Men from the North’ – the history of North Shields Football Club, focused on 1918-1928.
  • It’s in the Can’ – about the Tyne Brand factory, once a major local employer on the fish quay and supplier of canned foods to the troops during two World Wars.
  • ‘120th Anniversary of the North Shields Fishermen’s Mission’ – which provides a lifeline of welfare and support to the local fishing community.
  • ‘Breaking Chains’ – The award-winning exhibition featuring Mary Ann Macham, an enslaved woman who escaped from a plantation and following a treacherous sea journey, found her way to North Shields where she was welcomed and cared for by a Quaker family.
  • ‘That’s Women’s Work’ – about women who have worked on the fish quay including the herring girls who travelled from northern Scotland every year to clean, cure and barrel herring, women who worked in the smoke houses and fish processing premises, how women coped with tragedy and loss when their husbands were at sea and Sheila Hirsch believed to have been the country’s first female trawler skipper.

Centre director, Guy Moody said: “Our previous exhibitions have been very popular and this new display of highlights provides another opportunity for people to view some of the stories we have told about the fish quay, river, town and people who have lived and worked here.”

The centre is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 3pm. Entry to the exhibition floors is £4pp (members and children under 16 free). This includes admission to the top floor to see this display and also to the heritage gallery where visitors can view the current exhibition ‘Folk who Shaped Shields’ which focuses on the contributions to the town of four inspirational people – John Dobson, John Foster Spence, Richard Irvin and Sir James Knott – and a display ‘Deeds not Words’ about the life and achievements of suffragette, Norah Balls.

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