Fish Quay heritage centre benefits from trust set up by North Shields shipping magnate

Fish Quay heritage centre benefits from trust set up by North Shields shipping magnate                                          

The Old Low Light Heritage Centre has been awarded £24,000 from a trust set up almost 100 years ago by Sir James Knott, a North Shields shipping magnate, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

The heritage centre, on North Shields Fish Quay, which has been closed for several months due to the pandemic, will use the funding to help pay staff salaries when it re-opens this summer.

Centre director, Guy Moody, welcomed the grant: “This is great news and will be a huge help when we re-open, probably late July. It is a very generous donation and we are most grateful for the trust’s kindness.

“Our reserves have been badly hit since the start of the pandemic due to lockdowns and restrictions as we have only been able to open for a couple of months and even then, with reduced tables in the café and none of our usual activities which boost our funds.”

Although the centre’s café and galleries remain closed, some community groups are now holding their regular meetings there and some outdoor activities are scheduled. (For more information go to

The funding is from Samares Jersey Investments, a sister trust to the Sir James Knott Trust.

Jo Curry MBE, trust secretary of the James Knott Trust, said: “We are very pleased that our sister trust was able to provide this grant to the Old Low Light Heritage Centre, which is doing a great job in preserving local history and heritage. We were very impressed at the work by volunteers highlighting the many achievements of Sir James Knott, whose contributions in North Shields and across the region continue to make a difference to people’s lives.”

Sir James Knott was born in Howdon and went on to develop the Prince Line, the world’s third largest shipping line with 45 ships, many of them built in Tyne and Wear shipyards. After losing two sons in WW1, he set up the Sir James Knott Trust, which at that time was used to support the widows of men killed in battle. It continues to provide financial support to people living and working across the North East. The building of the Knott Memorial Flats, which overlook the Tyne at North Shields, is among the most well-known projects funded by the trust.

Sir James moved to Jersey in 1924, where he set up Samares Jersey to further his philanthropic interests.

Old Low Light volunteer and local historian Mike Coates recently recorded a video about the life and achievements of Sir James.

Another of Old Low Light’s  great volunteers volunteers, Syd Carins, recently presented a short history of the flats in the second of our heritage themed video to feature Sir James Knott.


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