Thursday, 12 May 2011

Dockwray Square

These lovely new houses are striking in several respects.

One is that they sit on a cliff that overlooks the river. Another is that they are situated where as late as the 1930s there were slum clearances. Photos of what used to be in North Shields are here on the library’s website.

The library and other websites describe the slums along the Fish Quay as being between the tall stairs that link the quay with the Tyne Road on the cliff top above.  The stairs are there still and we routine use one or another of them to get down to the promenade at the river level.  This description made us both remember our visit to Mary King's Close in Edinburgh, where all the tenements were built in layers between the market street and the lake (sewer) at the bottom.  There aren't houses off those stairs anymore, only offices and restaurants to my knowledge.

Dockwray Square was originally built as elegant housing in 1763, but because of little provision for water and drainage, they deteriorated to the slum level of the houses nearby and the well-to-do moved into Northumberland Square a few blocks away.

Dockwray Square has since been re-developed, in the last 10-15 years, I'm guessing.  Were we to move, I think Bill would consider living in one of these houses and though I’m slightly less enthusiastic I have to agree they are rather attractive And they are right across the road from the High Light…

Just to be confusing, this is Low Lights

So what has this to do with Stan Laurel? It will be old news to the local folks, but he lived in the old Dockwray Square at number 8 for about 5 years around the turn of the last century. There is a plaque on the wall of that house and a (not very good, IMO) statue of him in the green.  

Home boy made good and all that...

1 comment:

Anna at the Doll House said...

Hello Shelly
My Grandparents lived in West Monkseaton, so, I have visited Tynemouth and Whitley Bay since childhood. However, I have never been to South or North Shields.

North Shields was reputed to have neighborhoods with extreme deprivation and poverty. So, it's good to learn of new development and hopefully regeneration.

Thank you for your interesting posts. I am an admiring follower.