Sunday, 8 May 2011

A Sunday Walk – Part 1

I had a couple of items to pick up in North Shields and I invited Bill for the walk. We took the straight way there, but the scenic way home.  I've mentioned before that North Shields town centre not a pretty place, probably because much of it suffers from the 'modern' thinking of the 1960s which resulted in hideous buildings.  There are a few grand buildings left, however.   

First of all, the name comes from an old word, shiels, which means a shed or hut. Back in the early days of the Priory of Tynemouth,

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the monks needed food and they gave permission for the fishermen to build their huts on either side of the Tyne, hence, North Shields and South Shields. I understand that back then you could walk across the river at low tide. The ship building industry and coal shipping obviously caused the Tyne to be dredged to create a port.

Still, Tynemouth is only a village and North Shields a town; there are more services and shopping options in North Shields. I also find the staff are much more straight forward and approachable.  With the exception of the post office and the restaurants, people in Tynemouth often strike me as incredibly rude.  I take all my other business to North Shields.

It wasn’t until I was looking with open eyes at North Shields that I found the old Library. Two of the ladies in the sewing group worked there for years and both said it was as beautiful inside as out.  Looking up through the windows we could see an elegant banister and part of a conservatory roof.  The 'new' library is a horrible glass and concrete box, but must larger I'm sure. 

 Then there is the old town hall, now offices and a restaurant.

Also the Registry Office, where people go to register births and deaths and to get married in a civil rather than a church service. It used to be a shipping office and it overlooks the river.

Standing in front of the Registry office looking up the Tyne, you can see the river ferry approaching the landing that I showed you the other day.

Further up river is a very large ferry that does a daily trip to Amsterdam.  We also found a sign directing us along the North Shields Heritage Trail, a walk I’m determine to take one day to show you the other parts.

It has been bright and breezy around here of late and the Tynemouth sailing club is just around the corner, so to speak. You can see parts of the Fish Quay (that word in pronounced KEY, strangely enough, not one I ever encountered in the States, but then I did live pretty far inland.) This is where fishing boats have unloaded for hundreds of years, but the fishing trade here has largely gone the way of coal mining, textile factories, ship building and steelworks. That said, the Fish Quay is still the best place to buy fish and chips or fresh fish in this area; I’d put them up against Long John Silver’s any day.  My mouth waters just thinking of it. 

Even better, we've discovered a new place to shop!  But that I will save for another post.


Rick Stone said...

Spending time around US ports, giving to my years in the Navy, I've heard the word quay used often. Except in this country it is pronounced just as it is spelled: quay. It is always surprising how different this language we, supposedly, share is done on different side of the pond.

Shelley said...

Rick - Yes, that is interesting. I've not met that word either!