North Shields Fish Quay

North Shields Fish Quay is a fishing port located close to the mouth of the River Tyne, in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, North East England, 8 miles (13 km) east of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne.

The quay began life in 1225 as a simple village of shielings (seasonal huts used by hunters or fishermen) around the Pow Burn (stream or river); the town of North Shields takes its name from the shielings. The quay was originally located here to serve the nearby Tynemouth Castle and Priory. The original site is largely derelict industrial land currently being redeveloped, which lately belonged to the original Tyne Brand canning company. The Pow Burn runs from nearby Northumberland Park and disappears underground at Tynemouth Road and the Metro urban transport line. It eventually reappears at the 'Gut' at the eastern end of the Fish Quay, where it flows into the Tyne.

The growth of North Shields was at one time restricted due to fear that it would take trade from neighbouring Newcastle upon Tyne, which was the region's leading port at the time; its trade guilds resented trade outside of the city, so much so that coal mined in North Shields within 300 ft of the river had to be transported on land 8 miles to Newcastle to be loaded onto boats.

The most striking buildings are the now defunct High Light and Low Light lighthouses which, in the 18th and 19th centuries, provided a line of sight for vessels entering a fairly treacherous river mouth. Until the north and south piers were built many ships foundered on the treacherous rocks known as the 'Black Middens', which lie to the east of the quay and can be seen at low tide.

The site actually has an original Old High Light and Old Low Light as well as a slightly differently positioned later High Light and Low Light, so called because they were positioned low (at river level on the quay) and high (on the bank top some 150 ft higher).

The present quay was built in 1870 to accommodate the increase in fishing boats after the introduction of steam trawlers. It is still a working fishing port with a trade fish market; it is the largest English port for prawns. Its proximity to the Dogger Bank has meant that a number of fishing boats from Whitby and elsewhere on the north east coast have relocated there. Adjacent shops include many fresh fish outlets and fish processing, mainly crab and prawn, continues in industrial units.

The Fish Quay was once the biggest kipper producer in the UK, but the fall in herring stocks has reduced the trade to a single smokery. A number of traditional smokehouses still exist but have been converted to other uses.

Clifford's Fort, located on the Fish Quay, was built in the 17th century (1672) as a coastal defence against the Dutch, and also played a role during the Napoleonic Wars. The fort was named after Lord Clifford, a member of King Charles II's Cabal. It is now a scheduled monument.

The Fish Quay declined in the 1980s as a result of problems in the fishing industry. Refurbishment of the area was begun by Tyne and Wear Development Corporation and then beginning in 2001 based on a consultancy report. The Old Low Light building has been converted into a heritage centre, which opened in 2015


Text courtesy of North Shields Fish Quay - Wikipedia.



10th April 2017











5th April 2016













18th June 2015









29th January 2015














31st July 2014









North Shields Fish Quay.











Small beach just east of North Shields Fish Quay.





12th September 2013




Small beach just east of North Shields Fish Quay.





8th August 2012











Small beach just east of North Shields Fish Quay.





8th June 2012



Clifford's Fort.
Clifford's Fort was a gun battery and military barracks built to defend the mouth of the River Tyne, at the east of the Fish Quay area of North Shields. The fort was built in 1672, on the site of earlier defences, during the Anglo-Dutch Wars. It was named after Thomas Clifford, who was Lord High Treasurer at that time. The fort was used as a gun battery until 1881, but had become obsolete after the building of Tynemouth pier. Then, in 1888 the fort became the headquarters of the Tyne Division Royal Engineers (Volunteers) Submarine Miners, responsible for laying explosive mines as port defences. Clifford's Fort stopped being used as a military base in 1928. Today Clifford's Fort is a Scheduled Ancient Monument; surviving features include the south/east facing walls, and west walls (both sections of wall are Grade II* listed), the Smoke house (a former C19th barracks building; Grade II listed), and former mine store buildings. Also on the site are Almshouses, which were converted in 1830, from a lighthouse of 1775. Grade II listed. Source: Co-Curate.










24th June 2009





Small beach just east of North Shields Fish Quay.



















16th August 2006








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