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Photograph of Alex Hastie wearing Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade gansey

Alex Hastie

Alex belongs to: Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade

Alex joined the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade in 1950. He is now the Brigade's chairman. Alex worked as a fish merchant on North Shields Fish Quay and is chairman of the Fishermen's Mission.

Alex was interviewed by Carl Greenwood on 15 February 2006. The interview took place at the interviewees's living room and lasted 29 minutes and 48 seconds.

Photograph of Alex Hastie wearing Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade gansey
Photograph of Alex Hastie wearing Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade gansey

Changes at North Shields Fish Quay

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"It was a different situation then, there was trawlers, nowadays the trawlers have gone"

It was a different situation then, there was trawlers, nowadays the trawlers have gone, we’re left with sea net boats, that don’t do trawling. The trawlers were boats that went off and fished eight days, eight to fourteen days, depending on what kind of trip it was, so they came in and there were big landings of fish. It was landed on an open market, and that is open always to the elements, so you spent most of the winter with the wind howling down the river, and on very bad days we would get snow blown across covering the fish. The fish were laid out in those days, on the market floor in bays, weighed off into blocks and then put into bays, and the whole shot was sold, the trawler shot, by the fish salesman. And of course the skill of buying at any auction is knowing when to bid and when not to bid. So you learnt what was good fish, what was in this, and of course, it’s a very intense trade, the fish trade, when you bought fish you then had to sell it, and market it almost the same day to get it out to the markets so it could be processed and used, and this is what we did now. I love the fish trade, yes, and the people that you met down there. They’re gentlemen, yes.

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This memory has these themes:
Change | Environment | Skills | The North East | Work

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