John belongs to: Merchants and Traders
John was born in North Shields. His father was a fish merchant and his mother ran a second hand shop. When he left school John followed his father into working on North Shields Fish Quay. He has worked there as a fish merchant since 1957.
John was interviewed by Carl Greenwood on 6 March 2005. The interview took place at Discovery Museum and lasted 49 minutes and 43 seconds.
"Well, I left school at about half past three in the afternoon"
Well, I left school at about half past three in the afternoon, and I went up to a place called the Moor Nettles Pit to try and get a job, when I got there they said there were no vacancies. So I came home and I sat on the wall and I thought, “they say your school days are the best days of your life,” and I thought, “God, if they were the best days of my life, what’s the next fifty years going to be like?” it’s just too, you know, I mean, it’s just, anyhow, I just, I lived in, by then I lived in a place called Meadow Well, it was very bad there, and then I went up, when, and then I had a walk around.
And then I went, I was going to go to bed and my father came and said, “there’s no bed for you, son. You’ve left school now, you have to work, so,” he said, “get ready and we’re going to the Fish Quay,” and I became a fish porter that night. And I worked there for only about two months as I was doing a man’s work getting a man’s pay, but fish porters didn’t like the idea of somebody under 18 getting a man’s wage, and for every boat that we, well, I did, I used to get a guinea, which is like, what, 50, 55 pence, I mean, a 105 pence, sorry. And then I enjoyed there, and there and then I went to work at Purdy Trawler Company and in them days on the Fish Quay there was Purdy’s and Irvin’s.
John has 16 memories in the memorynet:
John's memories with a The North East theme:
- Working on the trawlers and moving to filleting
- Fish merchant's routine
- Ferry days
- The community on the Fish Quay
- Prawn fishing
- Filleting fish
John's other memories: