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John Ellis

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.

Photograph of John Ellis
Photograph of John Ellis

Changes at the Fish Quay

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"The old fish market was like very open and the wind used to howl all the time, now itís like a covered box"

The old fish market was like very open and the wind used to howl all the time, now itís like a covered box, where in the morning if someone leaves a door open, someoneís complains about the draught. Oh man, it was really open to the elements. But you, there used to be that many people working on the market, you never noticed it as much because you were all huddled together, you know working, and youíd be surprised, when, it doesnít matter how cold it is, the harder you work, you know what I mean, it gets really, really warm.

Well, it really did, and the old fish market was what you call a two tier fish market, and the fish market underneath the upstairs, they had stores, and people used to rent these stores to keep the fish boxes and things up. And the fish market, as the fish got sold, the firms would drop the boxes down and they would use that little square areas there, so, but also at one time when at the fish market there used to be that much fish landed that the market would go, I donít know if youíve walked the market, like, it would go from the market to the end of the jetty.

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This memory has these themes:
Change | Environment | Work

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