Martin belongs to: Merchants and Traders
Martin grew up in Tynemouth. After the war his father established William Wight Ltd as a family business. The shop provided the fishing fleet with stores and provisions. Martin now manages the shop.
Martin was interviewed by Carl Greenwood on 15 February 2006. The interview took place at North Shields Fishermen's Mission and lasted 22 minutes and 30 seconds.
The early days at Wight’s
"When I first started you came down at six o’clock in the morning and opened the doors and you had a flood of ships cooks coming in "
When I first started you came down at six o’clock in the morning and opened the doors and you had a flood of ships cooks coming in putting in their stores orders for the next day or that night depending on the state of the tides- when these boats went out fishing they had to catch the tides to catch the fish. So the boat came in at seven o’clock in the morning and you had to be out at, say, the fishing grounds for seven o’clock at night, well the steaming time between sometimes they were screaming for the stores because if they got out there and missed the tide and missed the fish they could miss out on a couple hundred boxes of fish which in those days were a lot of money.
So as soon as we opened the door we were just on every boat and we used to stack bread outside the shop, 40 trays, 20 loaves on each tray, cases of milk, 20 bottles in each case- there would be 50 cases of those. We had such a big fleet to supply and by those days we were the only person that was left- the other two or three suppliers that there had been on the Fish Quay by then had gone up the wall. But my father, through his kind of keep his head down kept the business going, and my brother-in-law stepped in and kept it going as well. There was a slight decline in amount of boats, but there was certainly enough to keep a business going, you know, to keep us very busy.
There was at that stage, we had I would say about a hundred local boats, we had visitors coming every week- the Scottish boats came on Thursdays and Fridays, sailed on the Sunday night, we used to get an average of about 40 of those a week. In the summertime, we would get the foreign boats coming in- the Dutch boats came in and at Christmas we got the Scottish prawn boats coming as well. So there was always a good fleet of boats- you never ever got a break. Once you opened that door you just didn’t have any time for the toilet, and that’s no joke!
Martin has 12 memories in the memorynet: