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 Cabbage Patch
"Right, the cabbage patch goes back a long time"
Right, the cabbage patch goes back a long time. What you’ve got to understand is, during the trawler days, these trawlers used to come in, what they had to do, they had to land during the night, so that means you had maybe 20, 30 men during the night, working and what do people do when they finish work? They have a pint on the way home. In those days there was nowhere where they could go for a drink. So we have a large room at the side of the building where we store the vegetables, and what it was, when we opened in the mornings, until the pubs opened at 10 o’clock, from six until 10 we used to open, well, it was nicknamed the Cabbage Patch by one of the customers, and the people used to go in there and we used to serve Brown Ale and cans of Export and things like that, and the lads would sit there and have a couple of beers and away they went to the pub when it opened at 10 o’clock.
But the other side to it was, for the trawler men, which was a great thing for the agents and for the ship’s husband who had to go around all North Shields, find all these people, drag them out the pubs and get them on board the boat to get to sea. Well, of course all you did was come to the Cabbage Patch because they’re all sitting there having a bottle of Broon, having a whale of a time before the sails. So I would go in with a, one of the, Gordon used to say to me, “get in there with a brush,” so I’d go in with a brush, “come on, lads, get yourselves away to sea.” You’d have fourteen men would go trooping out, happy as Larry because they had had a couple of bottles of brown ale, they had had a bit of a chat, and all they did was step aboard the boat and they went to sea for 14 days, and it was great for the ship’s husband because he just, well, it was no hassle for him then. Everybody knew about it and it did no harm whatsoever. None at all.
Martin has 12 memories in the memorynet: