Tyne and Wear HER(11867): North Shields, Fish Quay Conservation Area - Details
North Shields, Fish Quay Conservation Area
Designated in 2003. The river improvement works of the Tyne Improvement Commission from 1850 assisted the development of the fishing and shipping industries. Work began on the Fish Quay in 1870. This was constructed at the mouth of the Pow Burn or the Gut, to provide fishing vessels with facilities to unload catches and take on supplies. A jetty was built to protect boats from the sea. The quay had to be enlarged several times. The first market sheds were built in 1871 to provide protection from the weather. Boats were built and repaired around the Fish Quay, masts, blocks, ropes, nets, chains and anchors were made to fir out the fishing boats. The fishermen could buy food, drink, clothes, charts and navigation instruments here. Fish were traded here, processed (by salting or smoking) and transported to distant markets. Bell's Court (now Quayside Court) was built in 1927. Slum clearances took place in the 1930s to reduce the residential population. St. Peter's, the 'Sailor's Church' closed. The CA includes a number of pieces of artwork - the Dolphin Mooring Post, two large cod on Nater's Stairs, decorative street furniture along Union Quay and Bell Street, metal grilles in the fish quay and market wall depicting herring girls at work by Maureen Black. There are two wooden dollies and a statue of Stan Laurel. The Fish Quay today is a rugged commercial area. The Fisherman's Mission still stands on Union Quay and there are a number of wet fish shops. The white fish industry has declined, but this is England's premier prawn port and home to the country's only fish filleting training school. There is a residential corridor from Union Quay to the end of Dolphin Quays. On the bank top there are new residential developments. Old buildings include the Grieves building (HER 7855), The Prince of Wales Tavern (HER 9437), Wight's Shipping Grocers (HER 9367), the Irvin Building (HER 7309). The stairways are important to the character of the CA (e.g. Library Stairs). The fish quay retains traditional paving and kerbs, a variety of mooring bollards along the quay edge, winch blocks at upper-storey loading doors. The fish market lies behind grille gates. Clifford's Fort (HER 149 and 150) is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Beside the Fort is the New Low Light (HER 2057) and horse and cart tracks and setts probably dating from 1884. Other interesting buildings within the Fort walls are Vita House (HER 10861), Northern Print Studio (HER 10860) and its alleyway paved with old setts, bordered by new fish-embossed pavors, Quay Master's Office (HER 9423), New Dolphin Public House (HER 10859), Caley's Ships' Chandlers (HER 9386), the Maltings (HER 4549) and Low Lights Tavern (HER 7278).
FISHcast, sub-group of FISH (Folk Interested in Shields Harbour), 2007, North Shields - The New Quay and The Fish Quay Conservation Areas - FISHcast Community Character Statement