North Shields Fish Quay - 1850

VARIOUS indicators suggest a date for this image of about 1850.

What appears to be a clock on the Low Light is, in fact, a tide gauge.

There have been navigation lights at North Shields since 1540 but neglect of the buildings and silting of the river have, from time to time, rendered them virtually useless.

The original lights were stone built, but in 1658/59 these were replaced by wooden constructions that could be easily moved to accommodate the changes in the bed of the River Tyne that made entry to the river so treacherous. By 1686 these lighthouses had become ruinous but were not replaced until 1727 when a new high light was built on the bank top and a low light in Clifford's Fort.

By 1805 these lights were, in turn, inadequate for purpose and at a meeting of shipowners it was decided that new lights were required.

Work on these began in 1807 at Dockwray Square and at the Pow Dene.

They were first lit in 1810 and the old buildings converted into almshouses. They still stand today but are no longer used to direct shipping into the river.

In 1867 Tynemouth Corporation began construction of a fish quay at the west side of the Low Light to service the fishing industry.

The quay attracted fishing boats to North Shields and to accommodate them the Union Quay was reconstructed in 1875. In the last two decades of the 19th century extensions were made into the river creating the enclosed Quay that is so familiar today.

If anyone has further information ask for Local Studies on (0191) 200 5424 or leave a message at any branch of North Tyneside Libraries.