When the Dockwray heirs sold land north of the Square in North Shields in 1784, it was bounded on the west by an intended seven-yard wide road, which became Queen Street. Vacant land at the George Street end was bought by John Matthews in July 1807. He built three houses fronting Queen Street, possibly those to the left.
In 1855 Anna Matthews sold the corner house, 68 George Street, to John Armstrong, who seems to have opened it as the Lord Nelson beer house. It was bought by the Ratcliffe family in the 1920s. About the time of the photograph, in 1933, it was noted as a former beer house owned by Lucy H. Ratcliffe.
The people are at the entrance to Elliott’s Cottages, possibly built in the 1830s, around a yard behind Queen Street.