"We'll be having fun
all summer long..."

Surf's up along
our shoreline!

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Ray Laidlaw's
Tynemouth:
"Where else
would I want
to live?"

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Whitley Bay & Tynemouth Guide 2009 Archive

Marty Ponton, that chirpy be-hatted managing director of shipping grocer William Wight Ltd., has worked on the Fish Quay for 34 years. If you'd like to ask Marty anything about the Fish Quay, just pop in the shop.
No Lumps of Fat...
by Marty Ponton
North Shields Fish Quay is a community in the truest sense, everyone knows one another and all work together. And though the past 20 years has seen a decline in the fishing industry it still remains a bustling community of tradition, pubs, restaurants, great fish and chips (not forgetting breakfast at a certain grocers...) and traders selling everything from fresh seafood to traditional sweets. Whether it's a fine day or a great evening out, and with magnificent views of the river whilst you indulge, the Fish Quay has it all.

Wights has been trading since 1926, supplying fishing boats from all over the world, from as far afield as France, Spain and Iceland. Where else could you thrill to a 100,000 ton ship sailing past within 10 yards whilst feasting on a bacon buttie and a mug of steaming tea.

As Fish Quay regeneration nears completion with new walkways and unbeatable viewpoints of the river and piers, every day brings an assortment of fishing vessels in preparation for their next trip, or ships from all corners of the world, including the occasional coal boat from China, heading up river. Regular cruise ships are an impressive sight as they pass through the Quay and up to the Port of Tyne.

No less impressive, and almost a requirement of any historic seaport worth its salt, is the motley array of fish quay folk, the lively collective life-force of this town-in-miniature, many of whom would grace any seafaring adventure tale.

Tony's wet fish shop, for example, boasts little fat Albert, the self-titled "Man that knows everything about fish" who, when asked nicely, might even show you his webbed toes. Nestling at Lindisfarne Fisheries of Clifford's Fort is the jocular Ken Jones, present every day cooking fresh prawns and crabs, and a visit is highly recommended. Lillian from Taylors seafoods has the gift of creating most amazing handmade fishcakes, and puts on a display of fresh whole fish that must be seen to be believed.

The new Fish Quay Business Park off Tanners Bank is home to Paul Spivey the Crabman, seek him out, his boilers never stop all day. Fish merchant John Ellis has worked the Quay for over 50 years and is found in the earliest hours buying and selling fish on Clifford's Fort. And if, from a visitors' viewpoint, you'd like to witness the swarming auction process on the Fish Quay, then be sure to book with Jeremy Pritchard at the Fish Quay office on the day before the Market for a 7.30am start.

Other notable characters to repay a glance, though no less fishy, include the ever-illustrious Bertie Forster, an expert player of the spoons but failed philanthropist ("on a budget," explains Bertie), who may usually be revelled-in whilst holding court among the various emporiums of refreshment scattered along the Quay, proffering his particular style of "guidance" to the willing ear. And of course Wight's own Dennis Leighton, a man who delights in divulging his soup making tips to the local womenfolk (this legendary dish is available every day).

But whoever you bump into, you will always find true Geordie hospitality on the Fish Quay, so "haway doon the bank" and say 'hello'......you'll be most welcome!
 
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