It’s all a bit fishy …!

The Net North Shields responded to one of my tweets suggesting that there would be loads of great close ups that I could shoot down on North Shields Fish Quay…. So I thought I’d brave the smell of fish and go check it out!

The temptation on North Shields Fish Quay is to shoot landscapes or street scenes – lots of interesting things going on – great views of fishing boats, the Piers, fishermen, seagulls … all forms of life are here! So I did a few of those first…

North Shields Fish Quay
North Shields Fish Quay
Fish Quay and the Low Light
Fish Quay and the Low Light
Fisherman mending his nets
Fisherman mending his nets

..and a rusty old boat!
And a rusty old boat!

I don’t hail from North Shields originally – my origins are the warm waters of the South China Sea rather than the biting cold North Sea (so I’m a real ‘Southern Softie’).

Most of my husbands family have worked on the Fish Quay at one point or another though. His Mum filleted fish at her fathers filleting shed (William Levett’s), his Dad was a book keeper at Richard Irvin’s (now a Brasserie) and one of his uncle’s worked as a driver at Rutherfords, another uncle worked for Tyne Brand as did my husband’s brother.

Irvin's Brasserie
Irvin’s Brasserie

For a very short time my husband even worked on the Fish Quay for Hunters (motor and marine engineers), but when he was asked to clean the fuel tank of a boat tied up at the dock, knee deep in diesel fuel… He was overcome by the fumes, was sick and soon realised that a career as a Marine Engineer was probably not for him!

My husbands son, Alex fared somewhat better and is now 2nd engineer on the Arnold Maersk, a huge container ship!

His Grandfather William Levett worked at the Low Lights in the early 1960’s

… So it’s a small world in the twitterspere! We must have been destined to ‘Follow’ one another…

Levett family folklore even claims that their fish business was ‘requisitioned’ by the war office during WW2 and the family fortune was lost forever in the process! It’s a nice story (but I really hope it isn’t true!)

Twenty five years ago when I was introduced to the area as a place to come and live, I was brought down to the fish quay for the ‘grand tour’ of where my future husband’s roots lay.

My abiding memory of that first visit is of turning a corner to be faced by a bucket full of rotting fish guts.

The smell …. Oooo I can still smell it now! And I’m afraid to say I threw up on the spot.…. I told you I was a ‘Southern Softie’!

The worst I found today was a bucket full of rag worms.. Yuck!!
Oooooo I held my breath to take this one …


Marrying a Geordie …. by default, I also became a Geordie – albeit an ‘adopted Geordie’…. And I’m ashamed to say that I still can’t stand the smell of fish (fresh or rotting) … So forearmed with a peg on my nose … 🙂 I set out on my bike for the Fish Quay to get ‘up close and personal’ with some of the sights and smells …

Up close and personal!
Up close and personal!

Here’s a few of the images that I took on my trip … it’s amazing what beautiful things are out there hidden in plain view…

Sri Lankan fisherman
Sri Lankan fisherman

I was expecting a bucket of fish heads when I peered in ... Phew!
I was expecting a bucket of fish heads when I peered in … Phew!

So ‘Thank You’ to The Net North Shields …you were right …the Fish Quay is littered with material for interesting close up shots … I enjoyed my morning tour – a cuppa and a bit of cake in your Café would have been lovely – but guess I’ll have to wait for Opening Day …. I’ll definitely be down for a look!

Good luck!

Published by speddinga

Photographer based in North Tyneside, UK - Event, Portrait, website. My website is

6 thoughts on “It’s all a bit fishy …!

  1. Hey Alison, very interesting blog! I loved it.
    Message from Tim – “I always thought your bloke was a classy huegenot”

  2. Fantastic photos (minus the worms!)

    The Fish Quay has been my home/back yard for as long as I can remember. I live just up the top near Mariners Point so I’m delighted to see others enjoy the beauty ‘hidden in plain sight’ as you say!


    1. Thanks Chloe! Yeah I wasn’t keen on getting close to the worms! The fisherman wanted to show me it’s teeth… I declined the offer! It’s a great place (apart from the smell of fish 🙂 )

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