Life on the River - Fish Quay History

Life on the River

The fascinating North Shields Fish Quay dates back to the 13th Century. Amongst its many historical elements is  Clifford’s Fort, a Scheduled Ancient Monument built in the 17th Century as part of a network of coastal defences. Today’s working quay is the perfect place for a day out... sample fresh fish and chips, fine dining in one of the many restaurants or simply sit back and take in a colourful slice of modern, Quay life.

The Fish Quay is a genuine rugged, hardworking area with commercial activity in the setting of a number of historic structures. It has its own characters, as well as a personality that is conveyed not only by the sights but by the smells of the sea, the fish frier and the many restaurants, and the sounds of the boats’ engines throbbing and gulls crying overhead. Changes to the street-scene facilitate al fresco eating, when the weather permits, and outdoor stalls which all add to the atmosphere.

The Fishermen’s Mission, along with an array of wet fish shops, is a powerful reminder that the Fish Quay is still a working environment. The North Shields white fishing industry may have declined so the Gut is less crowded than formerly, but the essence of the Fish Quay remains.


This is England’s premier prawn port. Steeped in history, but inevitably subject to change,  the Fish Quay continues to feed the national appetite for fish. Identified as a major area for regeneration with a commitment to preserve its unique character, the Fish Quay is a vibrant mix of community, culture and heritage and is unlike any other area in the North East.

From fish and chips to fine dining, al fresco cafe life, tapas and pizza the Fish Quay provides mouthwatering quality, choice and value.

There’s a choice of eat-in and takeaway with excellent, traditional ‘chip shop’-style counter services and cafes at Oceans and Waterfront. Fish and chips are also available in a variety of styles from many of the pub and restaurant menus.

The Fish Quay area, formerly known as Low Lights, was the origin of today’s North Shields. Development up the banks from the river brought new streets including Dockwray Square and Howard Street which form the basis of the modern town centre.

Fish Quay Videos Videos of the North Shields Fish Quay


Find out what Fish Quay life was and is like in our video vault section. 

Fish Quay Commercial Property to Rent

The Smokehouses

Modern office and studio accommodation situated on the historic North Shields Fish Quay.

The Smokehouses