The Area - Beauty Comes With Age - Fish Quay History

The Area - Beauty Comes With Age

The area around Clifford’s Fort and Tanners Bank contains most of the older buildings in the conservation area, notable for its variety and idiosyncrasy of architectural style.

The Fort and Low Lights

The local authority recognises Clifford’s Fort as a major heritage asset and there is strong support in the local community for its renovation. 

Beside the Fort, the New Low Light dominates the area. Beyond an alleyway is a polychrome brick, Victorian Gothic building in a style popular for small railway stations. Once the home and office of the Quaymaster it was built in c1871 to the design of the Borough Surveyor, J.P. Spencer and is certainly an asset to the visual variety of this part of the Quay.

Now rejuvenated, the nearby Vita House, originally part of the gas works, is also an asset.

Beside Vita House is the New Dolphin pub, another building which is thought to have been recycled: it was possibly the winding house for the wagonway from Whitley Colliery to the coal drop at the Low Lights.

The Gut/Union Street & Bell Street

The Gut, Union Quay and Bell Street form an area favoured by artists and photographers when composing portraits of the Fish Quay. Many see it as representing the character and essence of the quays between the New Quay and the Fish Quay.

The character of this area derives from a variety of features such as traditional paving and kerbs, the variety of mooring bollards along the quay edge or the winch blocks at upper-storey loading doors.

The Fish Market is located downstream of the jetty and on the landward side of the Gut. The shop occupied by Wm Wight’s Shipping Grocers was originally the Highlander public house, rebuilt in 1878 to the design of H. Miller. Wight’s retains interesting architectural details that, along with its outdoor stall and other original features, all add to the character of the area. Between this well known shop and the Irvin Building, the street was built specifically to be useful to the fishing and allied trades.

These buildings more recently have been adapted to house restaurants, fish and chip shops and wet fish shops. The recent renovations have recommisioned the upper floors for use by a variety of modern businesses.

The Foreshore

People come here to play on the sand and watch the ships pass by. This is where you can park-up the car or lock-up the bike and enjoy the views, fish and chips and ice cream. It is also the starting point for walks, with or without dogs, and of bicycle rides on this section of the Coast to Coast route. Birdwatchers are drawn here, able to get close to normally wary species such as Turnstone and Sanderling.

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