North Shields in the sunshine

October 20th, 2017

I like North Shields. Its impressive collection of buildings on Howard Street, and along from the ferry to Fish Quay and beyond are ample reason to praise it as one of the most attractive districts of North Tyneside.

I came to know it gradually, firstly Howard Street in fading light at the end of a long day in Hebburn, Tynemouth and Whitley Bay. Then in bright sunshine three days later one afternoon when the walk East from the ferry along New Quay, past the former Northumberland Arms (aka the Jungle) and then the former Porthole and Golden Fleece (now architects offices) to Union Quay showed the area at its best.

Later up the steps to High Town past the High Light and up Howard Street in the evening sunlight watching the DFDS ferry leave for Amsterdam.

Another look at North Shields

Deepest Tyneside: a trip around North Shields

Walking North Shields with old maps


Above is a blue zoned map of C19th buildings I had intended to visit but events determined otherwise and the Northern half (except the large triangle) remain unexplored.

Of the others I discovered Cardonell and Seymour Streets (lower left) while driving home one evening from Tynemouth and stopped to check, indeed they were on my map. Of the remainder I visited William Street briefly when parked near the Metro station and walking down Borough Road from Railway Terrace.

Howard and Saville Streets I saw at different times in different lights as the photographs below reflect.

What follows now is not a guided tour of North Shields it is a collection of photographs from places I visited in the area over a couple of days, with comments.


North Shields became known to me when planning this trip while I was trying to track down the location of this presumably fictional pub from Our friends in the North. I have asked a few locals, I think it was a film set but never mind, I learned a lot about the area by looking.

Our Friends in the North 1964

In the course of that search I learned about Smiths Docks, the Jungle (the former Northumberland Arms now a mansion block), and the derelict Wolsington on the other side of Smith’s.


But let’s start where I began at the Southern end of Howard Street by Maritime Chambers in the fading light.

Maritime Chambers 1 Howard Street

Then up Howard Street in the gloom …

… and three days later in bright sunshine past a lot of former shops and a couple of former banks – a retail street obscuring its earlier industrial life while retaining the elegance of the buildings.

The Free Library on the corner of Howard and Saville Street …

… and the Town Hall on the opposite corner.


On my return visit I drove across town from Jesmond and Heaton in the sunshine via Wallsend when I passed this and stopped briefly to take a picture …

Segedunum the Roman fort and viewing platform

… and a bit of research later revealed it to be not a control tower (as I had thought in Hebburn) but the viewing platform for a Roman fort.

A little further on appeared the first of my housing research areas where I stopped to take some photographs and look at the terraces.

Cardonell Street mid-afternoon

That’s my photograph above but I became distracted talking to some local residents and omitted to photograph the back lane so please forgive me for the next two photographs which are courtesy of Streetview.

Side by side doors with a single window over, that one at left has been made over into a house because they’ve turned the l/h entrance into a window.

The staircases in the back lane all point to Tyneside flats once more in this area of C19th housing, Cardonell, Seymour and Penman Streets.


I parked in Railway Terrace near the Metro and walked down Borough Road with a quick look at William Street another in my marked areas of surviving C19th housing, photographs below:-

Paired doors with single window over …

… rear external staircase down to yard point to Tyneside flats.


I continued down Borough Road towards the river passing beneath a graceful arched steel viaduct.

Sorry for using Streetview some photographs I missed.

The former Golden Fleece later Porthole now BH Architecture.

Some archive photographs

Claim this photograph

Claim this photograph


Turn right here for the ferry terminal …


Streetview – old entrance to Smith’s and ferry bus terminal

Not certain of location but definitely near Smith’s

This was a pub until 2004 aka The Chain Locker. More notes -> The Crane House

The Tyne Ferry – one of mine

Streetview – Northumberland Arms aka The Jungle

From the ferry heading East once again facing former Golden Fleece / Porthole. – Streetview


Continuing East past the Porthole, at the corner of Bedford and Clive Street stands an impressive building dated 1874 about which I’d like to know more …

… let’s look at the 25 inch maps.

That’s not much help – 25 inch Durham IV.1 1947

Nor is this one – 25 inch Durham IV.1 1915

Nor was the 1898 but I won’t paste it here there’s no point. A Google search reveals:-

Reflecting the topography, the handsome Grieves building at the corner of Lower Bedford Street was built in 1874 to the designs of F. R. N. Haswell, a prolific local architect. His work can also be seen in the Tynemouth and Preston Park Conservation Areas.

New Quay and Fish Quay conservation area

So now we know.


North Shields heritage trail

Further East is the Prince of Wales or Old Wooden Dolly, an information panel reproduced above details the history of the name.

Along Bell Street and now within sight of the High Light …

… and on to Fish Quay via an information panel from the heritage trail …


North Shields heritage trail

I’m using Streetview where I’ve missed a shot

I thought it was a former shipping office I wasn’t far out see below, thanks North Shields library it has since been extended to the West as you can see from the photographs.

Click image above for full story

 Wm. Wright Ltd’s shop, which is something of a minor local institution.

Fish Quay and the Low Light

North Shields heritage trail

At the far end of the Low Town

The guns along the quay

Fiddler’s Green (left) & Collingwood’s monument top right


Knott’s Flats which loom like Prague Castle over the Black Middens


Let’s head back West a little and up to High Town.

The High Light from Low Town

Fish Quay and the Low Light from High Town

From the High Lighthouse if you walk West past Dockwray Square …

… towards Howard Street …

… you find yourself back where we started beside Maritime Chambers.


This was a very partial visit. I didn’t touch the areas shown below and I didn’t walk Bedford Street the main shopping area although the one way system took me through it, behind a bus, on the way out.

I was genuinely sorry not to have had time to see the area where the workhouse stood and if there’s anything left of it (r/h in image above) and to have seen the C19th housing N. of the station. But that will have to wait for another time and possibly not until 2019.

I am left with a feeling of sadness that North Shields, much as I like it is to some extent a heritage park and as a former mariner would dearly wish that sufficient industry still existed to provide ample local employment.

However, what remains has been well looked after and it is a lovely area to walk around and with friendly people. Every contact I had was without exception good humoured, friendly and useful. I look forward to going back.

Next time

Jesmond – schools, big houses, 4x4s, and students in Tyneside flats

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