A reader from Cyprus has been in touch in the hope that readers can help solve a mystery involving his grandmother, who he believes was the first female licensee in South Shields.
Brian Martin, formerly of Cleadon, and now living in Paphos, Cyprus, sent me three photographs, one of which is attached.
“The photographs show what I believe to be my grandmother’s pub in the old Mill Dam area of Shields market place, next to the old Mission to Seamen.
“My grandmother, Anderena Martin (nee Grey) was the first female licensee of a public house in South Shields.
“Could readers please endeavour to verify if the building shown is actually a former public house, together with any local information they may have regarding it.”
So if you can help please get in touch.
Another reader seeking help is Michael Ennis, who contacted me from the local Tug Club.
Michael writes: “I am wondering if you could help, I belong to the Tug Club, which meets four times a year at St Stephen’s, on the Lawe. We are suffering from a falling membership, as quite a number of the older members have now passed on.
“We have been running for 50 years, and I was wondering if you could give us a mention in the Shields Gazette.
“We talk and show photographs etc of local and world towage vessels, as well as the history of all the local tug builders and the fleets they owned.
“This also includes sea-going vessels, including tramps, liners, colliers and trawlers etc.”
“I served my time as a fitter before going to sea at the old Haddock Shop, which had been Shields Engineering. When I was serving my time there were about 50 tugs on the river, but there had been a lot more before that.
“Between us there is a great deal of the Tyne history involved in our hobby.”
Michael said the next meeting of the club will be in March, next year, so keep reading the page for more details.
Meanwhile, Alison Spedding contacted me with some good news about an appeal which I have mentioned in the page before, namely the North Shields Fishermen’s Heritage Project (NSFHP).
The project aims to fund a memorial to fishermen lost at sea.
Alison said the project team has just learned that an application to The Sir James Knott Trust for a grant of £5,000 towards its Fiddlers Green memorial to fishermen lost at sea has been successful.
“Fiddlers Green is a legendary supposed afterlife, where there is perpetual mirth, a fiddle that never stops playing, and dancers who never tire.
“In 19th-Century maritime folklore it was a kind of afterlife for sailors who have served at least 50 years at sea.”
Terry McDermott, chairman of NSFHP said “We are delighted with the donation from The Sir James Knott Trust. It’s given us a real boost to our fundraising. We now have over £23,000 – so we are about a third of the way there, and have a busy events schedule planned for 2017.”
The group has a variety of fundraising plans in the new year, including a Q&A audience with the sculptor Ray Lonsdale. His design, Fiddlers Green, won 47% of the public vote, and a twice life-size sculpture in cor-Ten steel will be commissioned in 2017 once the £60,000-plus funds have been raised.
Keith Spedding, fundraiser and Project Leader added: “We have had an enormous amount of support from the local community, and businesses are now stepping forward to help as well.
“NSFHP are grateful to Frank Gillender and Elizabeth Grace at VODA for helping guide us through the grant application process, and securing £7,500 of grants so far from the RW Mann Trust, the Hadrian Trust and now The Sir James Knott Trust.”