Sails for sale at the market

Cookson Country
Cookson Country

THE other day I listened, on the radio, to a programme on what’s being done to rejuvenate some markets around the country.

Great things are happening in some places, albeit they tend to be markets that specialise in food.

Ours in Shields has always been more diverse and perhaps characterful than that, selling everything from china to old clothes over the years.

Quite how diverse it has been, though, I didn’t realise, until I came across a note the other day from the 1880s when an entire set of ship’s sails was being auctioned off.

They had come from a vessel, the Albion, about 300 tons, and were described as “many of them very new” so perhaps something had gone amiss with her building or fitting-out.

Or had she come to grief locally, as some wrecked ships were sometimes themselves auctioned off where they lay?

Either way, they were to go to auction in the Market, along with a quantity of “gear for trawlers.”

This, by the way, was all weather permitting. If poor, the sale was to be be held instead in the Central Hall in nearby Chapter Row.