Fishing is an integral part of the heritage of the town of North Shields in Tyne and Wear. The port is renowned as the largest for prawns in England. The area was also previously home to numerous ship building and repair yards. These produced an array of vessels, including the small inshore Northumbrian coble and larger fishing boats. Many of them also built brigs for the coal trade.
Although the port in the town is still in operation and has such a long history it is one of a small number in the UK to lack a permanent memorial to the fishermen who lost their lives at sea. The North Shields Fishermen’s Heritage Project was set up in 2015 to rectify this. They aim to raise awareness of the dangers commercial fishermen face and money to place a monument in the area.
The Project has been ongoing and recently enjoyed a big step forward with the confirmation of a site for the memorial. Once completed it will be placed at Fish Quay so it can overlook the harbour where so many people sail from.
Alongside the selection of a site the potential designs for the memorial have also been released. Each was created by a prominent artist. Members of the public are being invited to view these at the North Shields Low Light Heritage Centre. They will be able to share their opinions on the designs and vote for their favourite. This could help to contribute towards the one that is selected.
At UK Memorial Service projects like this one really strike a chord with us. They are particularly impressive because they show communities coming together to remember their heritage and those who have lost their lives. We are excited to see how this project progresses and what type of design is selected. We have no doubt it will hold a fantastic place alongside the other memorials to fishermen found across the UK.
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