North Shields Fishermen's Heritage Project

About Us

The North Shields Fishermen’s Heritage Project was a community based project which was dedicated to creating a fitting and lasting memorial to fishermen who left the port of North Shields and lost their lives just doing their job.

Terry McDermott - Chairman

Terry McDermott – Chairman

Terry was born and bred in North Shields, and during his life, the call of the sea beckoned where he followed his Grandfather; Tosh Henderson who fished out of North Shields throughout his lifetime. Terry worked out of North Shields, Lowestoft, Eyemouth and La Coronia on Beam Trawlers, Sidewinders and Anchor Seine-Netters.

Like Henry, Terry has experienced the wrath of the sea, when on one occasion whilst fishing in the Atlantic for Hake, he had a close call to death when he was swept by a huge wave and washed down the deck of his vessel along with the rest of the crew. The dreadful noise, a luminous green colour and the freezing cold make this an incident he will never forget. Mercifully, no one was lost overboard as everyone managed to grab hold of something.

In 1990, Terry ceased fishing due to financial strain and began a career in the Merchant Navy. He re-studied, eventually rising to 2nd Engineer on P.S.V. and A.H.T. vessels, primarily in the North Sea. He still serves in the shipping industry and hopes to see a few more years in the job he loves – working at sea.

Terry is very proud to be Chairman of the North Shields Fishermen’s Heritage Project and believes that with the team they can do justice to the Fishermen and for the rich heritage of the ‘Canny Folk of Shields’.

Henry Howard - Vice Chairman

Henry Howard – Vice Chairman

It was Henry who first raised the issue of a Memorial to lost Fishermen and he is the emotional heart of the project. Born in Dublin, Henry fished out of Eire for 25 years, principally in the seas of Iceland and the Russian Coast – notoriously dangerous waters!

Henry first went fishing when he was only 13 years of age, and he’s had a few narrow escapes, most notably when he was cast overboard after his duffle coat was caught by a stray hook from the gear! He was hauled back aboard by a boat hook and told to get back to work – Health and Safety not being high on the agenda in those days!

While fishing off the coast of New Orleans, Henry was caught in a hurricane which completely flooded the boat causing a total loss of power. Henry and the rest of the crew were adrift for 36 hours before being towed to New Orleans … Just in time for Mardi Gras!

Henry moved to The North East of England in the 60’s, served in the Merchant Navy for 5 years and worked in the shipyards of Tyneside in between sea trips.

Joyce Marti - Secretary

Joyce Marti – Secretary

Born at her Grandparent’s house on the former Ridges Estate in the 1950’s, Joyce has had a long connection with North Shields. Her Grandfather was in fact a worker on the Tyne Dredgers. Joyce lived with her parents on Elsdon Street up to the age of 2 when the family moved onto the Ridges where she stayed up to the age of 18 years. She was educated at the Western Primary (formerly Western Board) School until the age of 11, then Ralph Gardner High School, leaving at the age of 16 years.

In 1975, Joyce worked for the Education Office and in 1980, she travelled abroad and worked for a short time in the Hilton International (Munich) Hotel. In 1981 she transferred to the London Hotel and became the Assistant Executive Manager before leaving in 1988 to have a family. Thereafter, her career included various part time jobs before joining North Tyneside Libraries in 1996, where she eventually rose to the position of Senior Library Assistant. Joyce has been twice seconded to the Local Studies Department where she has gained an extensive knowledge of the history of the local area.

Nik Hanlon - Treasurer

Nik Hanlon – Treasurer

As well as being Treasurer of the North Shields Fishermen’s Heritage Project, Nik is also the Managing Director of North Shields Fish Quay Company Ltd.

Nik and his team are responsible for the smooth running of all aspects of fisheries life at North Shields. Whether it be providing 24 hour berthing and landing facilities for the fleet, ice and chill storage for boats and merchants, operating the famous North Shields Fish Market alongside Caley Fisheries, or transporting fisheries products over Europe, they have it covered.

Nik began his life in fisheries as a Marine Enforcement Officer/British Sea Fishery Officer with the Marine Management Organisation back in 2009, immediately realising that he had a passion for the sea as a whole, but particularly for the fishing industry. His role would see him operate out of North Shields, covering fishing ports from Berwick down to Redcar; as well as carrying out at sea patrols in the North North Sea, Southern North Sea and English Channel with the Royal Navy. He was the lead sea-going Fishery Officer out of North Shields and found boarding vessels at sea to be the most enjoyable aspect of the job.

Nik became the manager of North Shields Fish Quay Company in March 2014, and enjoys the challenges that come with running a vibrant and busy fishing port, with no two days ever being the same in his job. He looks forward to ensuring that North Shields continues to be England’s premier North Sea fishing port long into the future.

Away from work Nik’s main passions are playing and watching football, the occasional round of golf, and spending time with family and friends.