The riverside area of the oldest part of North Shields. The ‘Low Town’ refers to the settlement that grew up along the river, between the Low Lights in the east and the Bull Ring in the west. There were over 100 inns and taverns in ‘Low Town’, many notorious in their day and described as ‘dirty seedy drinking dens of vice and intemperance, where drunkenness and prostitution where commonplace and many immoral schemes were plotted’.
Maitland’s Quay is a section of quayside on the old North Shields waterfront behind Bell Street, running from Maitland’s Lane to Mullin’s quay. The bustling waterfront provided the inspiration for a number of local artists.
The many sketches of North Shields by William Henry Charlton provide an invaluable record of the town and the river over a century ago. Born in Newcastle in 1846, Charlton revisited North Shields many times over a period of more than a decade, serving as a testament to the vibrancy of this busy, working port and the inspiration he drew from it.