The Ship Inn was originally built as a farmhouse in 1688 by a Thomas Mills, for the prominent Mills family of Monkseaton. The building stood slightly to the east of the present Ship Inn, on the site of what is now the junction of Percy Terrace and Lyndhurst Road.
It is likely that the farmhouse was converted to become an ale parlour in the late 1700s.
The inn passed by inheritance to a Mrs Ann Arthur who is recorded as licensee between 1851 and 1855. Subsequent owners and licensees are: 1855 – John Nicholson; 1873 – Joseph Blake; 1876-1887 – Thomas Arkley, 1893 – Mrs Nicholson (widow of John Nicholson who ran the pub in 1855); 1897 – Joseph Potts; 1910 – Elizabeth Robinson.
In 1922, the Old Ship Inn was demolished, to be replaced the following year with the present building, at a cost of £5,100. This was commissioned by the Northumberland Brewery Co. Ltd. (the then owners of Monkseaton Brewery), and the new inn was constructed just a few yards to the west, adjoining Rosebery Terrace. A carved stone plaque above the canopy and door reads: “1688 – Ye Olde Ship Inn. Rebuilt 1923”.
From then until the late 1970s the Ship Inn was, internally, largely untouched and unaltered. As a building, the Ship had a lot of local charm, with many faithful customers who were characters in their own right. It has always been very much a traditional local pub.
On entering the main front door, a corridor led towards the back of the pub. The first door on the left ran into a small bar, which for many years was for men only, and was frequented by a hard core of domino players. Off the corridor to the right, was a Select Room, which was also “Gentlemen Only”. A bell was used to summon a member of staff to come and take your order and return to the table with the drinks. At the end of this corridor, a small lobby led to the toilets with another corridor to the left, which linked with the Lounge Bar, also served by a member of staff taking orders at the tables. A small Sitting Room ran off to the right.
Back outside, the corner door led into a small Off-Sales shop, and a door at the side led directly into the Lounge Bar. When the pub underwent alterations during the 1970s, this door was bricked up and replaced with a window. The window of the Off-Sales shop was also removed and replaced with two smaller windows to match the rest of the frontage and, apart from minor cosmetic changes, these are the only external features which have changed since the Ship was built.
Internally, the main corridor disappeared, and along with the Select Room became an extension of the bar. The small Sitting Room became the ladies toilets, and the Off-Sales shop was altered to combine with the Lounge Bar, and renamed “The Captain’s Cabin”.
Perhaps some of the best known and longest-serving managers since the 1960s were: Stan Graham; Percy and Moira Young; Joyce Eaton-Hall and the present manager, Fred Turnbull, a former professional footballer who played for Aston Villa.
by Charlie Steel © 2011
Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, local historian Charlie Steel has lived almost all of his life in Monkseaton. His books “Monkseaton and Hillheads” and “Inns and Taverns of North Shields” are published by Tempus and are available in all good book shops.
All Charlie’s articles which are featured in Roundabout Monkseaton can also be found on his website www.monkseaton.info. Charlie also writes articles for Roundabout Tynemouth.
If you have any old pictures or photographs of Monkseaton that you would like to share then please e-mail Charlie at firstname.lastname@example.org.