Pier Parliament

— #1 Fishmarket

Overview Open Air Fish Market The Building Fish Auctions Working Fishwives Pier Parliament The Police Box
2_5035 The retired or infirm fishermen of Newhaven would gather ate the gates of the Fishmarket to sort out the cares of the world.
2_5020LR Eventually, a shelter was built for their improved comfort. The group became known locally as the Pier Parliament
2_5023: 4 Worthies left to right Jim Oalens(?). don't know name of next but 3rd is Old Braggy and the fourth is Joe Wood.
2_6006 A second group of fishermen, who mostly lived near New Lane, would gather at its foot near the Hally to pass the time of day.

When I was a laddie I hae tae agree,
My mind was aye taen wi’ the things o’ the sea.
We lived in Newhaven in old times gone by,
And I aye went tae Mason’s tae buy a Scotch pie.

I’d walk doon the pier where ma face wis weel kent
By the auld men sitting there doon at Pier Parliament.
There were nae fancy benches, or ony such like –
They jist sat on a fish box in the lee o’ the dyke,

As I listened tae tales a’ wis aye sae inspired,
Aboot their days going tae sea afore they retired.
They were Listons and Rutherfords, Wilsons and all,
Davie Brand roon the Hally an’ ma pal Wattie Hall,

Birnie and Moody, and Eustace as well.
It wad tak a full book for their stories tae tell.
Frank Alexander, wha looked sae resplendent,
In charge o’ the market — the ‘Superintendent’.

In the 70s and 80s, it’s sad fer tae say,
That maist o’ they auld freends hae a’ passed away,
But many continued an’ each yin wis fair,
And they let Benny Kemp sit doon on a chair.

There wis Bulky and Woody, and Pete wi’ the stick,
And auld Gavin Swanson frae Thurso or Wick.
All fine ancient worthies wha made up the group,
Bob Hannah, George Barnett and auld Jimmy Troup.

Then they pulled doon the hooses whaur they aw use tae sit,
An’ the people frae Parliament near aw had tae flit.
Noo there’s fine wooden benches that dae very well,
Fir a group o’ auld worthies wi’ mair tales tae tell.

But it’s sad tae report ah wiz doon there last year,
An a sat oan the bench at the heid o’ the pier
But there wiz never a sight or a sound frae the past,
So it looks like the Parliament’s finished at last.

Noo a hope thit am wrong, they might rake through the embers
An’ maybe come up wi’ a dozen new members.

 with thanks to Ian Sinclair (circa 2005)
2_5021 It was the habit for older Newhaven fishermen were accustomed to gathering at the harbour to sort the cares of the world .

Newhaven Bynames

In the close-knit society of Newhaven, some surnames were commonplace to which further confusion was added with  the patronymic naming system that was traditional in Scotland. The convention was to name the children in order of birth and according to gender with the grand-paternal and then grand-maternal Christian names.

The way to make clear who was being referred to was to use nicknames, or bynames as they were known locally.
Here are just some of the more unusual ones —

Big Sugar
Moon man
Wee Brannie
Capt Bluff
Old Sprugs
Teeny Tiger
Golly Me
Hands and knees
Tammy Tatty
Maggie Pie
Tam Soup
Maggy Perhaps
Dab eyes
Big Steaks
Pie Davy
Whisky Walker
Jocky Push
Watson the Prophet
Dittie Lamie
P Wull
Jock Haffi
The GeneralPodge
Daddy Mac
Hans Me Danse
Big Tam Backends
Tricky Tacky
Wee Birrel
Wee Daddy
Johny Dabber
Doddy Pacey
Peggy Printer
Wullie Pinny
Jimmy Oular
Hackin’ boots
Sun Moulder
Paraffin oil
Big Spread
Pippy Heartbreak
Black Wull
Mary Brickie
The Duchess
The Baron
Yum Yum
Wee Wee
Coconut Tam