Ye Old Tuck Shop

Those of faint heart should avoid entering this shop between 12 noon and 2 p.m. And between 3.30 p.m. And 4.30 p.m., since these are the times during which dozens of pupils from the high school call to spend their pocket money.

The proprietors of this wonderful little shop must have nerves of steel to be able to cope with this twice-daily invasion. However, it was not always as hectic as this because, over 160 years ago, the building started life as THE FOXHUNTERS INN and was a stopping-off place for travellers on their way to and from North Shields and Whitley. It is almost certainly one of the four public houses mentioned in parson and whites "Durham and Northumberland" of 1828 and probably took its name from the fox hunts which would pause there to allow the members to drink from their stirrup cups early in the nineteenth century. The first recorded landlord was Thomas Craig who ran the inn in 1827 but, for the 50 or so years before it closed, the tenancy was held by one family. Robert Nesbitt took over the inn from William Pringle in 1892 and, when he died, his widow carried on. She later married Thomas Potts of Preston Grange Farm, whose name went above the door until the death of his wife. The tenancy passed to the son-in-law of Mrs. Potts (Nesbitt), Robert Storey who was unfortunately killed in a motor accident outside the inn in 1927. His wife, Jane A. Storey retained the tenancy until the licence was transferred to the new Foxhunters Inn at Preston Gate on the 6th June 1939. Some years later the building, after undergoing a facelift, re-opened as as a sweet shop and as been known as the Tuck Shop ever since.

As we move a few yards south from the Tuck Shop we approach the double gates which are the entrance to the grounds of Preston Cottage.