WOODEN statues known as dollies have been a feature in North Shields since 1815 and this is a history in words and images featuring creative writing by local people. There have been seven in all and this publication marks the 60th anniversary of the unveiling of the dolly in Northumberland Square.
The first wooden dolly was a ship’s figurehead from a collier brig moved from a shipbuilder’s garden to a position on the Custom House Quay where it stood for 36 years. This was followed by further ships’ figureheads in 1850 and 1864. The fourth wooden dolly was the first to be carved for street decoration in 1902 and the fifth, unveiled in 1958, still takes pride of place today in Northumberland Square. The sixth wooden dolly was sculpted from a single block of oak in 1992 and placed at Custom House Quay outside the Prince of Wales Tavern (also known locally as ‘the Wooden Dolly’). The seventh, made in 1993, stands in a beer garden overlooking the Fish Quay and reflects the image of a local fishwife.