Last Updated:

20 Jul 2020

Cullercoats Harbour

Cullercoats, North Tyneside

55.034986, -1.430740

This is a

Harbour

Founded in 

17th Century

Current status is

Extant

4076554724_b6df6c95d4.jpg

Structures still remain though the harbour is not used commercially

'Cullercoats Harbour used to be a salt and coal harbour - these operations had ceased by the mid-18th century. A wooden pier was built in 1677.

Cullercoats Port was put under the charge of the Custom House Officer at Blyth when permission was granted for the export of coal from the pier, which had been built by the partners of Whitley Colliery (Thomas Dove, John Carr, John Rogers and Henry Hudson) and Lady Elizabeth Percy, heiress of the 11th Earl of Northumberland. Between 1681 and 1688 Captain Granville Collins in his yacht "Merlin" made a survey of the coast of Britain published as "Great Britain's Coasting Pilot".

"Collar Coates" is described as "a pier where vessels enter at high water and to load coals and lie dry at low water. The going in of this place is between several rocks. The way in is beacon'd". In 1710 the wooden pier was damaged in a storm. Trade from Cullercoats was stifled following the Jacobean Uprising of 1715 when Papists and Quakers (Cullercoats residents being largely Quakers) were kept under surveillance. In 1723-4 78 vessels left Cullercoats harbour with coal, and in 1724 758 tons of salt was shipped from Cullercoats, in ships like the "St Michael" of London. The "Fortune" left Cullercoats with 21 tons of salt in 1726. Oats and wool were also exported in ships like the "George and John".

The harbour's prosperity came to an end when the colleries closed by 1724 and the salt pans moved to Blyth in 1725. Despite its small size, Cullercoats Harbour had its own registered sailing ships. The "Triton" was lost in 1755 en route to Hamburg. The master, George Heslop was lost, but the crew were rescued.

Cullercoats fishing village was noted for its "fisherwomen" who sold fish from baskets in the surrounding countryside when the boats came home. There is a photograph in Atkinson 1980.'

- Sitelines

Both maps above illustrate Cullercoats Harbour in the second half of the 19th century. The first, from 1865, shows Cullercoats as a quiet and isolated village on the coast. The wave breaking harbour walls had been in situ for at least a decade by this point (no wall is illuatrated on Carmichael's painting of 1845 below), and much of its industry had moved northwards except for a minor fishing trade. Cullercoats was primarily one main street, with a back lane and a number of small cottages on the bank top, some of which remain.

The village of Cullercoats Bay had grown considerably by 1898. The railway from Monkseaton had been moved outward to service the village, bring with it a growth in population and sprawl. A south pier had been added by this point also, allowing for greater occupancy of small boats.

By the 1940s Cullercoats was a burgeoning leisure village on the North East Coast. Its industrial life had lapsed, though its life as a middle class friendly genteel resort had begun. A number of parks, lookouts etc are in construction, and the Dove Marine Laboratory is operating. A huge expansion of the village is underway on the other side of the railway as the dominating resort of Whitley Bay has enveloped Cullercoats by this point.

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'Cullercoats from the South' by John Wilson Carmichael, 1845. This painting is from the perspective of Tynemouth North Point, and shows Cullercoats Bay before its piers in the mid 19th century. There is a signal post as mentioned on the first OS edition shown next to the ballast hill, and many of the cottages can be seen against the clifftop.

Retrieved from Wiki

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Photograph of the harbour, undated. The scene is pretty familiar to that of the present day, and the Dove Marine Laboratory can be seen in the centre of the image. a huge number of small rowing boats are lined across the bay, and by this point the area was a growing tourist destination for Tyneside folk, hence the number of people on the beanch. The image will likely be from the early 1900s.

Retrieved from Co-Curate

4076554724_b6df6c95d4.jpg

Photograph of the harbour, 1900. This is another perspective of the harbour facing the north pier. There are a number of people sorting fish on the bay, as the rowing boats can be seen alongside. Many of the folk seen are fishwives, who are noted to have caught the train at Cullercoats with baskets of fish on their heads and take them to Newcastle to be sold on.

Retrieved from Newcastle Libraries

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