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Cambois, Northumberland

Cambois Miners Welfare Institute

Last Updated:

17 May 2024

Cambois, Northumberland

This is a


55.145736, -1.521199

Founded in 


Current status is


Designer (if known):


Now home to the Tute, a community charity

Cambois is wonderful, and the cherry on its cake is the Miners Welfare institute nestled in its polychromatic terrace.

It opened in 1929, and was the fourth miners institute in the village. The first was in a one roomed miners cottage at Gees Houses which was a terrace between here and the school. This was replaced in 1872 with a building closer to the colliery and the Primitive Methodist Chapel otherwise known as the "Beach Chapel".

The third stood on this spot, and opened 1904. The cost was around £2000, with Lord Ridley providing the land at a discounted price. He was actually due to open it but fell Ill on the day. The Cowpen Coal Co. donated 10,000 bricks and featured every amenity you would expect from an institute. Mr T Tulip of Blyth designed the building, who did much of his work for the Urban District Council.

The 1904 build suffered from a dramatic fire in the 1920s. This was only a short time after an additional wind was erected at a cost of £2000, adding kitchens and a dining room lined with oak fittings and capacity for fifty persons. They were provided through the Welfare Fund at a cost of £2000. The fire occurred in the July of 1928, raging for over 6 hours leading to help required from fire brigades at Blyth and the Ashington detachment of the Durham & Northumberland Collieries' fire brigade. Only the burnt out shell of the building remained with the valuable library of music belonging to the Colliery Workmens Bank destroyed, the village Roll of Honour and the records of the Cambois Lifeboat Station which was then closed. The absence of an adequate water supply hampered efforts to save the building, and the tide too low to pump water from the river. Water from the Cambois Colliery pit pond had to be used through 500 yards of hose. The cause was apparently the fusing of an electric cable in the roof over the new extension.

It reopened fairly hastily in 1929, with an informal opening. It was reconstructed to modern standards with some of the cost covered by insurance. The building we see today were constructed by Mr J T Pringle who was the engineer of the Cowpen Coal Co. The building consists of a large central corridor with a large billiards room, a library and news room, committee room, a 200 seater meeting room as well as the other expected facilities. The staircases were made fireproof.

Institutes like these were to built to provide a social centre for what was then an industrial village. This was a library and a club all in one with room for billiards, draughts, cards and chess. There was a smoke room and lecture hall also, and films were also shown here.

The building is now occupied by The Tute, a local arts and community driven charity:

Listing Description (if available)

The Ordnance Survey maps show Cambois between the 1920s and 1940s. The institute stood opposite the club on the right hand of both.

This is when Cambois was at its greatest extent, with terraces sandwiched between the coastline and the railway to Cambois West Staithes. Despite the relative small scale of the village it featured any amenity you'd expect from a pit village - the institute, clubs, school, multiple churches, and a football ground down the road.

This is the site of the institute well before its relocation and construction at the turn of the century. At this time, Cambois exactly only as a small settlement at the mouth of the Wansbeck, but expanded as a pit village thanks to the colliery. This area was reserved only for the Link House, a rural cottage, and a road to North Blyth which featured a few small industries, pubs and dwellings.


The Institute in 2024.


The Institute shown amongst Unity Terrace, one of the last surviving rows in this part of Cambois.


The frontage of the institute in 2024.

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