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Billy Mill, Rifle Range

55.016153, -1.475677

North Shields







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Last Updated:

23 Nov 2023

Tynemouth Rifle Club

HER Description

NEHL - A rifle range was set up in the old Billy Mill Quarry in the 1880s. The site had been used for quarrying for at least 90 years prior, but came out of use after the 1860s. The site is an interesting one, with a stone coffin and "perfect" skeleton being found at the site in 1790.

The rifle range was used by the Tynemouth Artillery Volunteers in the 1880s, with carbine competitions taking place at this time. It continued to be in regular use through the turn of the century, with the range being the home of drills and target practices 4 days a week.

Competitions were also held here intra-regiment and beyond. The "Donkin Cup" took place in 1906 within the Tynemouth Volunteers, but other VA's were also invited for competition. The 1st Newcastle Volunteer Artillery played a return fixture here in 1901.

The Tynemouth Rifle Club went on to use these grounds in the 1910s, alongside a range at Nile Street. The reason given was to provide an open air setting. Annual shoots were also held here by the A Company of the 6th Northumberland Fusiliers in the 1910s, with the winner receiving the Quayside Challenge Cup.

The quarry ceased use around the 1920s. It became a refuse tip, then was mooted to be a piggery/allotments. It was later covered over and is now school grounds.

Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey, 1897

'Sketches of The Coal Mines in Northumberland and Durham' T.H.Hair, published in 1844

The quarry can be seen in the centre of this shot. Unknown date. Source: Historic England Archive (RAF photography) Historic England Photograph: raf_106g_uk_1193_rs_4263 flown Unknown

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'Sketches of The Coal Mines in Northumberland and Durham' T.H.Hair, published in 1844

A second angle of the quarry in 1947. Source: Historic England. Aerofilms Collection Historic England Photograph: EAW010284 flown 24/08/1947

Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

HER information as described above is reproduced under the basis the resource is free of charge for education use. It is not altered unless there are grammatical errors. 


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