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Tyne and Wear HER(2214): Tynemouth, Pier Road, Volunteer Life Brigade Watch House - Details

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Old Life Brigade Watch Station, Tynemouth


N Tyneside

Tynemouth, Pier Road, Volunteer Life Brigade Watch House




Watch House

Early Modern


Extant Building

The Volunteer Life Brigade Watch House, Tynemouth. This Life Brigade was the first in the country to be formed, founded in 1864 by Joseph and John Foster Spence after the 'Stanley' was wrecked on the Black Middens. Its purpose was to save lives by firing rocket-borne lines and breeches buoy to shipwrecks. The Black Midden rocks in the Tyne were the cause of much loss of life. The Watch House was built in 1886 and is still in use for its original purpose and also contains a small museum. By C.T. Gomoszynski, Borough Engineer. Weatherboarding on painted rendered plinth. Right return has painted brick chimney stack. Welsh slate roof with wood finials and ventilator. H-plan. One storey flanked by left and right towers. Sash windows. Rear elevation has 4-panelled door. Sliding storm shutters. Listed mainly for historic interest. The museum displays artefacts, pictures and figureheads from shipwrecks including those from 'The Light of the Harem', a schooner which sank on 8 Feb 1870, 'First of May; which sank on 21 Dec 1876, 'Hannah and Eleanor', a brigantine which sank on 7 Feb 1883, 'Peggy' a schooner which sank on 13 October 1891, 'Fame' a brigantine, 20 Oct 1894, 'Rupert', brigantine, 24 Dec 1895 and 'The Diamant', Norwegian barque, 26 March 1898.




<< HER 2214 >> I.M. Ayris, & S.M. Linsley, 1994, The Industrial Archaeology of Tyne and Wear, p.27; Dept. of National Heritage, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, 10/109; North Tyneside Council and Nexus, North Shields Heritage Trail, board 11 'Black Middens'

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