Fast Search

You are Here: Home / Cullercoats, Victoria Crescent, Cliff House

Tyne and Wear HER(7084): Cullercoats, Victoria Crescent, Cliff House - Details

Back to Search Results


N Tyneside

Cullercoats, Victoria Crescent, Cliff House






Post Medieval


Extant Building

House, 1768, with C19 alterations. It was built by Captain Thomas Armstrong, a Customs Officer and originally known as "Bank Top House". Armstrong was the commander of His Majesty's Cutter "Bridlington" a customs vessel which patrolled the seas from Newcastle to Sunderland. The house has a huge cellar with wrought iron bars separating prison type cells. By 1771 the cellar was being used to store smuggled goods and the smugglers! Clearly Armstrong paid for this grand Georgian house through his life of crime! Armstrong was charged and convicted of allowing smugglers to escape. In 1776 Armstrong was dismissed from his job when he allowed two notorious smugglers to escape. There is a secret passage in the house accessed by a trapdoor in the study which leads down through the cliff and onto the beach. The entrance on the beach is now blocked by the sea defence walls which were built in the 1960s. The house was sold to Harry Hewitson in 1837. The house was merged with an adjoining cottage dating to 1720 and another cottage of 1840. In 1846 Robert Arkwright bought the house for his wife Fanny. The Duke of Devonshire was a frequent visitor to Cliff House. His bedroom at Cliff House is said to be similar to bedrooms at his ancestral home at Chatsworth, Derbshire, with panelling and bedposts made from narwhal tusks. LISTED GRADE 2*




Archaeological Services University of Durham, 2005, Cliff House, Cullercoats - desk-top assessment and building survey; History of Northumberland, Victoria County Histories Vol VIII pp 280-4; W.W. Tomlinson, 1893, Historical Notes on Cullercoats, Whitley and Monkseaton; R. Wright, 2002, The People's History - Cullercoats; Department of National Heritage, List of Buildings of Special Architectural and Historic Interest, 5/140; North Tyneside Council, 2009, Cullercoats Conservation Area Draft Character Appraisal

Back to Search Results