The harbour at Seaham was built in the early 19th century as an outlet for the local mining industry, and the modern town grew around it, while to the north is the old village with its Saxon Church of St Mary with a 13th-century font and a 16th-century pulpit. The church is reckoned to be one of the oldest surviving churches in the country. The beach at Seaham is wide and sandy, and there is a clifftop promenade. The harbour has an intricate design, with a series of interconnecting locks. Seaham Hall was home to Anne Isabella Milbanke, who no doubt shattered the dreams of many a young woman when she managed to bag Lord Byron. Their nuptials took place in 1815 in the Hall’s drawing-room. The Hall is now a luxury hotel. There were three collieries at Seaham, but they went the way of the other collieries in the area, due to the twin evils of the Conservative Party’s vendetta against the mines and their unions and cheap competition from Eastern Europe. The local economy was devastated as a result. However, there have been valiant attempts at regeneration, with the Turning The Tide programme leading to this coastline being designated a Heritage Coast. In 2002 the project won an award jointly with Cornwall’s Eden Project.
Map of the area.