Wednesday, 5 October 2011

CULLERCOATS

The seaside village of Cullercoats, which has latterly become absorbed into the conurbations of neighbouring Tynemouth and Whitley Bay, was deemed by the American artist Wilson Homer to be picturesque enough to warrant a two-year stay. While there he captured the traditional life of the local fishing folk in paintings such as "Mending The Nets". Another charming painting of the village was by John Davison Liddell, born in North Shields, who named the work simply “Cullercoats”. There is a distinctive little building in the village called The Watch House, built for the Volunteer Life Brigade, which was where the people of the village congregated to watch for the return of their seafaring folk. Another architectural relic from the old days of fishing is a row of fishermen’s cottages which were preserved during the redevelopment of the village in the 1970s. North Tyneside Libraries has a website about the village with some lovely old photographs of the village and its people, as well as its history and memoirs of the locals. As well as fishing, the harbour here owed its existence to coal, which was extracted in a primitive type of mine called a “bell pit”, the coal being extracted with a bucket, similar to the way water is drawn from a well. As early as the 17th century, Lady Elizabeth Percy had a quay built for the export of the coal produced by her own and neighbouring collieries. The present-day Cullercoats has a small but perfectly formed sandy beach popular with families.

Map of the area.

'Cullercoats Harbour' photo (c) 2009, KarlOnSea - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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