St Mary Lighthouse, Whitley Bay - February 2017

3rd February 2017

Beaumont Brown Architects are working with North Tyneside Council to realise their ambition to restore the Grade II St Mary’s Lighthouse and former Keepers’ Cottages on Bait Island near Whitley Bay.

The Council has received a Round 1 Development Stage Heritage Lottery Fund Grant to develop the proposals and BBA are underway in surveying the site and developing initial proposals to repair the buildings and create a new visitor centre at the cottages.

Designed by Sir Thomas Matthews, engineer-in-chief to the Trinity House Board and built by J Livingstone Miller of Tynemouth and Messrs. J. Tweddle and Co., of Newcastle, provided the ironwork used in its construction.

Construction of the Lighthouse commenced in 1896 and was completed two years later in 1898.

It is 40 metres high (126 feet) and made with 750,000 bricks. It cost £8,000.

126 steps take you to the lantern with panoramic views of the sea. The lighthouse, once illuminated by kerosene and latterly electricity in the 1970’s became redundant due to improved navigational aids such as GPS. In 1984, Trinity House handed ownership to North Tyneside and it reopened as a museum and visitor centre.

A smaller oil lantern from Withernsea Lighthouse has been installed in the lantern room following the removal of the original optic and it is hoped to bring back the original optic and put it on display within the tower.

A medieval chapel occupied the site dedicated to St Helen and so the site has a likely underground archaeological significance. 

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