578661:St Mary's Lighthouse Whitley Bay 1991


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  • Matthew Blake on March 5, 2015, 5:09 p.m.

    I interview my mum for this project. Here are the questions and answers.

    Why is this place special to you? – Whitley Bay Lighthouse
    It is a location that I spent a lot of time at with your dad, we enjoyed some lovely walks, when we first got together. We chose it as a location for some of our wedding photos but nearly didn’t get the photos, they were taken late afternoon/early evening later than originally planning and I am so pleased we did this as they are full of atmosphere.

    Do you have any other memories of time at St Mary’s lighthouse?
    As a child I remember taking trips to the beach from Cramlington where we lived, I loved to explore the rocks with my younger brother.
    When at school in Whitley Bay I have not so fond memories of the lighthouse as we had to run to the lighthouse and back to school as part of PE lessons.
    We were lucky enough to receive a calendar of photos from your uncle and December is St Mary’s Lighthouse.

    Has the lighthouse changed much since you were my age?
    From the outside the lighthouse looks the same as it did when I was little, maybe a little whiter as is has been painted over the years. Inside though is different as it is now a visitor centre located within the lighthouse rather than a working lighthouse. Ramps have been installed to make it accessible to wheelchairs.

    Do you know anything about the history of the lighthouse?
    The lighthouse was built in 1898 and remained operation until 1984, since then it has been a visitor centre. In 1977 in was converted to electrical light. In 2012 the lighthouse was given Grade II listed status. The causeway that is covered leaving the lighthouse an island half of the time was constructed in 1929, prior to that the lighthouse was reached by stepping stones.
    As part of this project I did a bit of research myself and learnt that the lighthouse was built on the site of an 11th-century monastic chapel and the monks maintained a lantern on the tower to warn passing ships of the danger of the rocks.

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Co-Curate is a project which brings together online collections, museums, universities, schools and community groups to make and re-make stories and images from North East England and Cumbria. Co-Curate is a trans-disciplinary project that will open up 'official' museum and 'un-officia'l co-created community-based collections and archives through innovative collaborative approaches using social media and open archives/data.