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Tyne and Wear HER(17802): Cullercoats, C17 pier or quay - Details

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N Tyneside

Cullercoats, C17 pier or quay




Water Transport Site


Post Medieval


Physical Evidence

Between 1676 and 1681 structures are built at a cost of over £3000, to export coal from Whitley Colliery through the port of Cullercoats. Lady Elizabeth Percy and the owners of Whitley Colliery provided the funds. The waggonway (HER 15332) terminated at a quay. In July 1677 Lady Percy wrote that "Caller Coates [is] fitt to erect a key to export her own coales and the coales of the neighbouring collieryes". Two labourers were killed during the construction of this quay, one by the falling down of a beacon pole, the other whilst "taking down ye bank". In the late 17th century the port of Cullercoats was described as a pier where vessels enter at high water to load coals, and lie dry at low water. Entry to the port was through rocks. By 1694, 23,000 tons of coal had been shipped from Cullercoats. In October 1709 or 1710 a storm destroyed the pier, razing it to the ground. A 1782 plan of Cullercoats by Elias Dunford, Captain of Engineers, shows an 'Old Pier Destroyed'. In 1816 a surveyor researching a dispute between the Duke of Northumberland and a landowner in Whitley interviewed Cullercoats inhabitants about the "old piles" he could see along the shoreline. Some of these piles were apparently still visible in the 1850s, as they are shown on John Henry Mole's painting of the north beach of Cullercoats 1853. Kelvin Wilson, an archaeological illustrator, noticed a wide channel (? For berthing boats), a long narrow ?drainage channel and a regular pattern of large square postholes cut into the rock. These are clearly visible on Google Earth and on site at low tide. In July 2019 archaeologist Colm O'Brien and a group of local volunteers accurately recorded the position of the wide channel and the postholes using GPS.




Kelvin Wilson, illustrator archeologie, 2 October 2018, letter to Newcastle City Council; Greenville Collins, 1679-1693, Great Britain's Coasting-Pilot, map of Collar Coates; Elias Dunford, Captain of Engineers, May 1782, Coastal Survey (National Archives Kew); Mr. Dunn's Diary, 15 August 1816 (Northumberland Archives, Woodhorn), includes a text and an eye sketch of Cullercoats; Ordnance Survey first edition, 1858; John Henry Mole, 1853, watercolour of north beach of Cullercoats; Google Earth 2018; Colm O'Brien, Karl Lowther, Edward Gibney, Rebecca Pedley, July 2019, GPS survey

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