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Tyne and Wear HER(6824): Marsden Grotto Public House - Details

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Marsden Grotto


S Tyneside

Marsden Grotto Public House




Licensed Premises

Public House

Early Modern


Documentary Evidence

In 1782 Jack Bates, an unemployed miner from Allendale, moved to Marsden looking for work. He found the caves hidden within Marsden Bay's limestone cliff face and decided to expand one of them with explosives to create a house for himeslf and his wife. The steps from the cliff top to the beach were said to have been carved by "Jack the Blaster" in 1788. He is said to have made a living from smuggling. He died in 1792 and his wife vacated their cave home. Peter Allan moved into the cave in 1826. He expanded it further finding 18 human skeletons in the process, possibly smugglers. Allan made a two-storey cave with a basic kitchen which he opened as an inn called the Tam O' Shanter, renamed shortly as the Marsden Grotto. The inn was popular with smugglers. High tides flooded the inn in the 1850s and a cliff face collaped in 1864. Peter Allan had died in 1849. The rest of the family left in 1874. The business was taken over by Sidney Milnes Hawkes and the building made sound. It was then sold to Vaux Brewery in 1898. The Grotto included a ballroom, which was popular in the Edwardian era, when visitors travelled to Marsden by boat (no coast road until modern times). It is the only 'cave-bar' in Europe and is said to be the most haunted public house in England. Banging, whispering and screaming have been heard {Kirkup 2009}. LOCAL LIST




<< HER 6824 >> South Tyneside Libraries, 1991, Pictures of Old Marsden - the Village that Vanished, p 18; Rob Kirkup, 2009, Ghostly Tyne and Wear, pages 73-77; SOUTH TYNESIDE LOCAL LIST REVIEW 2011: REFERENCE NUMBER: LSHA/71/SS

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