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The Watch House

The Watch House has been the home of the brigade since 1866 and holds memories of many wrecks and rescues. Some of these wrecks are recorded below:


At 9.00 a.m. on the morning of 26th March 1898 this Norwegian barque got into difficulties while entering the Tyne. Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigadesmen acted promptly and got a line across the vessel. The first of eight crewmen was brought ashore within half an hour of the alarm being sounded.


At ten in the evening of 20th October 1894 the storm wrecked this brigantine behind the North Pier. Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade were quickly on the scene and rescued six seamen.

First of May

Being struck by heavy seas crossing the bar, "First of May" was driven aground in Prior's Haven on the 21st December 1876. She had been making for her home port of Blyth, having left the Thames in ballast. Later in the day there was further tragedy when the "Albion" drifted upon the Spar Hawk.

Hannah and Eleanor

Having left Seaham loaded with coals, this brigantine was driven ashore on the pier rubble in the Haven by hurricane force winds. T.V.L.B. fired a line aboard, but the crew were taken off by the North Shields' lifeboat, "Willie Wouldhave".The wreck happened on 7th February 1883 and many local householders got free coal off the beach.

Light of the Harem

Snow was falling thickly when the schooner "Light of the Harem", drifted helplessly behind the pier on 8th February 1870. Her crew of five did not know what to do when the second rocket line reached them until, by means of shouting and signing T.V.L.B. managed to instruct them over the noise of the storm. All were brought to safety by breeches buoy.


Whilst being towed into the safety of the Tyne, the "Lowestoft's" towline snapped. The barque drifted inside the North Pier where she grounded on the rocky bottom. Several members of the crew saved themselves by climbing into the rigging and jumping on to the North Pier. The remaining crewmen were brought safely ashore by Tynemouth Brigadesmen.


This schooner, having left the Tyne loaded with coal, was disabled by hurricane force winds as she tried to run for cover. She struck the Black Middens on the evening of 13th October 1891. The T.V.L.B. rescued the 5-man crew. Coastguard Hoar was awarded two medals for his bravery. He went to the ship to fetch a man with a broken leg. There is a plaque commemorating the event and it reads: "The Black Middens a once notorious shipping hazard claimed 5 ships in 3 days of blizzards in November 1864."


At eleven o'clock on Christmas Eve morning, 1895, this small brigantine was seen running for the River Tyne to shelter from a force nine gale. At 11.45 a.m. she was almost buried by two huge waves and was down at the stern. Some of the crew were seen up in the rigging but she was hit again and capsized. She washed up under the Spanish Battery and only three of the seven bodies were found and buried in Preston Cemetery.

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