“ Address: Gunsgreen Quay / Eyemouth / Scotland / TD14 5SD „
One of the places we visited on a recent visit to Eyemouth- we spotted this when we were in another museum and we were advised that it was worth visiting.
**Bit of History..**
The house was built in the 1750s, for brothers David and John Nisbet, who were smugglers from Eyemouth, and designed by John Adam. The brothers brought in tea from Sweden which was highly illegal at the time and so the house was built with large cellar for storing the goods. In 1787 John Nisbet was declared bankrupt and the house was sold by auction. The house was bought by another smuggler and when the buyer died, the house passed to the Minister of Ayton and his wife. The house was never fully lived in and many of the rooms above ground floor were not completed for many years. It passed through several hands until in 1912 a local couple ran it as a bed and breakfast concern. This continued until the 1960s when it was bought by the local council. It is now a local attraction and offers luxury self catering accommodation.
Our visit to the attraction started with entering via the cellar, which even on a very warm day was freezing cold- the lady who worked there told us it had been unbearable in March and I can well believe her!
We were asked if we wanted to try to smuggle some tea through the house and of course we accepted the challenge and after choosing our bag of tea off we went, looking for something hot. We found it in the fire which when we unfolded the curtain led us into a tunnel. As we crawled through, the lights did come on but it was quite disconcerting hearing voices talking to us! It was very narrow getting out of the tunnel but we did manage it and went back into the room to have a look at the varied exhibits and to try the tunnel again! The exhibits included postcards from the 19th century, engravings and sea charts.
Also downstairs was a display based on a famous painting and a scene from the inside of a pub with a man bringing goods from the cellar. The models were lifelike and sized and in the gloom of the cave quite realistic.
Still in the cellar, it was quite dark and at the back was a large screen, constantly showing pictures of smuggling from past to present day. We found a large wooden cupboard containing smuggler dressing up clothes so spent some time trying them on and hiding in the large barrel in true smuggler style.
After this, it was up the stair case where we heard voices again talking to us while we looked for the next clue. There was a small room set out as a cinema with a short presentation of the history of the house- very interesting and just enough information to prevent boredom.
A lady showed us round the large kitchen and told of the story of when the house was a guest house and then took us upstairs to have a look at the rooms for short term rental. What was most fascinating here were the number of hidey holes and tunnels leading to the bottom of the house where the tea would have been dropped.
We did find the chest with our next clue and after a bit of looking around found the chute down which we had to throw our tea. Then, it was back to the cellar to locate our tea and claim our smuggler certificate.
March-October: Saturday and Sunday 11 am till 5pm
April- September: Thursday - Monday 11am till 5pm.
If you visit the boat museum across the water you get a slight reduction on the entrance cost.
The usual charges are:
A really interesting house, and one in which we spent a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. The activities were interactive and Little Miss loved being included in the activities. There was sufficient information about the exhibits without there being overload and the staff were incredibly informative helpful and friendly.
For anyone in this area I would highly recommend a visit.
Thanks for reading.