“ Coast Road / Whitburn / Sunderland / SR6 7NH / Tel-0191 529 3161. „
Please ignore...duplicated. I have already written a review on Souter lighthouse and this has been posted in error. Good place to visit but previous review was written weeks ago. Please ignore and don't rate. Please ignore and don't rate. Please ignore and don't rate. Please ignore and don't rate. Please ignore and don't rate. Please ignore and don't rate. Please ignore and don't rate. Please ignore and don't rate. Please ignore and don't rate. Please ignore...duplicated. I have already written a review on Souter lighthouse and this has been posted in error. Good place to visit but previous review was written weeks ago. Please ignore and don't rate. Please ignore and don't rate. Please ignore and don't rate. Please ignore and don't rate. Please ignore and don't rate. Please ignore and don't rate. Please ignore and don't rate. Please ignore and don't rate. Please ignore and don't rate. Thanks
Whitburn Village is located on the North East coast two miles south of South Shields and three miles north of Sunderland; it is a lovely village, winner of the Britain in Bloom award and one of the outlying villages in South Tyneside. Just off the coast from Whitburn there is an underwater reef called Whitburn Steel and in the past the reef has sunk many ships. At one time the locals used to site false lights to lure ships on to the rocks so that they could recover the cargo. As the towns around the area grew and prospered shipping increased in the area and something had to be done to combat both human and natural hazards for shipping, it was decided to build a lighthouse at Souter Point on the north boundary of Whitburn. Souter Lighthouse was designed by James Douglas and when it opened in January 1871 it was the first in the world to be powered by electricity and flashed a white light for five seconds every thirty seconds. Originally the foghorns were shaped like clay pipes but they were later changed to a more efficient design and were powered by compressed air at sixty pounds per square inch. The foghorns were switched on when visibility dropped to below two miles or when the lights on South Shields and Sunderland piers could not be seen. The sound of the foghorns must have been deafening for people living close by, as a child I lived about four miles (as the crow flies) from Souter Point and I can still remember clearly hearing the foghorns, especially during the night when it was so quiet outside. Souter Lighthouse closed in 1988 however it still serves a useful purpose as a Radio navigation beacon. Since its closure the Lighthouse has been taken over by the National Trust and has been renovated. It has been repainted red and white hoops but it has been discovered that the original colours were orange and white hoops so this will eventually be rectified. Souter Lighthouse is open to the public and tours include a visit to the Engin
e Room where you will find the machinery that powered both the light and foghorn, detailed manuals describing the workings of the Lighthouse, children’s activities and puzzles to help youngsters understand the importance of lighthouses and hold their interest plus short easy to understand descriptions of the machinery. In the Compass Room you get a feel of what life was like for Keepers of the Lighthouse, there are also displays of shipwrecks, smuggling and piracy, a variety of navigational equipment, a model boat where children are encouraged to do a spot of role play and dress up and the workings of the Lighthouse are also explained with the aid of videos. If you have a head for heights you can climb the seventy-six steps to the top of the tower to enjoy the spectacular panoramic views of the coastline from the mouth of the River Tyne right down the coast to the mouth of the River Tees, the sight is magnificent taking in The Leas, the rugged cliffs and sandy beaches, as well as the changing moods of the North Sea down below. Those who don’t fancy the climb to the top of the tower can enjoy the same view without leaving the Compass Room on the ground floor, there a is remote controlled CCTV camera in the tower operated from the Compass Room where the monitor is located, this is particularly useful to people with disabilities. You can also look around the Lighthouse Keeper’s cottage where authentic displays of rooms have been reconstructed behind glass screens and enjoy the home made refreshments on sale in Souter’s own tearoom. After looking around the Lighthouse take a walk along The Leas, this is a wide grassy sweep, which follows the cliff top and stretches for nearly two miles north along the coast past Marsden Bay and Trow Rocks down to Gypsy Green Stadium, after the Stadium you come to South Shields promenade with a elevated walkway giving excellent views along the beach, the Amphitheatre
hosting a variety of summer entertainments, the Fun Fare, a Tourist Information Centre and the South Pier. Visit Souter Lighthouse and enjoy a day of fun and education for young and old alike, taking in wonderful scenic walks, quiet coves, golden sands and mile upon mile of outstanding natural beauty. Facilities at Souter Lighthouse National Trust Shop Education Officer and Education Base Tearoom with indoor and outdoor facilities Wheelchair access to ground floor Disabled toilets Braille guide CCTV enables those unable to climb the tower to see the views from the top. Special Event Days include children’s activity days, educational visits, local history society days, group talks, guided tours including the Leas, Christmas lunches and summer specials. Opening Times 31ST March through to 31st October daily except Fridays, 11.00am to 5.00pm – last entry 4.30pm Admission Charges Adult £3, Child (under seventeen) £1.50, Family Ticket £7.50, National Trust Members Free. Telephone Souter Lighthouse on 0191 529 3161 Information Line 01670 773966 Website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk Email: email@example.com Getting there The Lighthouse is situated two miles south of South Shields on the A183 Coast Road to Sunderland. The road runs parallel to the Two Rivers Cycle Path. Stagecoach buses running from South Shields Metro Station to Sunderland Railway Station stop at the main gate of Souter Lighthouse (sorry not sure of the number of the bus).
OK, so the joke would have worked better if I was called Alice. Or indeed if anyone on my trip had been called Alice. But how else was I going to convince anyone they wanted to read about a lighthouse in Sunderland??? Yes, I know what you're all thinking - I wasn't especially excited about the prospect of visiting Souter Lighthouse at first either, but trust me, this is a surprisingly good day out. I visited Souter last November with a small group of people from my museums course - it was out of season, so we had the place to ourselves and the undivided attention of the (very very nice) property manager (thanks Nick, much appreciated!). Souter Lighthouse is owned by the National Trust and is one of only two lighthouses that they currently run (the other being South Foreland in Kent). I couldn't help but think what a good job that man had - imagine getting to work in a lighthouse! The lighthouse is situated on part of the Leas, a stretch of beautiful coastline (also owned by the NT) at Whitburn, just north of Sunderland - I have to admit, that after seeing much of the unlovely urban surroundings of Tyne and Wear, I was pleasantly surprised about how gorgeous this setting was (even on a windswept November day). I would highly recommend making a day trip of your visit so you can include a walk along the beaches around here. The lighthouse itself is painted with red and white stripes and to be honest looks like something out of Captain Pugwash! It has been open since 1871, when it was the most advanced lighthouse in the world, being the first to use electric light. I have heard many visitors remark on how friendly this NT property is and how enthusiastic the volunteers are - I will have to take their word for this, seeing as none were there when I visited. I was still able to get a good impression that this is a family friendly place though, with every effort made to appeal to children as well as adults. For your entrance
fee, you get to visit the engine room, compass room, a reconstruction of a Victorian lighthouse keeper's cottage and get a view from the top of the tower (as well as the obligatory tea room and shop of course!) The engine room, as the name suggests, is where the machinery that powered the foghorn and light is preserved. All major bits of kit are labelled with short, non-techie labels to help the mechanically challenged among us appreciate what went on here. There are further detailed manuals for those who want to know more, as well as puzzles and activities to get kids thinking about the lighthouse and what it did. Moving on, you come to the compass room, which is the largest part of the lighthouse. The room has been converted into a display area that shows you how lighthouses function, about smuggling, piracy, shipwrecks and what life would have been like for the keepers. There are hands-on activities about semaphore and signalling, games for children about nautical life and a great model boat where kids can get dress up and play (as we did too!). For anyone who cannot climb the 76 steps to the top of the lighthouse, there is a CCTV camera on top whose monitor and control are also in the compass room, so you don't miss out on anything. I personally have no head for heights, so I was quite happy to play with this! This is one feature of the lighthouse has been much applauded by disabled rights activists as it is accessible to everyone - people in wheelchairs, with veritgo, who are not strong enough ot climb the stairs or who are just plain lazy do not miss out on the wonderful views along the coast. :-) In the lighthouse keeper's cottage, you feel more like you are in an NT property, as here you have period room reconstructions. They are all behind glass and while they look well done, I suspect that you would really need the interpretation of the volunteer stewards to fully appreciate and understand them. We were tol
d that one of the keepers had a huge number of children (reaching into double figures) - how on earth they all squeezed into this small cottage is beyond me! There was of course one major disadvantage of visiting out of season - no tearooms. Every NT tearoom I have ever visited has been wonderful, and I cannot tell you how welcome a hot chocolate would have been after that bracing walk along the coast. Still, we were all very appreciative for the doubtless busy manager to take the time and trouble to show us round and answer our questions, and even put up with the muddy footprints we left on his nice clean floor. Top marks for excellent staff and a friendly welcome. If you are interested in visiting Souter Lighthouse yourself, it is 3 miles north of Sunderland on the A183 - it can be reached by bus (shocking, I know) from Sunderland and South Shields. It opened for Feb half term, but will be open properly from March 23rd to November 3rd daily except Fridays (11am to 5pm, last entry 4.30pm). Special events (talks, guided tours around the Leas, Christmas lunches, children's activity days) are held throughout the year - the information line is on 01670 773966, and the lighthouse can be contacted on 0191 529 3161. Alternatively, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Entry to Souter is £3 for adults, £1.50 for child (5 - 17), free for NT members. Wheelchair access for the ground floor and Braille guides available.
The world's first electric lighthouse.