What is happening in Whitley Bay?

We met Adam, St Mary’s Lighthouse Manager, to discuss to find out more about the HLF-supported project
Two iconic landmarks are the jewels in the crown of Whitley Bay’s seafront regeneration, thanks to National Lottery players.

Spanish City Dome and St Mary’s Lighthouse are integral to the landscape and have been close to the hearts of the community and visitors to the coastal town for decades.

Now, plans are in progress to give them some much-needed care and attention.

Shining a light on St Mary’s Lighthouse

Whether admiring it from the mainland or crossing the causeway at low tide to climb its 137 steps, St Mary’s Lighthouse is a must-see.

For nearly 100 years, the lighthouse helped to guide ships along the hazardous coast, before being superseded by modern technology and becoming non-operational in 1984.

Since then it has served as a centre for visitors to discover its heritage – and to take advantage of the fantastic views of rockpools, wildlife and the coast. However, time and the elements have taken their toll and St Mary’s is in need of restoration.

Adam Kelsey, St Mary’s Lighthouse Manager, said: “To the local community, St Mary’s Lighthouse is not just a building, it is part of where they grew up, to them it’s their lighthouse and we want it to stay that way. A big thank you to all the National Lottery players, without their contribution this project would not be possible.”

A scheme to restore the lighthouse and increase access for the public has already gained initial support from HLF for a £2.7million grant. Plans are currently being developed to apply for the funding.

Dome Sweet Dome

Built in 1910, at its height Spanish City Dome attracted tens of thousands of visitors from across the UK to its ballroom, concert hall and funfair. However in 2000, following a period of decline, the striking building was closed.

It has now been just over a year since a £3.47m National Lottery grant was secured to restore the Dome and reopen it for people and businesses. It held its first public tour earlier this year and an exhibition displayed photos and artefacts uncovered during the works. 

The work is an essential part of North Tyneside Council’s seafront regeneration to boost the local economy and reinvigorate Whitley Bay as a place to visit.

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