TVLB delighted to announce re-opening of award winning Watch House Museum

After we last welcomed visitors on 17th March, it is fantastic to be able to inform you that we have re-opened our award winning Watch House Museum. With its unique collection of maritime history stretching back over 150 years, our volunteers have been working on our re-opening protocols for a number of months, and are delighted to able to welcome the public back into our home.

The Museum Development North East Recovery and Development Grant, funded by Arts Council England and with support from Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, awarded the Brigade funds which have enabled us to purchase the necessary signs and equipment to ensure our museum offers a safe and welcoming experience. As part of our processes, you can find our current risk assessment available to view HERE.

To summarise the key points about a visit to the museum, please note that we have now re-opened with the following conditions in place:

As part our preparations, our volunteers have achieved the ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard and supporting mark. This highlights that the museum has demonstrated that it is adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance and has carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and has relevant processes and training in place. The scheme has been developed in partnership with Tourism Northern Ireland, VisitScotland and Visit Wales to ensure a standard-led approach across the UK.

Our Watch House, which has always been popular with both day visitors and school parties, has also been awarded a Travellers’ Choice certificate from TripAdvisor based on visitor reviews.  Travellers’ Choice winners are calculated based on the millions of reviews and opinions collected in a single year from travellers around the world on TripAdvisor. The awards take into account the quality and quantity of traveller reviews, and ratings specific to each award category. The hallmark of winners is, and will continue to be, remarkable service and quality experiences for travel.

Honorary Captain Dave Graham, Assistant Watch House Director said that this recognition is due to the behind the scenes work of the museum and Brigade volunteers to enhance the visitor experience and school party workshop visits resulting in positive reviews and feedback.

“This year has been challenging for obvious reasons, but our visitors, much to our delight, started to return as soon as we commenced our soft re-opening at the end of August - with all the new Covid-19 safety guidelines and procedures in place.
“I would like to thank everyone that visited us and took the time to leave a review and especially for supporting us through these difficult times.”

In addition to the above, at the start of 2020 Arts Council England awarded the Watch House Museum ‘Museum Accreditation’ status. This is a prestige title and one that, although we have been awarded in the past, requires regular and detailed upkeep of all aspects of museum life – from developing our visitor experience offering to the way in which we record and maintain our many unique artefacts.

Honorary Captain Dave Bell Honorary Life Member, our Watch House Director, said ‘This is a very important accreditation for our museum and one I am absolutely delighted to have achieved, with the help and support of many members of the Brigade, especially our ‘Friends of TVLB’ group who focus so much on our Watch House and artefacts. The accreditation matters as it supports our volunteers in ensuring that we work as a collective – over many different specialisms – to properly promote, protect and record the fantastic collection of maritime history that we have.

We had hoped to stage a celebration event to recognise the work that has been completed to achieve accreditation – but at this stage that simply isn’t possible – and so our re-opening is a great opportunity to highlight the Watch House Museum and the national recognition it has received’.

For anyone who has not previously visited us, our museum contains a large collection of artefacts, photographs and displays, telling the history of the formation of this search and rescue Volunteer Life Brigade from its founding in 1864. We then take you on a journey to through the past 156 years – with many an interesting tale along the way – and then detail our present day role as a coastal rescue service to the community, and as a declared facility to HM Coastguard.

If that isn’t quite enough, our museum and grounds offer magnificent views of the River Tyne, Tynemouth Priory and Castle and of the local area.

Our museum is open Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 3pm, on a Sunday between 10am and 12 noon, and we are closed on a Monday. For any group visits or organised tours, please contact


The Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade. Registered Charity Number 1093237

T.V.L.B. 2020