COASTAL SEARCH AND RESCUE SINCE 1864

The Watch House Museum
The Watch House Museum
The Watch House Museum
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The Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade Watch House Museum contains a unique collection of artefacts that recreate the dramatic history of the TVLB and our involvement in heroic coastal rescues from our formation in 1864 to the present day. As an accredited museum with Arts Council England our volunteers look forward to welcoming you to our home and sharing our rich history, and the history of maritime rescue from the local area, with you.

The main hall inside the Watch House

A gem of national significance

The TVLB was the first ever Volunteer Life Brigade of its kind to be formed in 1864, and today the TVLB still use the Watch House as an operational base as a declared coastal search and rescue facility to the emergency services.

The historic Watch House museum

 A treasure trove of objects

Since reopening after major restoration works in 2014, funded by a partnership with North Tyneside Council and a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Watch House provides visitors with a beautiful and sympathetically restored setting in which to enjoy the atmosphere of this historic building and its artefacts.

Key exhibits include early examples of photography, documents, paintings and artefacts relating to the formation and operations of the TVLB. The museum also houses a working ¾ size version of breeches buoy rescue equipment (the TVLB are famous for utilising this equipment in ship to shore rescues in the past). The museum contains a wonderful selection of other unusual items recovered from local shipwrecks including ships’ bells, figureheads and much more.

From the top of the South tower, there is a reward of near 360-degree breath-taking panoramic views of the entrance to the River Tyne, the North and South piers, the Black Middens Rocks at low tide, across to South Shields, and upriver to the Fish Quay and Low Lights, as well as clear views of the Collingwood Monument and The Tynemouth Castle and Priory.

A treasure trove of artefacts from over 150 years of history

Opening times

Our museum will re-open to walk-in visitors from Good Friday (29th March 2024)!!
We will then be open on Saturday’s, Sunday’s and Bank Holiday’s between 10am and 3pm until the end of August!
(Please note that we will be closed due to a private event on Saturday 25th May)
Please see below for information on group visits which we are able to facilitate outside of the above opening hours. 

Standard entry to the Watch House Museum is free of charge. Donations are gratefully received to go towards the upkeep of the collections and the work of the TVLB.

The Museum has on site toilet facilities for visitors and there is disabled access to the ground floor.

Artefacts documenting tragic shipwrecks and heroic rescues

Group visits and Tours

To arrange a visit to our Watch House Museum or to request a talk about the Brigade please contact our Watch House Team via watchhouse@tvlb.org. If you wish to speak to the Brigade in relation to the Museum or a visit please call our Watch House Director Dave Bell on 07464 327 603. Please note, there may be a charged admission or recommended donation level for guided visits and tours. Please contact us for more information.

 

How to find the museum

Tynemouth Metro Station is approximately 1km from the museum. The 306 bus from Newcastle to Whitley Bay stops on Front Street in Tynemouth village, approximately 500m from the museum. The 1/1A from Gateshead to Whitley Bay stops on Allendale Place, at the junction with Front Street in Tynemouth village, approximately 750m from the museum.

From Tynemouth village, Front Street, turn off onto Pier Road. On Pier Road, cross the small bridge and follow the road ahead and the Watch House Museum is located on your right at the very top of the bank.

Public car parks can be found on Pier Road, on the right-hand side just after you go over the small bridge, and on the Spanish Battery, adjacent to the museum.

Full address

Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade
Brigade Watch House Museum
Spanish Battery
Tynemouth
North Shields
Tyne & Wear
NE30 4DD