The Newbiggin by the Sea Heritage Association commenced in 2000 when local people came together, with support from Wansbeck Community & Voluntary Service (WCVS), with the aim of developing a Heritage Centre to showcase the village's long and interesting history. This small beginning has formed the catalyst for the exciting Newbiggin Maritime Centre which is now (July 2015) in its fifth year of operation.

The Newbiggin Heritage Centre was developed using the old beach hut on a primesite at the north end of the promenade in Newbiggin bay. The Centre had interesting artefacts and was open regularly during the summer months supported by a dedicated group of volunteers. In 2004 the Mary Joicey Trust Project Team was set up to take custodianship from the RNLI of the Mary Joicey lifeboat (the last large offshore lifeboat to be stationed at Newbiggin). The lifeboat, which left in 1981 was in need of extensive restoration after spending the last few years of her life as an outdoor visitor attraction in Berkshire. A succession of feasibility studies which examined regeneration options for the village consistently highlighted the potential for heritage based projects as a means to develop the local economy and re-establish Newbiggin by the Sea as a desirable venue for a day out at the seaside. In 2006 discussions with the project team, the Association and the Newbiggin by the Sea History Group brought together the Newbiggin Heritage Partnershio to serve all interests. The Partnership set about securing funding to build and operate the Newbiggin Maritime Centre which was to be based around the Mary Joicey lifeboat and a Northumbrian fishing coble, The Girl Anne, which had already been recently donated.