A Fascinating History

Fishing. There are now only four cobles working out of Newbiggin. At one time there were more than a hundred.

Mining. 1967 saw the closure of the mine but the 'Colliery' area still exists.

A Seaside Resort

Newbiggin was a very popular seaside resort and is now working hard to restore its former glory.


The Lifeboat Station

Newbiggin has the oldest operational lifeboat station in the UK and operates an inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat manned by a team of volunteers carrying on the strong tradition.


The Hunkleton Stone

Pictured in this postcard from 1917 and marked on maps since the 18oo's the Hunkleton Stone, standing alone on the flat sands, has long been a feature of Newbiggin Bay. How it came to be here has been the subject of much debate with some believing it to be an Ice Age glacial deposit.


Newbiggin Brass Bands

Music has played an important part in the village. Although there is evidence of an early brass band in the mid 19th century, the Newbiggin Silver Band, it was with the sinking of the mine that Newbiggin Colliery Band was formed in 1913, being made up from miners who worked at the colliery and funded by a penny a week from the workmen's pay. In many cases employment was found to attract notable players! Rehearsing in the Co-op hall and performing in the bandstand on the promenade it was affectionately known as 'Wor Band'. Meanwhile, 1916 saw the formation of the Salvation Army Corps brass band who for many tears played to large audiences in open air meetings at the Quay Wall. The Brass Bands of Newbiggin were the breeding ground for many players who achieved national acclaim, and musical careers: Jim Shepherd of Black Dyke Mills Band, Tony Griffiths, Richard Fenwick, Darren Patterson and Sarah James all joining the Band of HM Royal Marines in the 1970's, 80's and 90's. Today's Jayess Brass Band (formerly Gregg's Brass Band and named in honour of its president, James Shepherd) and the Salvation Army Brass Band still continue to make music, nurture young talent and entertain.


The Newbiggin Rappers & The Newbiggin Sword Dance

Newbiggin had a Rapper band in 1908. Billy Clark's was the most famous though, formed in 1920 they danced until World War II and performed in the Royal Albert Hall in 1939.

The Newbiggin Sword Dance is still performed today with it's most famous exponents being the Sallyport Dancers.

The Sallyport Dancers performed the Newbiggin Sword Dance at Newbiggin Maritime Centre on 18th November 2011.

A film showing an early Newbiggin team practising straight from their work in the pit can be seen at


The Sallyport Dancers performing the Newbiggin Sword Dance


The White House

On the corner of Woodhorn Road and Front Street, was built in 1708 and is one of Newbiggin's oldest buildings. A mason's mark is still visible on the Woodhorn Road side of the building. Once a farm and for a long time a bakery it is now home to a Coffee Shop

John Braine

First appeared in Newbiggin in 1954 where he worked in the library for a couple f years. He wrote "Room At The Top", a massive success selling half a million copies by the end of the fifties. It was made into a film in 1959 - "the first British film to take sex seriously and the first to show the industrial north as it really was".

Braine left Newbiggin in 1956 to lap up his success and penned another eleven novels before he died in London in 1968 aged 64.


'Footbridge near Newbiggin by the Sea was sketched by Lowry in 1964 and features his trademark matchstick figures. When he produced the drawing of the Northumberland landmark Lowry was probably staying nearby at the Seaburn Hotel, Sunderland, which became almost his second home. Lowry was facinated by the footbridge at Newbiggin and it appears in a number of paintings and drawings from the mid 1960's. Two drawings - in blue ballpoint pen and both on the back of Seaburn Hotel notepaper - of the footbridge at Newbiggin are thought to be owned by the Lowry at Salford Quays. We have traced other paintings of Newbiggin by Lowry and we are working to make them part of the Heritage Trail