About Newbiggin by the Sea
Newbiggin by the Sea is located in southeast Northumberland on England's north east coast. The area to the north is known as the Northumbrian Heritage Coast, and boasts exquisite beaches,, bays and lovely seaside villages, including Craster, Alnmouth and Seahouses. The county has over fifty of the country's finest historic castles, amongst them Bamburgh, Alnwick and Lindisfarne on Holy Island. To the south, only a half hour's journey away is Sunderland, Newcastle upon Tyne and the Gateshead Metro Centre. To the west is Hadrian's Wall and Hexham. Being one of England's Border Counties, Scotland is only a short journey away and Edinburgh is easily accessible within an hour and a half's drive. Newbiggin by the Sea has a long and interesting history! The area has a wide variety of archaeological features that date back to the earliest of times. Large numbers of Mesolithic flint tools have been found in Newbiggin Bay. In Medieval times Newbiggin features prominently in history books. Notably the Church of St. Bartholomew, recognisable for miles along the coastline, standing on the headland, has its origins in early Medieval times. The village had its own charter and was a thriving port. Historical documents record that there was a pier and remains of a hospital (with coffins) were found in the 1920's. Traces of the layout of the Medieval village can also be seen in burgage plots that run off Front Street.
A Fishing Village
Fishing has always been a part of village life.. The first recorded evidence was in 1199 when Eustace Balliol confirmed his grandfather's grant in 1138 of a toft in Newbiggin to the monks of Newminster Abbey. A toft was a homestead indicating the serfdom of medieval fishermen of the area. Newbiggin also has strong links to John Balliol who played an important role in the development of Oxford University.
Fishing expanded rapidly in the village from the middle of the 19th century to the start of the First World War, which was the era of the herring boom. In 1869 142 Cobles, or fishing boats, were recorded in the village. The illage also has had a long association with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and boasts the oldest active Lifeboat House in the UK, built in1851. Today only four cobles still sail out of Newbiggin.
Most of the post medieval history of Newbiggin y theSea has been dominated by coal mining. Newbiggin had its own mine, which closed in 1967. At its peak in he 1920's ove 1200 mn were employed thre. The development of the mine led to the "co;iery" part of the village being developed and desp[ite the pit closing many years ago the area is still known s that today.
Newbiggin wasa thriving seaside resort for the wealthy businessmen of the Edwardian nd Victorian eras, from industrialised areas of Newcastleupon Tyne and Sunderland. The arrival of therailway in the 19th century and the building of Newbiggin railway station also helped its growth. The village today boasts tw holiday parks, one at Church Point. Throughout the years the churches in the villagehave played an important role in everyday life. St. Mark's United Reformed Church, St. Andrew's Methodist Church and the Salvation Army Hall are all landmarks on the Front Street of the village. The street leads to St. Bartholomew's Church on the Point, which is a very well known landmark.
The Fall & Rise of Newbiggin by the Sea
Up to the 1960's and early 1970's Newbiggin was still a popular destination. However, unfortnately, the village went into decline, mainly due to the decline of its traditional industries of fishing and coal mining. The picturesque beach which characterised the baywas also lost, partly due to the detrimental effects of coal mining. However, the strong community spirit prevailed together with a will to see improvements. In recent years a number of regeneration initiatives and improvements have been made.
In 2004 the first new housing was developed for a number of years with more sites soon to bedeveloped. A number of environmental improvements have taken place and are ongoing. In October 2005 a £10m scheme to develop an offshore breakwater and beach restoration project was announced and this commenced in the spring of 2007.