HISTORY




Searchlight Sites in the Newcastle Area:
Site TT122 (Crag Point/Seaton Sluice)


SEATON SLUICE/CRAG POINT AERIAL VIEW (39 K)

A current aerial view of Crag Point/Seaton Sluice, the general vicinity of A Battery's position designated TT122. The searchlight position, shown in greater detail below, was in the left-center of the photo, just east of the winding path that leads from a row of houses down to the beach of Collywell Bay. South is toward the top of the photo, with St. Mary's Light House clearly visible on the promontory jutting out into Whitley Bay in the upper left. The motorway in the center of the photo is the A193. Click on the image above to load a much larger version (326 K JPEG). The photo ( Airfotos Newcastle Upon Tyne) was kindly supplied by David Anderson, who is researching American units stationed in Northern England during WW II.

The maps below illustrate, first, the general location of Newcastle-upon-Tyne; second, the location of Seaton Sluice relative to Newcastle (courtesy UK Multimap Server); and, third, the specific locations depicted in the photo).
NEWCASTLE AREA LOCATOR MAP (3 K)
General Location of Newcastle.
NEWCASTLE AREA LOCATOR MAP (9 K)
Location of Newcastle in Relation to Other English Cities.

SEATON SLUICE LOCATOR MAP (43 K)


SEATON SLUICE LOCATOR MAP (38 K)


David describes the photo (see enlarged portion below for details): "The searchlight position was on the flat ground atop the rocky outcrop at the left of the photo near the isolated building on the cliff edge, just south (above on the photo) of the winding path leading to the beach. The bay accessible by the winding path is Collywell Bay, where I live. The lighthouse is St. Mary's (Whitley Bay). Under the searchlight site is a World War I gun complex (you can see the circular pattern of the exposed turret position still on the grass). In 1944, the underground complex was visible and quite accessible, but now it has all been filled in. The gun located here was a twin-barrel 12-inch naval gun removed from the HMS Illustrious (the emplacement was designated 'Tyne Turret'). With a range of 12 miles, it was situated on land as to defend the approaches to the mouth of the Tyne from German attack. (Launched in 1896, the third Illustrious, a battleship with 12- and 6-inch guns, was already obsolete in 1914. Stripped of her armament, she spent most of the war as an ammunition store ship and was scrapped in 1920.) Any of the 225th boys who were here would obviously remember the underground structure and the views of Whitley Bay from the site."

SITE TT122 (86 K)

Zooming in on Site TT122. Crag Point dominates
the photograph, jutting into Collywell Bay.

A Brief History of Seaton Sluice and Environs

SEATON SLUICE (12 K)    It is at Seaton Sluice, just up the coast from Whitley Bay, that we officially enter the county of Northumberland. It is the southernmost village on the Northumberland coast and in 1999 boasted a population of 3,300. In the 18th Century, it served as the port for the largest bottle-making factory in England. Seaton Sluice is notable for its small harbor, which features an ingenious system whereby the harbor is drained of silt by means of a 900-foot-long cut. Fifty-two-feet deep and thirty-feet wide, the cut was made in the 1770s by a member of the Delaval family. This essentially created an island in the harbor mouth. (Clicking on the aerial photo at the lower right will load a larger view of the sluice and harbor from the air; Airfotos Newcastle.) Not far inland, to the east of Seaton Sluice, is Seaton Delaval Hall, which was built by Vanbrugh in 1720. It is recognized as one of the finest old houses in North East England. The hall is strongly associated with the Delaval family who can trace their origins back to Norman times when a certain Guy De La Val came over to Britain with William the Conqueror. THE SLUICE FROM THE AIR (11 K)

   The most notorious members of this family were the practical joking brothers Lord Delaval and Sir Francis Blake Delaval, who lived here in the 1700s. Their pranks included placing trapdoors under the beds of house guests who haplessly dropped through the floor into huge tanks of water in the middle of the night. On one other occasion after retiring for the evening, unfortunate guests found themselves exposed to each other after undressing and dewigging in their bedrooms. The Delavals had fitted sliding walls to the rooms, which were pulled up into the ceiling by means of a pulley.

   More information is available here. [Note: click on the photograph of the harbor above (left) for a larger version; photographs reprinted courtesy of Blyth Valley Borough Home Page (above left) and the Blyth Grammar School Alumni Page (directly below).]


THE SLUICE (32 K)

The Sluice


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