History of Cullercoats

Cullercoats Bay and Dove Marine Laboratory

Robert Oliver

Cullercoats started its industrial life as a coal and salt port but as these products declined the village transformed itself into a fashionable summer resort. It was also hailed as the best fishing port in the north of England. By 2011, only one fisherman, Robert Oliver, was working out of the harbour.

Cullercoats found fame when a group of artists set up studios there and painted the villagers going about their daily lives. One popular subject was the fisherwomen whose lives involved selling fish from a creel on their backs.










The annual Rogation Sunday, when a local minster blessed the boats

Artist Winslow Homer made buildings such as the Watch House and Life Boat Station iconic around the world. His paintings of the fishermen’s cottages have shown us that these dwellings often had no more than two rooms, the downstairs being dominated with a large bed and simple furniture. The upstairs room would have combined a sleeping loft with a net store.

Despite the harsh conditions in which people lived it was not unusual for Cullercoats folk to live to be 100. One wag put this down to hard work, fresh air and a good diet: “herring and tatties one day and tatties and herring the next”!

Did you know….

A large female herring can lay up to 200,000 eggs.