Partially backed by shallow cliffs and sand dunes, this illustrates the characteristics of a rural beach in an urban location.
At low tide several patches of rocks are accessible on the sands themselves and, together with the larger outcrop of rock at Cullercoats, provide endless rock pools in which to catch crabs or spot sea anemones. The area is popular with locals and visitors all year round, and especially so during the summer season, while in recent years it has become increasingly fashionable with surfers.
King Edward’s Bay to the south is a small sandy cove approximately 200 metres long enclosed by cliffs and steep grass banks. It is dominated by the ruins of Tynemouth Castle and Priory on the headland above, which is known as Benebal Crag.
The following is a very colourful description of Tynemouth Long Sands, taken word for word from an old guidebook dated 1912:
‘The Long Sands are seen to advantage from the Palace Terrace, and the descent thereto is easy.
They form an admirable playground, being broad and smooth, and extending in a graceful curve for a considerable length. Their central portion is the best for bathing purposes, and here the bathing machines are numerous.
A short distance to the right of the Palace a large number of rowing boats are drawn up on the beach.
Near the foot of the road down to the beach at the west end of the sands is a spa well or spring, the water of which has certain medicinal properties.
Adjoining the Long Sands is King Edward’s Bay, a charming little sheltered cove, which is exceedingly popular.
An afternoon spent on the Sands watching the youngsters at play with bucket and spade, or studying the various characteristics of the good-natured crowd, need be by no means dull, while the rocks and pools are a constant source of attraction to many visitors, old and young.
Northumbrians never wait to be amused, but are ever enterprising in finding means for beguiling the hours spent on the margin of the sea.’
by Charlie Steel © 2012
Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, local historian Charlie Steel has lived almost all of his life in Monkseaton. His books “Monkseaton and Hillheads” and “Inns and Taverns of North Shields” are published by Tempus and are available in all good book shops.
All Charlie’s articles which are featured in Roundabout Monkseaton can also be found on his website www.monkseaton.info. Charlie also writes articles for Roundabout Tynemouth.
If you have any old pictures or photographs of Monkseaton that you would like to share then please e-mail Charlie at firstname.lastname@example.org.