Old Images of Whitley Bay

Categorised as Tyne & Wear
Old photo of Spanish City and Gardens Whitley Bay
Old photo of the Spanish City and Gardens at Whitley Bay

Glimpse history through old images of Whitley Bay, in North East England.

Lifeboat Saturday 1922

This silent film is identified as Whitley Bay but is probably Cullercoats.

The lifeboat is pulled out of the boat shed and up an incline by two long lines of men with ropes. They walk along a crowded road surrounded by spectators, accompanied by a brass band. The boat is launched into the sea.

Then we see a group of women and children, wearing the traditional headscarves of fishwives, holding model tinboats, which are actually collecting tins to raise money for the R.N.L.I.

Lifeboat Saturday (1922) – British Pathé on YouTube


Holiday in 1950

Enjoy a trip back to Whitley Bay’s holiday offerings in 1950, when people arrived at the railway station for a seaside break complete with pony carriage rides on the cold beach.

This lovely Kodachrome film, which is nearly ten minutes long, includes several views of local shops and streets, many local homes, and of course the areas around the seafront.

It’s strange to see such familiar roads with just a few, quaintly old fashioned, cars and buses. And just wait for all the rides lined up along the beach! Later, at high tide, the sea comes right up around the closed rides.

It doesn’t look at all warm, but lots of children were bravely enjoying the outdoor pool in their swimming costumes. There’s also a trip up to the St Mary’s lighthouse, before we see the tiny caravans families used to stay in.

This is an absolute gem of a film.

Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear (1950) – The Time Machine


Spanish City 1967

Frank and Norah Wardle, from Winlaton, filmed their 1967 visit to the Spanish City funfair on an 8mm cine film camera. The home movie clip starts with a drive along the seafront, passing local businesses and streets, before arriving at the Spanish City on foot.

There’s a nice shot over the rooftops from the Big Wheel, and a look at many different attractions on offer. The House that Jack Built cost 6D in old money to get in.

Whitley Bay Spanish City in 1967 uk updated – Frank Gillings on YouTube


Spanish City in the 1990s

By the 1990s, Spanish City was a destination for local thrill-seeking teenagers, rather than the focus of a family group on holiday.

You’ll notice the bright lights that now adorned Spanish City. It’s no wonder this venue was referenced in the wistful lyrics of the 1981 single “Tunnel of Love” (Mark Knopfler/Dire Straits).

The Spanish City in the 1990s – Whitley Bay, North Tyneside – tyneidols.com


Whitley Bay Buses 1996

Filmed in December 1996, this trailer for a transportation DVD includes the Tap and Spill, Callers Pegagsus, lots of local shops, may passing buses and cars, and a few pedestrians.

WHITLEY BAY BUSES DEC 1996 – DaveSpencer32


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