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The Villages

North Sunderland and Seahouses lie just 3 miles south of Bamburgh, with North Sunderland being the older, original village. Sunderland literally means, 'Southern land' are refers to it placement to Bamburgh. The word North was added to avoid confusion with Sunderland in Wearside.


Boat Building

'Dawson and Beverley' was established fully in 1948 as a partnership between Ralph Dawson and Ronnie Beverley. Their maiden vessel was 'Vanguard' a 40ft (12m 19cm) coble mule built for David & Thomas Handside of Amble. Only a few years later however, the partnership was dissolved and the business became 'Ralph Dawson & Sons'. Over a period of 9 years, Ralph was joined by his 3 sons, Ronnie, Archbold and Ken.

The Farnes

The Farne Islands consist of 33 islands, islets & rocks, although many are submerged at high tide reducing the number dramatically, but not as dramatic perhaps as their history which can be viewed here.  We've included areas in and around the Farnes & Holy Island to help ensure you don't miss a thing!


The exact history of the origin of the kipper is unknown, but the process of smoking or curing food has gone on for centuries.


Seahouses, or North Sunderland Seahouses (as it was) is commonly accredited to the 'discovery' however, such as the story of John Woodger who accidently left the Kipe (Basket used to catch fish) overnight in a room with a smoking stove. That said, many believe this to be false however mainly because another possible origin of the word kipper is from old English, meaning to spawn and during the middle ages, it is recorded that various heavily smoked and salted foods helped people maintain subsistence over late winter and into spring.


In an 1841 directory of Northumberland, "the method of curing is said to be superior to most others." was a statement that most likely made Seahouses the principle place to buy Kippers, and a great acheivement to John Woodger who had experimented with the process extensively. Needless to say, Seahouses became an important port for landing, curing and exporting herring.


A lot of the 'Seahouses Kipper Revolution' was led by Alexander Ewing, who acquired land to build a herring processing yard, and at its peak Seahouses supported 6 of these with teams of local women, together with Scottish 'herring lasses', packing the herring for export.


Several of Ewing's yards are now converted to residential use and can be seen in the 'Old Village'.


Swallow's smokehouse and shop still remains and is the last working example of this industry in the villages and has operated on this site since 1843.

The Harbour


Probably better known now as Seahouses Harbour, North Sunderland Harbour (it's correct title) began life as a small wooden jetty between 2 natural rock promontories. The first 'modern' jetty or pier was built by the Lord Crewe trustees, and the first phase of construction began in 1786.

The Railway

In 1891, the North Eastern Railway was approached and asked to build an extension of their line to the thriving harbour at Seahouses, but they refused. A company was formed locally to build the line. The North Sunderland Railway was born. Just a year later in 1892 the North Sunderland Railway Act authorised the construction of line, branching the main line at Chathill and running to Seahouses, with intermediate stations at Fleetham and North Sunderland.

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