Scaffolding erected at St Mary's Lighthouse as repair job continues

Scaffolding being erected on St Mary's Lighthouse in Whitley Bay
-Credit: (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

Work continues to progress on a coastal icon as the council gives the landmark some TLC.

Scaffolding now adorns the grade II listed St Mary’s Lighthouse, on St Mary’s Island in Whitley Bay, as workers administer repairs and prepare it for a new lick of paint. The lighthouse and island have been closed to visitors since Monday, June 24 to allow for the works and to lessen the impact on nearby wildlife.

The lighthouse and island will remain closed until mid-September, however, the causeway will reopen on July 22. North Tyneside Council is investing £883,860 into the restoration works.

Long-standing St Mary’s councillor Judith Wallace said: “I’m delighted that the work is progressing and as far as I know it’s going according to plan despite the poor weather we are having this summer. It is excellent news.

“The causeway is still shut but I understand it will be open by July 22, hopefully coinciding with the school holidays so children and families can go and enjoy rockpooling.”

The island’s keeper’s cottages and visitor centre are also due to be re-painted and subject to repair work. There are further proposals to enhance the island later in the year, including installing kit to allow live streams of the local wildlife. These proposals are subject to planning permission.

Construction of the lighthouse was completed in 1898 and first lit in August of that year. It was decommissioned in 1984 and listed in 2012.

Coun Wallace has long called for the lighthouse to see a makeover, and a Conservative St Mary’s councillor, Ian McAlpine, put forward a motion to the council calling for the revamp last year. At the time, the council’s Labour administration maintained it intended that the lighthouse and island would receive the extra care, but needed to be budgeted or it could incur a lending cost of £100,000 for the next 10 years.