Whitburn is a village in South Tyneside, on the coast of the North Sea. It lies just to the north of the City of Sunderland in the ceremonial county of Tyne and Wear. Before 1974 it was part of County Durham. In the UK census of 2001 the village had a population of 5,235.
Following the attack of the Spanish Armada on England in 1588, the vanquished Spanish fleet fled up the east coasts of England and Scotland. Two Spanish galleons ran aground on Whitburn Rocks in rough seas and local inhabitants plundered the wreckage. The bell from one of the galleons was placed in Whitburn Church. Spanish oak beams removed from the shipwrecks could still be viewed in the roof of the Whitburn lawnmower shop in the 1950s prior to the building's demolition.
Whitburn remained fairly undisturbed settlement until 1718 when the Land Enclosure Act came into force and a number of farms were created. The settlement was isolated as no roads connected to it, but there was a path on Sea Lane (now East Street) connecting it to Whitburn Bents, a nearby hamlet. Not until 1866 was a road built over the sand dunes to Fulwell, now in northern Sunderland. In 1874 Marsden Pit was sunk and the community increased dramatically as a result. Whitburn Colliery closed in 1968, and the land is now a coastal park and nature reserve.
It is generally accepted that Lewis Carroll (C. L. Dodgson) wrote The Walrus and the Carpenter while holidaying at his cousins' house in Whitburn. A statue of Carroll is in the library.
Whitburn was an ancient parish in the Chester Ward of County Durham. It was made a civil parish in the 19th century and became part of the South Shields Rural District from 1894 until 1936. In 1936 it was abolished as a civil parish and the land was split between the parishes of Boldon and South Shields. (Source: A Vision of Britain through Time)