Place:Whitley Bay, Northumberland, England

NameWhitley Bay
Alt namesWhitleysource: former name (also village in borough)
TypeChapelry, Civil parish, Borough (municipal)
Coordinates55.046°N 1.444°W
Located inNorthumberland, England     ( - 1974)
Also located inTyne and Wear, England     (1974 - )
See alsoTynemouth, Northumberland, Englandancient borough in which it was a township
Castle Ward, Northumberland, Englandancient county division in which it was located
Whitley and Monkseaton, Northumberland, Englandurban district of which it was part 1894-1954, municipal borough 1954-1974
North Tyneside, Tyne and Wear, Englandmetropolitan borough of which it is part
source: Family History Library Catalog
the text in this article is a condensation of an article in Wikipedia

Whitley Bay is a seaside town on the northeast coast of England. Historically it was located in Northumberland, but it is now part of Tyne and Wear. Whitley Bay is around 10 miles from Newcastle upon Tyne. It is bounded by the coastline of the North Sea to the east. The towns of North Shields and Tynemouth are to the south.


The town was known as Whitley until the 1890s, by which time confusion with Whitby, in Yorkshire, regularly caused mail to be misdirected. Though since known officially as Whitley Bay, many residents still refer to the town as 'Whitley'.

Whitley was first mentioned about the year 1100 when King Henry I conferred it with other possessions on the Priory of Tynemouth. Whitley is also referred to in the charters of King Henry II, King Richard I and King John, confirming to the priors their possessions and liberties.

After the Dissolution of the Monasteries (1535-1540), Whitley was held under the Crown for a time. By a grant of Edward VI dated 8 December 1551, it came into the hands of Dudley, Earl of Warwick who was created Duke of Northumberland. It remained in the Percy family until 1632 after which time the area appeared to be let at a yearly rental to various holders until it came into the possession of the Duke of Somerset on his marriage in 1682 with Elizabeth, the heiress of Joscelyn, the 11th Earl of Northumberland. Whitley subsequently passed by inheritance to her granddaughter Elizabeth Seymour who had married Sir Hugh Smithson, a Yorkshire baronet, afterwards created Duke of Northumberland. Whitley has since been retained by descendants and the present Duke of Northumberland is the Lord of the Manor and principal landowner.

Image:Northumberland se corner 1935-1974.png

Monkseaton, which forms the greater part of the northwest of the district, is also very old. Both Whitley Bay and Monkseaton had economies dependent on coalmining and limestone quarrying. From the late 19th century and into the 20th century the adverse effects of the decline of local coalmining and dependent industries in the area were ameliorated by the emergence of Whitley Bay as a seaside holiday resort. The opening of the North Tyne Loop railway line in 1882, connecting the coastal villages to Newcastle, benefited the tourism industry. The line, now followed by present Metro system (opened 1980), included a new railway station in the centre of the town, and another at Monkseaton. Both stations remain in use as Metro stations.

The parish church is St. Paul's Church. It was provided by the Duke of Northumberland when the parish of Tynemouth was divided in 1860 and it was consecrated in 1864.

The Whitley and Monkseaton Local Board was established in 1873. The district of the Local Board became the Urban District of Whitley and Monkseaton in 1894. On 1 January 1944 the Whitley and Monkseaton Urban District became the Whitley Bay Urban District and on 5 March 1954 it was granted a Royal Charter of Incorporation as the [Municipal] Borough of Whitley Bay. The charter was presented by HRH The Princess Royal at a ceremony in the town on 14 April 1954.

The Local Government Act 1972 abolished the borough, with Hartley in the north of the borough becoming a part of the Blyth Valley District in Northumberland, and the majority of the town including Whitley Bay and Monkseaton forming part of the Metropolitan Borough of North Tyneside in Tyne and Wear.

Research Tips

  • Northumberland Archives previously known as Northumberland Collections Service and Northumberland County Record Office. Now based within Woodhorn Museum in Ashington and providing free access to numerous records for local and family historians alike.
Full postal address: Museum and Northumberland Archives, Queen Elizabeth II Country Park, Ashington, Northumberland, NE63 9YF; Phone: 01670 624455
There is a branch office in Berwick upon Tweed.