Cullercoats as an Artists Colony
Cullercoats developed after 1539 and until the late 19th Century was a small village with interests in salt making, coal export, fishing and smuggling. Cullercoats is also known for forming the second Volunteer Life Brigade in the country, in 1865, shortly after Tynemouth. Latterly, Cullercoats has been appreciated as an artist’s colony, a fashionable seaside village and is noted for its contributions in the pioneering of science and technology.
In the early 19th century Cullercoats was known for smuggling due to the myriad of bays and the village’s relative isolation. Thomas Armstrong, a Customs Officer who was not above indulging in a little smuggling himself, was granted land in 1768. He is said to have built Cliff House on this land and it is believed that there is a smuggler’s tunnel running from it. Smuggling became less common when the railway reached the coast in the 1840s.