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Seaton Carew Lighthouse.

Seaton High Seaton Low

Seaton Carew is situated in the county of Durham on the north east coast. Two circular stone lighthouses were built in 1839 and both were 70 feet tall. The high light stood half a mile inland and the low light on the shore. At least that is what W.H.Davenport Adams writes in his 'The Story of our Lighthouses and Lightships' published in 1891.

I quote 'On the north side of the mouth of the Tess, latitude 45 degrees 40 minutes stand two circular stone lighthouses, the high light half a mile inland and the low light on the shore, north of Seaton Carew (1183 yards from each other). Each is 70 feet high. The high light is white, the low red; both are fixed and were first exhibited in 1839'

With changing coastal channels they soon fell into disuse and were demolished. No trace exists today although the high light found its way into a builder's scrap yard and was eventually rebuilt at the marina in Hartlepool.

I show the two above photographs 'as seen'. They both claim to be the Seaton lighthouse. In both instances the owner had written on the details - so I suppose I cannot argue. However I have seen the reassemble lighthouse at the marina and it looks suspiciously like the one on the right.

Clearly the light on the left is not a circular stone building but a hexagonal one and can be confirmed as a lighthouse as painted (below) in 1902 by Thomas Grainger (1849-1930) and he should know because he painted it.


image774 image846

The lighthouse (above) re-erected in 1995 when it was moved from Longhill to south of the Tesco Superstore at Stanton at Hartlepool Marina. Obviously the lamp gallery etc was not saved.

There still remains the mystery of Davenport Adams' two circular stone lighthouses and Grainger's hexagonal one. The answer, I believe, lays in the fact that the low light was demolished at some stage, possibly due to erosion of the land on which it stood. It would appear that Adams is correct in every copy of List of Lights that I have up to 1892. My next copy is dated 1897 by which time there is no mention of the Seaton Carew lights. I suspect that they were no longer required for merchant navigation but the local harbour may well have commissioned a new low light for local shipping as seen by Grainger.

Since posting the above John has come up with some clever detective work and I cannot argue with his reasoning. He searched the web for photos of Seaton Carew and came across some old pictures of some ladies on the beach at Seaton with the same picture of the lighthouse shown here, top left, but from a different angle. As both Findlay and Hardy state that the low light was on the shore, then I conclude that he is right. I have not pinch the photo off the web because of the copyright warning but John did direct me in the direction of Grainger's painting.

With even more clever detective work he thinks that he has located the site of the old high light in Hartlepool off Windemere Road where Longhill Industrial Estate grew up around it and enclosed it in a tin recycling plant until it was repatriated. Also he has located the site of 'Granger's' lighthouse.

Next John compares an old photo of Whitby before the pier extension with the black and white picture and concludes that they are both the same subject. I also agree with him on that point.

Whitby whitby

On the left; Whitby and not Seaton as marked; on the right; Whitby

So there we have it; a photo of the re-erected high light, now at Hartlepool marina; a painting of a 'new' low light and an old photo of Whitby harbour light.

A great deal of patience investigation. Thanks John