Friday, 24 September 2010


It had passed me by that the American painter Winslow Homer spent two years living in the fishing village of Cullercoats in Northumberland so having discovered the  information this week in celebration I'm posting a map of the county. I love a map card. It has many points of interest, Hadrian's Wall, Cheviot hills, and the beautiful coastline.  My Father must have visited the area in the 1970s because some of the cards I inherited seem to feature it a lot.  Such as
Embleton Bay and Dunstanburgh. A popular place for watersports or just laying about on the beach, weather permitting, a nice windbreak or tent like the yellow one in the middle is always an advantage. This view is looking southwards to the ruins of the castle built in 1313 by Thomas, the earl of Lancaster. It was an important defensive structure until Tudor times when it fell into disrepair.

The whole coastline is littered with castles
such as Bamburgh (at the top of the map near Holy Island).  There has been a fort here since the 5th century when it was the capital of the region's kingdom. The Norman core, besieged unsuccessfully in 1095 was added to over the years and it was the first ever castle to be defeated by artillery after a nine month siege in later years. Now you might be thinking it looks remarkably well  preserved for a building of that age, and you would be right, because the Victorian industrialist William Armstrong built additional parts and preserved others in the 19th century.  He is quite an interested character, far ahead of his time, for he advocated renewable energy and his house Cragside near Rothbury (centre of the map) was the first in the world to be lit by hydro-electricity. In 1863 he said coal "was used wastefully and extravagantly" and that England would cease to produce coal within two centuries. He overestimated the time, but  nobody could imagine that a person like Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher would destroy an industry in a decade.

For a 1793 view of Bamburgh here is the publisher Noel Tatt's  'Sketchcard', no other information on the back.

Beth at The Best Hearts Are Crunchy is the hostess of Postcard Friendship Friday


MrCachet said...

These are really great cards, and I especially like the 'Sketch' card.

Funoldhag said...

I would so love seeing places like that in person! I did get to see Germany and loved that beautiful country. I was so taken with the antiquity of all the beautiful old churches, etc. We have beauty here also but nothing that goes so very far back in time. I loved the castles! Carol

Postcardy said...

I haven't been any place like that, so it is hard for me to imagine a coastline "littered" with castles.

pfranzme said...

It's no wonder castles (pre-cursor to mega mansions?) were dark & dreary if they had those tiny windows. Yes, I know. They were tiny for defensive reasons.

Debs said...

this post made me nostalgic for the english summers of my childhood. living in italy now, it makes me smile to see a windbreak or tent on a beach ... such endurance to enjoy a day on a northern beach! happy PFF!

Sheila said...

I can't get enough of castles! I'm always in two minds as to how much preservation should be done. It often seems to entail more reconstruction than I would like. Dover Castle has parts that resemble a Disney film.