Lifeboat House, 1897, extended in 2003
Reason for Listing
This later C19 lifeboat station is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: it is a key building in the small coastal community it serves, and is endowed with historic interest and communal value;
* Architectural interest: designed by known Newcastle architects Oliver & Leeson, it possesses features which lift it above the purely functional including inscribed decorative barge boards, crow-stepped gables and an attractive look out and bell tower;
* Intactness: despite some remodelling, it forms a discrete and attractive building redolent of its form and period which possesses all of the characteristic features looked for in such buildings;
* Group Value: it forms part of an important small group of listed maritime related buildings representing the continuity of C19 rescue at sea in this small coastal community.
A RNLI lifeboat station, provided by the Duke of Northumberland, was built at Cullercoats in 1852. This building housed the various Cullercoats lifeboats until 1896 when the Co-operative Wholesale Society funded the construction of the present boathouse designed by architects Oliver & Leeson of Newcastle. First depicted on the 1:2500 Ordnance Survey map published in 1897 as a rectangular building, the bell tower is not shown as being present. However it is depicted in a painting of the boathouse dated to 1910, and was clearly added between these two dates. The boathouse featured in two paintings by John Falconer Slater: 'Cullercoats 1910' and 'Stormy Sea at Cullercoats'; Slater was a member of the 'Cullercoats Colony' a group of professional artists centered on the fishing community between 1870 and 1920.
The crews of the Cullercoats lifeboats were drawn largely from the fishermen of the village and performed many of their acts of rescue for the benefit of the fishing community. The station has seen many rescues during the following years including service during the Second World War, and overall the lifeboat at Cullercoats has launched more than 720 times and saved well over 840 lives. In 1992, the boathouse was converted to house the Atlantic 21 and launching tractor, and in 2003, it was extended to the north and underwent internal modification including the insertion of an upper floor and stair access.
Lifeboat House, 1897; slightly later bell tower.
MATERIALS: red brick with sandstone ashlar dressings; timber cladding and barge boards to the upper parts and a pitched roof of slate.
PLAN: situated at the foot of the cliffs, the rectangular building is oriented north west to south-east with the south east gable facing the sea; tower attached to the left.
EXTERIOR: this two-storey gabled boathouse has wide replacement double doors, with timber cladding and some original square ventilation grilles above; four vertical rectangular ventilation grilles have been replaced with glazing to light the inserted first floor room. Decorative barge boards bear an inscription in large wooden script based on Psalm107:6:
The left return has a pair of rectangular windows and a central projecting tower with similar windows lighting the ground floor. The tower has a crow-stepped left side and a crenellated top surmounted by an open timber belfry with a cupola roof and decorative finial; the bell and its frame remain in situ. The rear elevation has a plain crow-stepped gable. The modern two-bay extension to the right is not of special interest and is not included in the listing.
INTERIOR: wainscoting with exposed red brick walls above, incorporating a narrow band of red and white glazed brick; an inset stone foundation stone is set into the north west gable wall. The north east wall has a pair of original camber-headed windows fitted with small panes. The timber roof has three large trusses, one of which is now only visible from within the first floor loft room; the latter is supported by an inserted RSJ which spans the width of the building. The inserted room is accessed by an inserted stair placed alongside the south west wall.
The C21 extension to the North is not included in this listing.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.