50 years ago this week – Friday, March 10, 1961

TWO garages being built at Monk’s House, formerly used as a bird observatory, are worrying lifeboatmen at the nearby North Sunderland lifeboat station.

They are so perturbed that they have told their National Headquarters in London that the garages are a serious threat to the launching of the lifeboat from Monk’s House, standing practically on the water’s edge opposite the Farne Islands.

The lifeboatmen say the garages are being placed in such a position beside a right-of-way that its impossible to maneuver the lifeboat along the path, which has been pushed into a sort of loop.

Monk’s House, which stands on the site of a medieval priory, is the only other launching point between Bamburgh and Seahouses when the sea is too rough at Seahouses harbour or the water is too low.

“It has been used as a lifeboat emergency launching point for the past 96 years,” says lifeboat secretary Mr Tom Swallow.

51-year-old Mr Tom Dawson, who has been lifeboat coxswain since 1955 and holds the RNLI’s bronze medal for gallantry, admits it has not been necessary to launch from Monk’s House for some years but said: “The possibility that we might have to use it is very real.”