Gunpowder store gets a facelift

The restored Powder House. Picture by Elaine Gray
The restored Powder House. Picture by Elaine Gray

WORK has recently been carried out to restore a Grade II-listed Powder House on the north Northumberland coast.

Set out on the rocks close to Seahouses Point in the Northumberland coast area of outstanding natural beauty, the Powder House was built in 1886 to store the gunpowder that was used in blasting for the construction of the Long Pier and the New Harbour.

Its isolated location on the rocks was for safety reasons, in the event of an accidental explosion.

The Powder House is a small structure, built of sandstone with a distinctive barrel vaulted roof.

Due to exposure to the harsh elements, the pointing was failing, and the sandstone blocks around the entrance were eroding.

The decision was taken by the North Sunderland Harbour Commissioners to carry out the badly-needed repair works.

Northumberland County Council was able to support the project with a conservation grant covering 50 per cent of the project costs. The work was carried out by Beadnell-based Len Smith Builders.

Coun Geoffrey Stewart, chairman of North Sunderland Parish Council, who originally sought protected status for the structure, said: “The Powder House has been neglected for many years and I’m delighted to say it is now looking as sturdy as it originally did.”

The work is now complete, and will protect the fabric of this Seahouses landmark for many years to come.