Learn About the Volunteer Life Brigade at The Watch House Museum

Have you ever wondered what the inside of a real Life Brigade station looks like? Well now’s your chance to find out! The Watch House, run by Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade, is a unique and friendly museum filled to the brim with character. It contains an amazing collection of artefacts that recreate the dramatic history of the TVLB and their involvement in heroic coastal rescues from their formation in 1864 to the present day. Passionate volunteers look forward to welcoming you and sharing the history of maritime rescue from the local area with you. It truly is a treasure trove of artefacts from over 150 years of history and a gem of national significance.

Are guided tours of the museum available?

Yes, of course! You can request a guided tour for a small charge by simply telephoning or emailing The Watch House museum. These details can be found below.

The TVLB formed in 1864 and was the first of its kind. Today the TVLB still use The Watch House as an operational base and as a declared coastal search and rescue facility for emergency services. It provides visitors with a beautiful setting in which to enjoy the atmosphere of the historic building and its artefacts. Key exhibits include early examples of photography, documents, paintings and artefacts relating to the formation and operations of the TVLB. The museum also houses a working ¾ size version of breeches buoy rescue equipment. The TVLB are famous for utilising this equipment in ship-to-shore rescues in the past. The museum contains a wonderful selection of other unusual items recovered from local shipwrecks including ships’ bells, figureheads and much more.

From the top of the South tower, there is a reward of near 360-degree, breath-taking panoramic views of the entrance to the River Tyne, the North and South piers, the Black Middens Rocks at low tide, across to South Shields, and upriver to the Fish Quay and Low Lights, as well as clear views of the Collingwood Monument and The Tynemouth Castle and Priory.

Standard entry to the Watch House Museum is free of charge. Donations are gratefully received to go towards the upkeep of the collections and the work of the TVLB.

  • Monday – CLOSED
  • Tuesday – 10:00 to 2:30
  • Wednesday – 10:00 to 2:30
  • Thursday – 10:00 to 2:30
  • Friday – 10:00 to 2:30
  • Saturday – 10:00 to 2:30
  • Sunday – 10:00 to 12:00 (noon)

Things to do in Tyne and Wear