The Architectural Heritage Fund has awarded a Project Viability Grant to Cullercoats Watch House to adapt the Grade II-listed building, which was once a shelter for the Cullercoats Life Brigade – local fishermen who supported the coastguard by saving lives at sea. Situated along the seafront of Cullercoats in North Shields, the Watch House was built in 1877. Since the 1930s, it has been home to a snooker venue but this use has declined in recent years. The focus of the forthcoming project is to create a more inclusive community venue that will ensure the Watch House remains at the centre of the community into the future.
This grant is among 16 awards that the AHF awarded in the latest grants meeting on 13th September 2021, where projects ranging geographically from Ponsanooth in Cornwall to the town of Castlewellan in Northern Ireland were offered funding totaling £153,818.
The grant will enable Cullercoats Watch House to consider how the building can best serve the community for years to come, including renovation and the creation of meeting rooms, workspaces, and a venue for arts and cultural activities, such as plays and recitals. The building is highly valued by the community and the group hopes to develop an innovative way to keep the memories and stories of the local fishing industry alive.
The AHF’s grant will fund initial testing of the most sustainable options for the building. Further, the funding will support a viability appraisal drawing on guidance from professional consultants and architects to assess the most appropriate and sustainable path to secure the Watch House for the North Shields community.