If there is one institution or place in Tynemouth that should never be taken for granted is the TVLB Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade. For a number of years I used to wonder what the unusual old wooden building overlooking the mouth of the Tyne was. Last year I ventured inside the Watch House and was amazed at what a wonderful place it is, full of history and character.
The TVLB was founded in 1864 due to a number of serious shipping disasters that plagued the surrounding area. It was the first station of its kind anywhere in the world and is still very active today. The TVLB is separated into two distinct parts: the Life Brigade, which is an active emergency rescue team based at the watch tower and the museum itself; which is open 6 days a week (I mentioned Billy the museums' caretaker earlier in this blog). It is worth visiting just to listen to his funny stories about everything from his younger days in Australia hunting crocodiles to the often humorous events within the museum. The museum is a treasure trove full of local history and brimming with interesting artifacts.
I feel that it is important to feature this museum as it is truly astonishing. If you love history, anything nautical or antiques this place is a must see local attraction. The museum relies on visitor donations as it is free to enter. If you are visiting Tynemouth or are local please pop in and be transported back in time and donate what you can to keep the building and organisation going. It is important to note that the Museum Watch Tower is home to a brigade of volunteers who will probably be the first response to any accident or emergency in the area. Not only will you see antiques in the museum but also modern rescue items. You may even see a couple of volunteers reviewing maps of the local area or other such invaluable training procedures.
So if you are out for a walk and see this unusual building please pop in and support the TVLB by simply visiting one of the area's hidden gems or by telling a friend how much you've enjoyed your visit. I have taken a number of people into the museum in the last 12 months and every one of them has loved the experience. This place is something real, something special and unique. If you have never visited and are local please visit, if you have been before then why not visit again.
Please visit the TVLB website for more information and links:
In Tynemouth now tweets http://twitter.com/#!/INTynemouth