We are proud to be
Northumberland Tourism Ambassadors!
DEVELOPMENT OF AMBLE
On the Ordnance Survey map of Amble in 1860 the agricultural hamlet of Amble is
shown as a small group of buildings lining a bend in the road. There are two
chapels (Congregational and Wesleyan Methodist), five public houses (Mason‘s
Arms, Blue Bell, Fox and Hounds, Queen‘s Head and Wellwood Arms) and a smithy.
There was also a Railway Hotel in the village and a gas works, both indicating the
beginning of an industrial future for the town.
Immediately to the east of the hamlet and standing in its own grounds was Amble
House and its home farm. This grand house and farm was built in the eighteenth
century and survived for almost two centuries before its demolition in 1970.
However not all of it was cleared as the south part of its outbuildings to the home
farm still survives today as the rear portion of Bede House.
The old hamlet had High Street at its centre, but by 1837 Amble had acquired an
entirely new main street. This was located on a new planned site to the east of
Amble House. This new main street was called Queen Street, as Queen Victoria was
crowned the same year. Although most buildings in Queen Street were residential
and built to a superior level of design and quality to the original village, some were
built as shops and others built as, or soon becoming, public houses such as the
Waterloo Inn and the Dock Hotel, both of which still survive today.
The Togston Arms was around the corner in what is now Cross Street and Amble‘s first custom-built school for
boys and girls was also built not far away. Although according to the OS map the nearby Ship Inn seems to be
stuck out on a limb, it was in fact placed on a chosen site in the proposed extension of Queen Street that had
already been planned and laid out ready for development after 1860.
After WW2 and the closure of the coalfields, Amble was in decline. The last coal shipment was in 1969 and the
staithes were cleared in 1969/70. The Metal Bridge over Dilston Terrace went in the 1970s and the Church
Street Assembly Rooms in 1981. The nearby village of Radcliffe was cleared in 1971 to make way for open-cast
mining of coal in the area, and its residents were moved into new public housing south of the old railway lines
In 1964 the local council bought farm land to the
south east of he town to develop as a visitor caravan
site – this still exists today as the 5 star Links Holiday
Park and, in the 1970s, the Braid was reclaimed in
preparation for the development of Amble Marina.
Costly repairs were also carried out to the North Pier
Breakwater to help to maintain the suitability of the
harbour for the fishing fleet as well as leisure
Today, Amble is Northumberland's most important
fishing centre north of the River Tyne.The fishing
industry survives, although with reduced numbers of
vessels, as does a small marine industry - mainly
concentrated around the construction and repair of
yachts and other pleasure craft. Leisure sailing has also
become important and, as well as the marina, the town
has a vibrant yacht and boat club. A small industrial
estate is located to the southwest of the town, whose
clients include food processing plants, vehicle repairs
and telecommunications companies.
Tourism now forms an important sector of Amble’s economy. Part of the harbour was redeveloped into a
marina with secure berths for 250 vessels which opened in 1987. The outer boundary of the marina
incorporates one of the original timber jetties from the early harbour as part of the old river bed was reclaimed
during construction. There are also several caravan parks, guest houses and B&Bs and holiday cottages catering
for the numerous visitors to the Northumberland coast.
Amble also has a large number of independent shops such as gift shops, and many cafes, restaurants, pubs and
fast food outlets.
One of the newer developments in Amble has been the
Town Square which was completed in May 2001. The
former British Legion Club premises was demolished and
the existing road was diverted in order to build the Town
Square at the end of the shopping street to provide tourist
focus and a link between Queen Street and the harbour
area. The Gnoman (sundial) is one of the largest in Europe
and accurate to within 15 seconds.
Designs by Amble school children show the town’s history on a trail of carved stones around the square. There
is also a small amphitheatre surrounded by nine 8 metre masts which often display sails and flags showing the
Amble’s links with the sea and tourism and commerce. There is a feature garden which remembers Muriel
Usher (a local chemist) and well known Amble resident, and two bench seats are dedicated to the memory of
Dr and Mrs Robertson and Jesse Taylor. Five of the original six trees are dedicated to the schools in the town
and the sixth tree has been designated ‘The Town Tree’.
Amble Pier and Breakwater were completely refurbished
and work was completed early in 2000, funded by English
Partnerships. The Breakwater and Pier were officially
re-opened by Jack Charlton on 21 May 2000.
Amble also offers walks along the River Coquet to
Warkworth and south past the harbour and Little Shore
following the coastline to Hauxley with views of Coquet
Island. The Braid is a popular open space adjacent to the
marina and Hauxley Nature Reserve is only a few minutes
away from the town. Nearby Druridge Country Park has a
lake, visitor centre, picnic areas and access to quiet sandy
beaches. Finally in 2005 Amble got a swimming pool!
The Town Swimming Pool is situated on the Caravan Park on Links Road behind the Old Storehouse.
Amble is fast developing a reputation for independent shops, good cafes and restaurants with the Harbour
Village development and the lobster hatchery adding to the uniqueness of the town.
The future of Amble is looking bright!