03. 12. 21

Clearing storm, St. Mary’s Island.
Whitley Bay
28th November 2021

Names change, memory fades, Bates Island becomes St. Mary’s Island. A lighthouse is built, the light ignited for the first time in August 1898. A perfect picture postcard scene at the north end of the bay. A tourist attraction. I have a postcard of the lighthouse, sent to MR. J. Atkison, Manchester House, Stokesley. It was posted from Whitley Bay at 12.45pm. 21st August, 1914. Percy writes,

Dear Atkinson,

I am having a grand time here, had a bathe yesterday and hope to have another today. We see a great many Territorials here, have you enlisted to go to the front. Hope there’s know Germans got you. We cannot get on to St. Mary’s Island because there’s barbed wire round it. Hope you are keeping well as I am.


The island and adjacent headland is now a nature reserve, the decommissioned lighthouse a visitors centre. No access signs are in place to stop people disturbing seals basking on the rocks below the lighthouse.