In 'We Can Mind the Time', Joan Angus dates the construction of the Coastguard Cottages to 1870, although there are references to the coastguard in earlier census returns.
Photo: Peter Howard
Written in 1957, Eva Archbold's history of the village notes:
"The coast guard houses were built by the Board of Trade on a --- years lease. When it expired about ---- the squire sold them. At the moment they look pie bald, but looked all right when they were tarred. They are brick. During the war they were camouflaged a yellowish colour and now look undecided what to be, yellow or black, except the bottom one which has been rough cast."
In the past, the surrounding wall was painted white and the cottages tarred to waterproof them.
This early photograph shows the coastguard cottages tarred black and the surrounding wall whitewashed . The 'square' is shown overlooking the valley in the centre of Craster and in the foreground are the 'black sheds', where herring were salted and put into barrels.
The F.S. on the 1897 OS map (Reproduced from the 1897 Ordnance Survey map with the kind permission of Ordnance Survey) stands for flag staff. This corner of the coastguard compound has crenellated walls, which have given rise to speculation among visitors to Craster that the wall is connected somehow with Dunstanburgh Castle. This of course is not the case. When the coastguard station was built the coastguard service was under the command of the Admiralty and the crenellations and the flag simply reflect this military context.