Craster Harbour





Craster War

History Walk




Archway - Tower Bank
Art Gallery
Captain Craster Memorial
Chapel Row
Church Street
Coastguard Cottages Coquet View
Craster Tower
Craster Village
Distant Shores
Dunstanburgh Castle
Dunstanburgh Road
Haven Hill
Iron Age Settlement
Jolly Fisherman
Little Adam's House
Memorial Hall
Methodist Chapel
Middle Rigg
Quarry, Aerial Ropeway and Bins
Radar Station
Reservoir 'Tank'
Robson's Smokehouse
St Peter the Fisherman
The 'Shute'
The 'Square'
Summer House
We Can Mind the Time
West End Cottages
Whin Hill
World War Two

The Summer House

Summer House date stone 1769

George Craster, who died in 1772, is credited with building the Summer House, which was built as a picnic/bathing house for the Craster family. Its sea facing gable end features a date stone saying, 'Craster Summerhouse 1769'. The bathing house for the Howick family, located on the coast a couple of miles south of Craster, was constructed a few years later, in 1813.

During its life the Summer House has been used for various purposes including as a dwelling, a public toilet and currently as self catering accommodation for tourists. To make it suitable for the latter use the building was subject to substantial renovation and re-modelling in 2011.

The Summer House, 2012
Photo: Peter Howard

Written in 1957, Eva Archbold's history of the village notes:

"The oldest house in the village, certainly on the south side, is the Summer House. This was built for the then squire’s family for use as a summer house. The last person to live in it was Patience Mason, widow of Ben. Mason. She left it to live in a new Council bungalow in 1956. Old Matt Simpson and his daughters lived in it for many years. At the present time, 1957, it is used by the Hoggs (Thomas and his wife Minnie) as a place to sell their Sunday papers. The house adjoining west, also known as the Summer House, at the present time is being used as a girls’ club and a boys’ club. My Uncle William Taylor and family were the last persons to live in it. He died before the family moved to a new Council house. My brother, John Robert Archbold was born in that house. We left it in 1904 when he was 10 weeks old for Blyth......
To return to the Summer House, there were three houses. The one next to the road was known as the Cabin. In time a door was put on to the connecting wall. My father’s father (John Archbold commonly called Crappy) made great alterations when living in it......
I am told that the first tenants in the Summer House (have not found out which part) were my grand-father John Archbold’s parents. These were John Archbold and Elisabeth (nee Betsy, daughter of Jane Ferguson and John Archbold). All the family were born in it. These consisted of two sons  - Edward and John  - and five daughters. The eldest daughter was Hannah born in 1828. Whether she was the oldest of the family I cannot say (added later Yes, she married Robert Taylor)."

When Eva writes that William Taylor was the last person to live in the Summer House he and his family occupied that part of the building one door up from what is now called the Summer House. The last family living in the Summer House, in the late 1940's, was Joan Angus' family (Nee Hughes). Joan remembers the accommodation being very limited. The main living accommodation consisted of two rooms; the first the kitchen, with an old range, a table and a bed for her parents and a bedroom, with three beds and little else for the three girls. There was also a wooden lean-to which housed a paraffin oven and, separately, a 'dry' toilet. The house was not connected to the electricity and did not have a sink.

The following article, published in December 1980 in the local newspaper catches the Summer House when it was owned by the Council and used as a toilet!

In for a Penny, in for £10,000

A LOO for sale in a Northumberland village has attracted an offer of £10,000.

A firm of estate agents acting on behalf of a client has offered the money for the loo, which has planning permis­sion for conversion to a house.
Glover Humble and Partners, of Alnwick, was one of three parties to make an offer for the public convenience at Craster, which Alnwick District Council put on the market last year.
The offer will be considered by the council's policy committee on Tuesday. One of the other two parties offered £3,400 plus a further £4,000 when the building was converted into a house during the next six years and the other put in a firm bid of £5,500
The £10,000 bid is in line with the district valuer's estimate.
The toilets at Craster, formerly a summer house used by the Craster family have a good view of the sea. But the fact that the building was advertised as a public convenience with planning approval for a house may have deterred some buyers, says Alnwick chief environmental officer, Mr. George Oxley.
He believes that if the toilets had been advertised as the old summer house there may have been more interest.
The summer house was converted into a public con­venience because of the increasing number of tourists to Craster.
Soon after repairs to the convenience started, it was thought that the toilets should be in a more suitable place such as the- village car park.
Mr. Oxley says money from selling the toilets will go towards the cost of providing a new loo.

The Summer House overlooking Craster HArbour when it was a Toilet, December 1980.
A Craster Panorama

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