Whitburn Resonance

Sound Dig

A banner image showing a panorama of Whitburn Beach including the fisherman's cottages at the far right

Mapping Whitburn's coastal community and heritage through stories and sound

Images from the Sound Dig workshops and Community Archaeology Dig in Whitburn

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If you would like to contribute a sound or story to Whitburn Resonance Sound Dig, please fill in the following form or email us at sounddig.info@gmail.com

About Whitburn Resonance: Sound Dig

Mapping the sounds of Whitburn through time. Embedding local stories, speculative histories and futures, and psychogeographies relating to archaeology through sound. Explore the sounds, spaces and times of Whitburn.

Whitburn Resonance was a series of workshops taking place in Autumn 2021, through which residents of Whitburn explored concepts of sound and archaeology, collected data, and produced maps and sound explorations.

We explored the sounds of Whitburn, mapping locations in the village that are of archaeological interest and important to the local residents and that can tell a story about the past, present and future of the village.

The Sound Dig website was developed by sound artist, Shelly Knotts, to reflect the values, stories and research of the local community members.

If you have any questions about this project get in touch with us at sounddig.info@gmail.com

A Short History of Whitburn Village

by Elsie Ronald

The ancient village of Whitburn is situated on the North East coast at the Northern end of the beautiful curve of Whitburn Bay. It is an ancient settlement and its original name may have been Hwita Byrgen, the burial place of Byrgen, a Saxon nobleman. It is one of a very few villages that retains the essentials of a mediaeval village due to its situation, cut off by the sea and with no through roads until 1880. The only route into the village was through Fulwell and via Moor Lane, while goods were brought in by sea.

Its original layout was typically mediaeval: one wide main street with farms, smallholdings or dwellings on either side, and surrounded by fields, and a back lane parallel to the main street, with lanes connecting Back Lane to Front Street. It is an attractive village with a 13th century church, a pond, a village green, a windmill and many beautiful trees. In 1880 a bridge was built over Roker Ravine to make the village accessible by road.

People have lived in this area since the Stone Age. A four thousand year old stone burial cist has been found together with a beautifully carved deerhorn harpoon dating from 6000 BC. The Romans were here too and occasionally their coins are dug up.

In 1851 there were only 115 houses in Whitburn and a population of around 800. When the Whitburn Coal Company sank the colliery at Marsden in 1874 there was a population explosion to a total of 2760, and the village has continued to grow since then, numbering 6000 in the 1930s.

Quarrying also grew to be a major industry and continues to this day. Whitburn paper mill was opened in 1889, and By 1911 produced more than 300 tons of paper every week. Unfortunately a fire broke out in 1921 and raged for a full week. The paper mill struggled on for another twelve years but closed in 1933.

The author Lewis Carroll visited Whitburn several times, staying with his uncle William Wilcox at High Croft.

All sound sources on this website are licenced under creative commons: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, unless otherwise specified at the source link.


Shelly Knotts

Caroline Mitchell

Robin Daniels

Janet Beveridge

Elsie Ronald

Alicia Ward

Ian Bower

Trevor Sewell

Peter Bell

Susan Day

Richard Day

Jake Morris-Campbell

John Shield

Caroline Shield

Colin Davison

Alan Fentiman

Suzy O'Hara

Y7 Pupils at Whitburn Church of England Academy

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Test Pit is an interactive sound mixing interface created for the Sound Dig section of the Blue Futures exhbition at The Word, South Shields in 2023.

Whitburn Remixed was created with Y7 Pupils at Whitburn Church of England Academy. The young people used coding to create soundscapes and video inspired by the sounds and stories of Whitburn. The sounds and videos used were recorded in Whitburn or created using the softwares Sonic Pi and Hydra. The video work which was exhibited as part of the Blue Futures exhbition at The Word, South Shields in 2023.