Seaham Hall Beach: England’s Sea Glass Treasure Chest

Sea glass collected on Seaham Hall Beach in February 2016

Seaham is a small town on the North Sea coast in County Durham. You will find it just to the south of Sunderland and east of Durham.

Formerly known as 'Seaham Harbour', the population is around 22,000.

Movie trivia: The town provided locations for the 2000 film Billy Elliot, as well as the opening scene of Alien 3 in 1992.

Seaham's Sea Glass History

Until 1921, Seaham boasted the largest glass-bottle works in Britain.

Londonderry Bottleworks produced up to 20,000 hand-blown bottles each day and S.S. Oakwell known as the "bottleboat" would leave Seaham harbour to deliver its cargo to warehouses in Rotherhithe, returning via Antwerp with silver sand.

Welcome to Seaham road sign

The vessel sank in 1917 after hitting a German mine at Robin Hood's Bay, claiming four lives.

The factory itself was put out of business by competition from more efficient continental producers.

Where Does Seaham Sea Glass Come From?

By 1872, John Candlish's Londonderry Bottle Company had six glasshouses at Seaham. At the end of the day, any discarded and waste glass was dumped into the North Sea.

After many years of 'surf tumbling' the glass is washed up on Seaham beaches with every tide. Some of the glass is more than a hundred years old, polished smooth by Mother Nature.

So Much Sea Glass!

Of all the beaches I have combed for sea glass, Seaham has the most plentiful supply by a long way.

As always, clear and green glass is the most common but I have also found yellow, blue, aqua, turquoise, red and some mixed colors.

I'm used to picking up every piece of sea glass I can find, but at Seaham you soon start to leave the smaller pieces and concentrate on the better stuff instead.

There is lots of glass in plain sight, but here's my favorite trick; find a pile of shingle, take of the top layer and reveal dozens of glass shards underneath.

These will often be small, but you will also find larger pieces and some rare colors too.

There is a huge amount of sea glass on Seaham Hall Beach.
What to do with Seaham Sea Glass

Most collectors will display their sea glass in vases or jars, but Gavin Hardy has made a fantastic business from his findings.

He makes beautiful sea glass jewelry which you can buy from his shop in the town center, or through his website.

Gavin was recently featured in BBC's Countryfile TV show and since then, business has gone through the roof!

One of his rare finds was this huge green lump.

If it's not the biggest piece of sea glass I'll ever hold in my lifetime, I'll be amazed!

Getting to Seaham

There is a train station in the town and good public transport links, but the easiest way to travel to Seaham - especially during winter months - is by car.

I have found that Seaham Hall Beach is a great spot with plenty of parking and, more importantly, sea glass! If you're using GPS, the post code is: SR7 7AD.

There is plenty of parking for sea glass collectors at Seaham Hall Beach

These steps take you from the car park down to the beach. This isn't a problem on the way down, but after a few hours of stooping to pick up sea treasure they can be quite a challenge!

Steps leading down to Seaham Hall Beach. Easy on the way down, but tougher to walk back up after collecting sea glass!
Seaham Hall Beach, Durham during February 2016

Update: February 2017

WOW! we were fortunate enough to visit Seaham for a third time and it was amazing AGAIN!

​Take a look at our recent photos of all the beautiful pieces of sea glass that we found.

Multi sea glass from Seaham Beach, English sea glass.

Can you see the pink sea glass at the top?

Seaham Beach winter visit. Sea glass beach.

We had great weather in February.

Seaham multie colored sea glass, purple sea glass, blue sea glass, aqua sea glass.

As always, we found lots of multi-colored sea glass at Seaham Hall Beach.

Red sea glass, Blue sea glass, multie sea glass all from Seaham, England.

Huge pieces of sea glass, including 3 red!

Multie colored sea glass from Seaham Beach, England
Green, aqua, blue and clear sea glass from Seaham, England.

Can't wait to start sorting!

We also visited Gavin Hardy from Seaham Waves. I bought a beautiful pair of sea glass earrings - as pretty as you'd expect fro one of the best sea glass jewelry makers in the world. 

Steve

Steve

I was introduced to the beauty of sea glass by Jonna back in 2015. Right away I was hooked on this wonder of nature and it's a great reason to visit the beach more often!

2 Comments

  1. Hi, Jonna…I’ve heard that you have some pics of beach glass jewelry on your facebook, but I don’t have facebook. I’d love to see some photos here on this “beach lust” website. I’m also hoping to start collecting some sea glass as well. Maybe you can give me some pointers and suggestions on the best places to find the best. Love your site. Thanks, too, for giving us something so unusual, beautiful and fun to look for. It’s like treasure hunting. Denise

    1. Hi Denise, Thank you for checking out our site. We are working on a few new posts and categories at this very moment and we will post to Beach Lust website as well as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest in the next couple of days, including our sea glass jewelry.

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