WHITLEY BAY AND SEATON SLUICE HISTORY TOUR, by Ken Hutchinson. Published by Amberley Publishing (www.amberley-books.com). £6.99. Softback.

THIS pocket-sized book takes readers on a guided walk offering a unique insight into the history of the two seaside towns. Travelling through the streets and alleyways, it shows how famous landmarks used to look and how they have changed over the years, as well as exploring lesser-known sights and hidden corners.

With the help of a handy location map, readers can follow a timeline of events and discover for themselves the changing face of these two towns. The first records of the name Whitley go back as far as 1116, and Ralph de Whitley was the owner in 1225. It started life as a small agricultural village then, beginning in the 17th century, a place where coal mining and quarrying took place.

When the railway reached Whitley in the late 1800s, the town rapidly developed as a holiday destination and residential commuter town for Newcastle. The town only became Whitley Bay in 1901 following an unfortunate incident following the death of a local resident in Scotland. His body was sent back to his home town by train but ended up by error in Whitby.

Seaton Sluice was formerly known as Seaton, a name adopted by the landowning De La Val family for the nearby settlement of Seaton Delaval. It became Seaton Sluice in the 1660s when Sir Ralph Delaval erected sluice gates at Seaton to block the Seaton Burn in order to hold water back which, when released, sluiced sediment out of the harbour to improve access for ships loading cargoes of coal and salt.