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Gallery 1 > North-East of England > Seaham Pier, County Durham
Seaham, formerly Seaham Harbour, is a small town in County Durham, situated 6 miles (9.7 km) south of Sunderland and 13 miles (21 km) east of Durham. It has a small parish church, St Mary the Virgin, with a late 7th century Anglo Saxon nave resembling the church at Escomb in many respects. St Mary the Virgin is one of the 20 oldest surviving churches in the UK. Seaham is currently twinned with the German town of Gerlingen.
Its Harbour was hewn from the cliffs in order to transport coal from neighbouring mines. Mining dominated the landscape for almost 150 years. Colliery waste disposal from Seaham’s three deep mines, which reached out more than 3 miles under the North Sea, seemed to have irreversibly spoiled the stunningly beautiful beaches and coastline. But nature was to have the last word and when the pits finally closed in 1992, the sea began a clean up which to many of us is a miracle. The local communities and councils worked their socks off to contribute to the transformation which still continues.