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.
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......
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.