The port of Blyth dates from the 12th century, but the development of the modern town only began in the first quarter of the 18th century. The main industries which helped the town prosper were coal mining and shipbuilding, with the salt trade, fishing and the railways also playing an important role. These industries have largely vanished, but the port still thrives, shipping paper and pulp from Scandinavia for the newspaper industries of England and Scotland
The town was seriously affected when its principal industries went into decline, and it has undergone much regeneration since the early 1990s. The Keel Row Shopping Centre, opened in 1991, brought major high street retailers to Blyth, and helped to revitalise the town centre. The market place has recently been re-developed, with the aim of attracting further investment to the town.
The Quayside has also seen much redevelopment and has been transformed into a peaceful open space, the centrepiece of which is a sculpture commemorating the industry which once thrived there. There were, on the opposite side of the river are the nine wind turbines of the Blyth Harbour Wind Farm, which were constructed along the East Pier in 1992. They were joined in 2000 by Blyth Offshore Wind Farm, which is composed of two turbines situated 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) out to sea. Although the original 9 turbines have now been demolished, there is currently one bigger turbine on the North Blyth side with building work taking place on a second turbine.