I’m really getting bogged down with entries for my blog! I’ll have to stop going places and doing things!
This was another outing that Colin and I had while he was recovering from his op. We had been up to Middlesbrough for his check up at the hospital, and from there drove to the coast and the seaside town of Saltburn – or Saltburn-by-the-Sea to give it its proper name! Interesting that an English town name should have the word burn in it, meaning a stream, just as the word means in Scots! Well, I read about that somewhere but can’t seem to find it now. Ah, found it! You can see it here. It’s apparently a word of Saxon origin! Well, well!
It was a bit of a dull dreary day – we’d say dreich in Scotland (dreech with the Scottish CH as in loch!) – and when we parked the car on the road above the pier and got out, it was “blowing a hooligan” as Colin says! The Victorian town of Saltburn-by-the-Sea was built when to go to the seaside for the healthy bracing sea air was becoming popular. The older settlement now known as Old Saltburn was built above the seashore backed by the steep cliffs along that stretch of the coast. It became a fishing village, and small port for the export of alum from the nearby mines, but best known today for its smuggling activities of the 18th and early 19th centuries. The landlord of the Ship Inn, seen on the right, was nicknamed the “King of the Smugglers”.
Victorian Saltburn-by-the-Sea grew up at the top of the cliff, the result of a vision that came to a Victorian gentleman called Henry Pease, and ways were invented to allow access to the lower “prom” or promenade and the newly built 1500 foot pleasure pier. A hoist, which you can see in old pictures here, served the purpose for a while until deemed unsafe, then the present cliff tramway replaced it. You can read about it on the same page. In my own photo you can see Old Saltburn in the distance, and one of the cars of the tramway.
We looked down from the top station at the two cars passing each other and decided to take the lift down from the clifftop and walk out onto the pier for some of the healthy bracing sea air and believe me, it was bracing!
The pier used to be much longer but suffered great damage in various bad storms. Read about the pier here. It was suggested more recently that it be removed altogether but public pressure to keep it ensured that a shorter pier was saved. It is now less than half its original length and underwent refurbishment in 1996. Just recently the “cars” themselves had a facelift and I thought were looking very splendid indeed.
After our walk out to the end of the pier Colin was beginning to feel quite cold – thin blood after his operation? – so we returned to the amusement arcade, tried to work out which of the Penny Falls would be the best bet, though we didn’t play them, then crossed the prom to the lower tramway station for the ride back up the cliff. When we reached the top again we found on some railings some remnants of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee decorations. A small knitted banner showed the Queen and Prince Philip, while a knitted crown sat on the top of the railing – and believe it or not, some of the bunting was also knitted! Amazing!
Looking around at the top of the cliff, the new town of the 1860s looked rather grim, but I could imagine the Victorian ladies in their long wide skirts promenading with their top hatted, bearded and moustached husbands, or having tea in one of the smart new hotels that looked out seaward. I expect a lot of the big new houses opened as guest houses. They didn’t use the term B&B in those days, I wouldn’t think. Our way back home lay through the centre of the Victorian town with its” jewel” street names: Ruby, Diamond, Garnet, Emerald, Amber, Coral and Pearl I have a feeling that a friend of my parents lived in Ruby Street! Saltburn-by-the-Sea probably hasn’t changed much at all since Henry Pease built his “dream” town. I’m sure if he came back tomorrow he would recognise it.
Talk again soon.