This book hopes to serve as a taster for those unfamiliar with Whitby’s picturesque past. It is not intended as a complete guide book, nor to portray the full story of Whitby’s history. Other writers have already accomplished this. Readers who have already wandered the tangled streets may find more detail on aspects of curiosity. New visitors may find appetites whetted for further knowledge, or merely regard the book as a souvenir. Whatever, the shadows of the past invariably encroach on both present and future. History’s dark corners often yield surprises.
As a child I holidayed in Whitby with my parents. I played on the sands, ran helter-skelter down time-worn steps between jumbled cottages and watched fishermen land their morning catch. Some childhood memories last forever. The tangy salt breeze, mewing gulls, and the ruined abbey stark against the sky. I've maintained a connection and been interested in Whitby ever since, growing crumbs of knowledge about the town’s history bringing more understanding of what Whitby was and is. I hope sharing it with you will heighten the pleasure of your visit. The finest of English pastimes, a sunny day by the sea...
Old postcards were begged and borrowed from Tommy Young and Peter Winspear. Hood's Beautiful Cleveland published 1897 provided one illustration, Gaskin's Old Seaport of Whitby (1909) another. The map and all the contemporary photographs are the work of the author. Thanks are also due to the staff of Redcar, Middlesbrough and Whitby libraries, the voluntary staff of Pannett Park Museum at Whitby, the Rev B.A. Hopkinson of St Mary's Church, Cordelia Stamp for her tireless work in preserving Whitby's history, Rodney Peart, Eddie Guy of Signart Saltburn and Peter Sotheran of A.A. Sotheran, all of whom contributed in some measure to this book. Lastly, my wife Susan for her encouragement and unfailing support.
Original text, map & author photos © 1988. Additional author photos ©2011