A Day Out at Saltburn by the Sea 1863

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Reprinted from the ‘Stockton Gazette and Middlesbro’ Times’ of July 31st 1863

A Day At Saltburn-by-the-Sea

The Stockton and Darlington Railway Company received Royal Assent to extend the railway line from Redcar to Saltburn in the North Riding Railway Act of 23rd July 1858 and the railway station was opened on the 17th August 1861. One of Saltburn’s most prominent features, The Zetland Hotel, was visualised and planned to be just that. The Stockton and Darlington Railway Company built the Zetland - reputed to be one of the world’s first purpose built railway hotels with its own private platform - to a lavish scale in order to attract a wealthy class of customer. The Saltburn Improvement Company was also fully aware that others would view the Railway Company’s investment as a show of confidence in the new town and attract further development. The foundation stone was laid by Lord Zetland on 2nd October 1861. Lord Zetland returned to perform the Hotel’s grand opening ceremony on the 27th July 1863. This article appeared in the ‘Stockton Gazette and Middlesbro' Times’ on the 31st July 1863. ‘Early in the morning of one of the recent glorious summer days we took the train from Middlesbrough, bidding adieu, for a while at least, to the smoke, dust and turmoil of that busy hive of human industry, and soon were whirled away towards the place we had selected for our day’s recreation.’

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A Day at Saltburn-by-the-Sea (Reprinted from the “Stockton Gazette and Middlesbro‟ Times” of July 31 st 1863) A DAY AT SALTBURN. “It is a land of glory and of beauty, Where looks the cottage out on a domain The palace might be proud of.” SHERIDAN KNOWLES


he land of Cleveland is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and attractive in Britain, whether we consider its historical, antiquarian, or commercial features, or its far famed natural beauties and scenic grandeur. Within its limits Nature has bestowed her choicest gifts with a profuse and kindly hand. Every taste may here meet with much to delight, to profit, and to instruct. The lover of the dim and shadowy past has here a boundless sphere for indulgence in the glorious visions of days gone by. Every mountain and hill has its thrilling mystic tale, and every glen it‟s cherished and romantic legend. Scarce a spot but has something to remind us of our stern forefathers. Here a rude cairn takes our thoughts back to the venerable and mysterious Druids who were wont within the gloomy solitudes of the wooded vales to rear their altars and kindle their sacrificial fires. Here many a grand old ruin lifts up its grey and moss grown walls, and “ivy mantled crown”, a monument of departed pomp and greatness, and though slowly mouldering into dust seems as if it bid defiance to the crumbling hand of time. Here, too, is many a sepulchral mound, in which peacefully repose the funeral ashes of our rude and mighty fathers. The devotee of science can here open wide and peruse the marvellous rock-volume on whose stony tablets is indelibly engraven the history of the world ere man became its denizen. The soul panting to woo Nature in all her varied moods may satisfy its deep yearnings, and bask in all her glowing charms. The pencil of the painter dipped in the brightest hues, and the pen of the poet, though his soul be attuned to the sweetest and sublimest melody, may in vain essay to adequately portray Cleveland‟s beauteous scenes. Her mountain peaks and wild embowering vales, her craggy steeps and shady groves, her bleak sombre moors and smiling plains, her leaping cascades and murmuring rills, her beetling cliffs and yawning precipices, with the glorious and everchanging sea, all are grand, beautiful and sublime. Truly Cleveland is “a lovely region of a lovely land.”


arly in the morning of one of the recent glorious summer days we took the train from Middlesbrough, bidding adieu, for a while a least, to the smoke, dust and turmoil of that busy hive of human industry, and soon

were whirled away towards the place we had selected for our day‟s recreation. On alighting at Saltburn, we at once started off upon our rambles. Leaving the railway station, the first object that claimed our attention was the new and magnificent hotel, whose delightful situation and majestic proportions are the theme of so much eulogy; but as we had the whole day before us we decided before visiting this splendid edifice to acquaint ourselves with the natural beauties of the neighbourhood.

domain here present the most charming and romantic views, and nowhere along the whole extent of the coast are so many advantages combined as at Saltburn. The scenery is unsurpassable for variety and beauty while the sands which fringe the coast are firm and of an immense width, and stretch away in an uninterrupted line of about eight miles; indeed the sands here are acknowledged to be the finest on the English coast, while the climate is remarkable for its salubrity. Here, and we doubt not that all that skill and capital can accomplish with the aid of natural advantages he rise of Saltburn is due to the energy, will be put forth, and that Saltburn will in a enterprise and public spirit of the short time become what it is intended it shall directorate of the Stockton and Darlington be a first rate watering place. Railway Company, and the Saltburn Improvement Company. These gentlemen tanding on the summit of the lofty following in the wake of that marvellous spirit eminence upon which the hotel is erected of progress which is so marked a characteristic we have on the one hand a boundless view of of the age, and which has nowhere realised a the German Ocean, whose tide washes the more rapid and successful development than in base of the hill whence we look, while on the this district of Cleveland, selected Saltburn as other hand is an extensive land view, and the scene of a project which we feel persuaded immediately before us lies a deep valley will prove successful as a commercial running inland. At the foot of this valley and speculation, and will add another proof to the close upon the beach stands Old Saltburn, soundness of the policy which has always famous once as an entrepot of contraband distinguished their undertakings. The idea of goods. There is perhaps no part of the British creating a new watering place was certainly a coast more noted for the active part which its bold one and might have staggered less shrewd inhabitants once took in the smuggling traffic and sanguine minds, but where capital and nor indeed could there be a place more suited enterprise have already effected so much we for it, and even down to within the memory of can have no fear for the result. In the selection many still living the “trade” was carried on to of this spot the highest judgement has been an enormous extent. Leaving the hill alluded to shown. The whole range of the North-Eastern we descend the valley and after crossing the coast is famous for its bold, varied and little “burn,” which gives its name to the place beautiful scenery; the rugged cliffs and we climb to the brow of Cat Nab, a conical towering headlands which skirt the sea‟s shaped hill rising from the beach, from the



foam, or they gently kiss the sandy beach, and send up to us a never-ceasing sullen murmur, as if bemoaning the havoc they have made. There is an indescribable charm in the sea. At one time lashed into ungovernable fury, its angry billows dash in mighty force along the trembling shore, or lie peacefully at rest, calm as childhood‟s happy dreams. How beautiful and true is CAMPBELL‟S “Apostrophe to the Sea”. – “Earth has not a plain So boundless and so beautiful as thine, The eagle‟s vision cannot take it in ; The lightning‟s glance too weak to sweep its space, Sinks half-way o‟er it like a wearied bird. It is a mirror of the stars where all Their hosts within the concave firmament, Gay marching to the music of the spheres, Can see themselves at once.”

summit of which we enjoyed a pleasing prospect and a cool refreshing breeze. At the foot of this miniature mountain and fronting to the sea there stood till within about twenty years ago a row of low-roofed cottages, with a public house at the southern extremity. This house was kept by one Andrews who is said to have been one of the first to introduce smuggling at Saltburn, and who is still spoken of as one of the most daring and successful of smugglers. The wife of the present worthy landlord of the public house now standing on the spot is a grand-daughter of this smuggler, and Mr John Andrews, master of the Cleveland Fox Hounds which are kennelled in the neighbourhood is another relative of the same notorious individual. Many a thrilling tale of bold adventure and hair-breadth escapes is still recounted by even middle-aged people, in their reminiscences of those smuggling days. Some idea of the extent to which this illicit traffic was carried on may be formed when it is stated that when the row of eleven cottages just referred to was demolished everyone was found to possess a secret vault for the stowing away of the booty. Indeed, we were informed by trustworthy persons who have spent nearly the whole of their lives upon the spot that every house in the locality had similar means for the concealment of goods, and that Cat Nab and the adjoining hills were literally honeycombed with hollow eaves for the same purpose. It would be difficult to find on any part of the coast a locality better adapted than this for smuggling, as the bold rocky shore and numerous deep and narrow gorges would afford abundant facilities for the prosecution of this adventurous but lawless calling. Tradition asserts that Will Watch, the “Bold Smuggler,” performed some of his most brilliant exploits and at last found a grave, in the neighbourhood of Saltburn. About seventy years ago this part of the English coast was thrown into a state of the utmost alarm by the appearance in these waters of several vessels under the command of that most celebrated

American pirate and sea rover Paul Jones, who hile standing upon the edge of this made a descent upon Skinningrove about four towering promontory, and gazing down miles from Saltburn, but did little harm beyond the fearful precipice below, we are vividly frightening the inhabitants, and fortunately the reminded of SHAKESPEARE‟S fine description affair proved nearly bootless. of the cliff at Dover, and with “Lear” say –



eaving the snug and picturesque village of Saltburn, we wend our way along the beach in the direction of Huntcliffe Nab, a fine bold cliff rising about 360ft above the sea. At the foot of this cliff lie immense masses of stone which have become detached from the rocks overhead, rendering it highly dangerous to approach too near the cliff, as these blocks – some of them of many tons weight, are continually falling. These rocks are the haunt of many varieties of sea fowl, and formerly, when their numbers were greater than they are now, it was a favourite sport of the more daring and adventurous spirits of the neighbourhood to hunt for their eggs by being lowered by ropes over the edge of the cliff. In the strata of these rocks, which belong to the Lias system, the geological student will find a rich harvest, as they abound with every species of fossil peculiar to the alum beds of that system. When the tide has receded, the lowlying rocks are found covered with many varieties of the most beautiful sea weeds, and crabs, lobsters and other shell fish are caught here in abundance. Retracing our steps we climb the cliff near the flagstaff of the coastguard station, close to which fifteen or sixteen years ago a human body was dug up and afterwards re-buried. We then walked along the edge of the cliff to the brow of Huntcliffe Nab. We are now about 360ft above the level of the sea. It is impossible to describe the enchanting scene that lies below. Before us is the German Ocean, scarcely ruffled by the gentle breeze which has lulled it into rest like a giant reposing in slumber. Stretching far away as the eye can reach into the hazy horizon, its surface is studded with many a snow white sail. On the dark and half-sunken rocks below the white crested wave dash in sheets of living

“How fearful And dizzy „tis to cast our eyes so low! The crows and choughs that wing the midway air Show scarce so gross as beetles; * * * The fishermen that walk upon the beach Appear like mice; and you tall anchoring bark Diminished to her cock; her cock a buoy Almost too small for sight: the murmuring surge That on the unnumber‟d idle pebbles chafes, Cannot be heard so high:- I‟ll look no more Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight Topple down headlong.”


rom this eminence on a fine clear day a most extensive prospect may be enjoyed. To the right, along the coast stretches a long series of lofty and precipitous cliffs, and to the left may be seen Marske, Redcar, Hartlepool, Sunderland and Tynemouth, and at times the Cheviot hills may be descried. Looking westward, the view extends to the hills of Westmoreland and Cumberland, while the prospect nearer home is very pleasing. At a short distance from Huntcliffe Nab is Worsett hill, upon which are still visible the remains of a small encampment here during the peninsular war, when an invasion of our shores was dreaded from our Gallic neighbours. Relics of antiquity abound in this locality, and at a short distance from Huntcliffe Nab Mr J. Temple, the landlord of the Ship Inn, at Saltburn, made an interesting discovery four or five years ago. While cutting a drain Mr Temple came upon an ancient tomb about four feet from the surface of the soil. The tomb was formed of stone slabs, and on raising the covering the remains of a human body were found. But the air had scarcely been admitted into the cavity than its contents crumbled into dust, and nothing soon remained but a few bones.


n returning to Saltburn we took a stroll through the valley which separates Old and New Saltburn. This glen, which extends several miles, affords one of the most delightful rambles it is possible to conceive. Along the bottom of this valley glides a little stream, and through the densely wooded glen pleasant walks have been made, with pretty rustic seats at intervals. A portion of these grounds are laid out with admirable taste and skill, and at this season of the year presented a charming picture of floral beauty. Art is here waging a rivalry with nature, and the two combined have wrought a scene of surpassing splendour. Higher up the glen the scene assumes a wilder and more romantic aspect. The sunbeams darting aslant through the foliage light up its gloomy shades with a thousand brilliant hues. The solemn stillness reigns unbroken only by the warbling of the birds or murmurs of the stream as it flows onward to the sea. It is indeed a vale “Whose walks are ever pleasant; every sense Is rich in beauty, lively or serene.”

by James 1st to be tutor to the amiable prince Henry, while on a visit to some of the papal domains where alum was procured, was struck with the close resemblance of the ore to some of the rocks on his Guisbrough estate, and upon his return home he was induced to examine these rocks. He was successful, and the first alum works in this country were commenced. His pontifical majesty was so incensed at this step that he excommunicated this worthy knight. Looking westward the celebrated Roseberry Topping is seen lifting up its rugged brow far above the surrounding heights, and reminds us of its strange legend of the death of the infant prince Oswy, and of the many traces of British dwellings still to be clearly seen upon its precipitous sides. To the right is seen the village of Upleatham, and near it the beautiful mansion of the Earl of Zetland. In the midst of this valley and at about six miles from Saltburn, lies the near little town of Guisbrough, famed for its magnificent ruins of a priory, founded it is supposed, early in the twelfth century.


y this time the slowly descending sun ere, shut out from the cares and turmoil began to cast long shadows around, of the busy world, the sorrow stricken giving warning of departing day, so we soul may find that quiet and repose the city reluctantly quitted these lovely glades and cannot yield; here the lover of nature may hold returned to Saltburn. commuting with his love, for


“Methinks Amid such scenes as these the poets soul Might best attain full growth; pine covered rocks And mountain forests of eternal shade, And glens and vales on whose green quietness The lingering eye reposes.”


fter a long walk through the wooded slopes the valley gradually widens and at length there is spread before the eyes a most pleasing and varied landscape. The vale stretches far away in the distance and is shut in by gently rising uplands which terminate in lofty hills, some showing their craggy peaks, others covered with ling, moss and fern, while the summit of others are crowned with trees. To the left is seen the village of Skelton, and a short distance from it is the castle from which it takes its name, the seat of Mr J. T. Wharton, Esq. The castle has a most delightful situation, being surrounded with extensive woods and beautiful grounds. This place is one of great antiquity and enjoys the celebrity of being the cradle of a race of illustrious kings, nobles and warriors, from whom sprang that noble champion of Scottish freedom and independence, Robert Bruce, a hero whose name and chivalric deeds will live forever in Scottish annals. It was in one of the hills before us that about two centuries and a half ago the first alum works in England were opened. Graves in his history states that Sir Thomas Chaloner, the proprietor of the Guisborough estate, and who was appointed


ur next visit is to the magnificent Zetland hotel. This princely pile of masonry is a most splendid specimen of architectural taste and skill. The foundation stone was laid by the Right Honourable the Earl of Zetland, K.G.,

on the 2nd October 1861. The building, which is in the Italian style of architecture, was designed by Mr Peachey, architect, of Darlington, and will cost upwards of £30,000 pounds. The principal front is five stories high, and 180ft long, it has a south-eastern aspect, and presents a most imposing appearance. Two spacious terraces, with neatly perforated balustrades, surmounted with elegant flower vases, surround the front and sides, and a neat balcony runs round the second storey. In the centre, at the front, a semi-circular tower rises above the rest of the building, in the uppermost storey of which is a telescope room, surrounded by another balcony. Access to the roof of this tower is gained by a circular staircase. From every part of the building the most varied and extensive views may be commanded in every direction. At one glance the eye takes in every variety of scene. Here is the ever-changing and beautiful sea, the yawning precipice, the cloud-capped mountain, there is the craggy peak, the wide spreading sombre moor, and quiet secluded vale. Here are long ridges of blue and undulating hills, whose rocky declivities are dotted with woods which for centuries past have waved in the breeze, and still flourish in the height of Nature‟s vernal pride, there are scattered in rich profusion the hoary relics of the past, and many a quiet little town is seen snugly nestling in the bosom of the lovely valleys. Here are seen the mighty river, mountain tarn, leaping cascade, the rippling stream and gentle rill. In short, within the ken

etc., thereby avoiding the inconvenience of their carriage along the passages by hand. There is also at each end a private staircase for the use of the waiters and other domestics. Over the kitchens are a suite of billiard and smoke-rooms, which are approached by a passage covered in glass over the back entrance.

of vision “Fields, lawns, hills, valleys, all appear Clad in varied beauties of the year. Meandering waters, waving woods are seen, And cattle scattered in each distant green; Here curling smoke from cottages ascends There towers the hill, and there the valley bends.”


uch is, indeed, but a faint picture of the lovely scenes in this garden of nature – scenes which, if once beheld, are impressed upon the mind forever.


he railway runs close up to the entrance of the building which is at its back, underneath a handsome glass roof. Passing up a broad flight of steps we found ourselves in a large entrance hall, and perceive that a wide corridor with a tessellated pavement divides the building into two parts, and at each end is crossed at right angles by a smaller corridor. The front portion on this floor consists of drawing and sitting rooms, the centre room being a library and newsroom which is supplied with an excellent selection of standard works in every department of literature as well as with many first-class periodicals and newspapers. The coffee-room is at the southern end of this corridor, and is splendidly fitted up; the ladies‟ coffee room is at the opposite end of the building and is also beautifully fitted up. The back portion of the building on this storey, divided by the long lobby, is devoted to the servants‟ apartments. The staircases leading to the upper storeys are very fine pieces of workmanship, the arches being supported on marble columns richly ornamented. The windows lighting the staircases are of cut glass with white centres and beautifully stained borders. The second and third floors are similarly divided by corridors, and comprise bedrooms, many of which have separate dressing-rooms attached. Each floor contains lavatories and bath-rooms, provided with baths of almost every description, and supplied with fresh hot and cold and salt water. Besides the ordinary means of warming by fire-grates the building is warmed by hot water pipes, which extend along the corridors, and are covered over with marble slabs. The cooking kitchens are divided from the main building by two underground passageways, and are provided with extensive close ranges. At each end of the building is an apparatus for lowering provisions, luggage


he internal arrangements of this establishment evince a thorough knowledge of its requirements, and are admirably adapted to its purpose. Every apartment is fitted up with exquisite taste and elegance; and in the various rooms, of which there are eighty-five or eighty-six, every available appliance which modern art and skill have suggested has been adopted to enhance the comfort and convenience of visitors. It must not be supposed that this establishment is one adapted for the wealthy alone. Such is not, and never was, the object of its proprietors. It is intended to be a “home” for the humble as well as for the great; and the tariff is so adjusted that while the most stupendous and luxurious taste may be amply gratified, the humblest tradesman will find it equally suited to his wants and circumstances.


uring our “day at Saltburn” we were very kindly shown over the whole establishment, and were as much surprised as delighted with the excellent arrangements and features of the establishment. One thing which afforded no small amount of interest and gratification was the system of “electric bells for domestic purposes.” This novel and useful invention is an infinite improvement upon the old system of communication by ordinary wires and bells, and so admirably is it adapted to this purpose, that there is little doubt it will in time supersede the present means of communication in similar establishments. The principal apparatus is fixed in the chambermaid‟s apartment, and, by means of electricity and a beautifully contrived system

of wires, a communication is established from this apartment with every room in the building. The principal portion of the apparatus consists of two indicators, each about three feet wide and deep, and when suspended on the wall for operation resemble a framed picture. The portion within the frame has a black ground, and contains about forty small squares, in which are various numbers and words. Each of these squares has a communication with some room, so that the domestic has the means of instantaneous communication with every part of the establishment. A person requiring attendance in any department has only to pull an ordinary bell handle; this sets the bell ringing in the attendant‟s room, and immediately a number appears on one of the squares in the indicator, and the servant sees at a glance in which apartment attendance is required, as every room door has a number corresponding with one on the indicator. Each apparatus requires only one bell, so that the annoyance of several bells ringing at once, so common in many hotels and genteel residences, is entirely avoided. All the connecting wires are out of sight, being beneath the papering of the rooms, or are covered with a material so closely resembling the colour of the decoration of the walls as to be unseen. By this apparatus any servant in the house, and almost any article that is required, may be called for by one signal. And the domestics can return a reply to the call, or to any inquiry, without moving from his or her room. In construction the apparatus is wonderfully simple, and can scarcely get out of repair, while the original cost and expense of keeping it in working order are surprisingly cheap. The apparatus was in use in the late Exhibition, where it attracted much attention, and is adopted in Windsor Castle and many noblemen‟s residences and first-class hotels; and we are convinced that this beautiful invention needs only to be better known to ensure its general adoption. On our visit, the nature and mode of working the apparatus

were kindly and most intelligently explained to us by Mr John Conway, who has superintended its application here for the agents, Messrs. Newall and Co., of Sloanestreet, London.


e must now speak of Saltburn as a watering place, and we have little hesitation in expressing our opinion that there is not another spot upon the entire English coast which affords such excellent sea bathing as this. From Huntcliffe Nab to the Tees bay a distance of eight miles there runs an uninterrupted beach of the most beautiful, firm and dry sands. For extent and suitability for sea bathing the sands at Saltburn and Redcar are unrivalled, and far surpass those of the most fashionable watering place on any part of the coast. In this respect Saltburn will prove a most formidable rival to the other watering places on this coast, not excepting even Scarborough though that place has acquired the designation of “Queen of watering places,” while its natural beauties, its romantic scenery, its seclusion and salubrity of climate will soon make it one of the best frequented and most celebrated of our numerous health resorts.


esides the places we have alluded to in the immediate neighbourhood of Saltburn there are numerous others of great interest to the intelligent visitor. At a distance of about two miles by the sands is Marske a pleasant village in the churchyard of which are interred the father and several relatives of Captain James Cook, the famous navigator, whose birthplace was at Marton a village about a dozen miles distant. Near the village is Marske hall a splendid specimen of Elizabethan architecture formerly occupied by Lord Dundas, and now by W. H. Yeoman, Esq. There is also adjoining the beach a noble castellated mansion, the marine residence of J. Pease, Esq. Four miles further along the sands is Redcar a noted watering place whose sands are the theme of admiration for every visitor. Taking the line of the coast in a southern direction, about four miles off is Skinningrove which is a small village lying in a little bay. In the neighbourhood of Skinningrove the scenery is very fine, the coast being intersected with numerous deep ravines that were once infested with smugglers. The walk from Saltburn to Skinningrove along the cliffs on a fine clear day is a rich treat for all who have a taste for what is grand and beautiful in nature. Two or three miles further along the coast is Boulby where are some of the most extensive alum works in England, Boulby cliffe is 660 feet above the sea level, and Professor Phillips speaking of it in his “Geology of Yorkshire” calls it “the loftiest of all the precipices which guard the English coast.” One of the most remarkable places on this part of the coast is Staithes, a fishing station. The situation of this

place is the most singular and romantic that can be conceived, lying in the bottom of a deep and narrow creek the rocks in some places overhanging the houses several hundreds of feet. Sea fishing in all its branches may be seen carried on here, and to an admirer of the picturesque the spot and its locality offer many attractions. Further on a distance of four miles is Runswick another most remarkably built place. Bigland describes it in the following terms. “It stands on the declivity of a steep and rugged rock, the top of which projecting in an awful manner, threatens to overwhelm the inhabitants; and strangers are both amazed and astonished, when, in winding along the narrow paths between the dwellings, they may on one side enter the door of a dwelling house, and from thence look down the chimney of another.” There is here a fine bay, and further along the coast about twenty miles from Saltburn is Whitby. The localities of interest inland are both numerous and very attractive. Just above Huntcliffe and on the

brow of a range of high hills stands Brotton from the churchyard of which a fine prospect is obtained of the sea and the surrounding country. At a short distance from Brotton is Kilton Castle, one of the most magnificent piles of ruins in this part of the country and once the strongest baronial fortress in Cleveland. In the neighbourhood of the castle are several petrifying wells regarded as great natural curiosities. Nor must we forget to mention the celebrated Roseberry Topping, a conical shaped hill rising above a thousand feet above the level of the sea., and with which are linked numerous interesting historical and legendary associations. In short it would require more space than we can command only to mention all the different places and objects of attraction in the neighbourhood worthy the attention of the visitor. We must therefore now leave the subject, and in doing so hope that if any of our readers should visit the locality they will find as much to interest and delight them as we did during our “day at Saltburn.”

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