A FIRST VISIT TO SALTBURN-BY-THE-SEA
Where is Saltburn-by-the-Sea? I fancy I hear someone say, and if a smile goes forth at such ignorance, I must confess that, until it was recommended to me this Spring as a seaside resort, I never heard of it before. But that others may have enjoyment similar to that which I have experienced, I will endeavour to tell where it is and what it is. It is situated on the North Yorkshire coast, near Middlesbro’, between Whitby and Redcar, and is a run of six hours from London. To the jaded and weary man, exhausted with the fierce battle of every-day life, longing for rest and quiet, and to his equally tired wife (servant troubles included), I can imagine no better place to spend the Summer holiday. The air is clear, pure and bracing, and reminds me much of Cromer in this respect – you can drink in ozone all the day long (and night, too, if you keep your windows open), and the houses being built high up on the cliff give every facility for inhaling the fresh sea breeze. There is a plentiful supply of seats all along the sea cliff; they are eagerly sought for from early morning till late at night, some reading, some lounging, others laughing and chatting, and I have seen – but name it not – others making love.
An Incline Tramway takes you down to the sands if you are too idle to walk, and here ‘Paradise’ begins, both for old and young. The sands are so long and firm that cycling and horse exercise are indulged in daily, when the tide recedes sufficiently.
The bathing accommodation is excellent, and for those who can swim in the briny deep, a boat is always in attendance in case of accident. But this is not all, the little folk have their spades and buckets, and it curious to note the wonderful and many devices they make so cleverly in the sand. Then there are the ‘Star Minstrels’ to enliven the scene, not ‘Black Christy’s’ but ‘White Minstrels,’ whose honest English faces beam with good humour and intelligence; one sings songs of a superior class to that generally heard on a sea-beach, and certainly worthy of a concert hall.
Another has a very kindly and enticing way with children; they join with him in his chorus songs, and it was quite a site to see him surrounded by a happy crowd of laughing little ones, joining with heart and glee in the lively and innocent ditties. A third minstrel is so comic: well to look is to laugh! The minstrel trio is accompanied by a harp and violin. For those who are of a more solid turn of mind there are very nice children’s mission services higher up on the beach; addresses are given, the children instructed, and, while a
young lady plays a harmonium, the sweet voices of the children ring out to the still sweeter hymns.
A clever ventriloquist displays his talents through his marionettes, and I must confess it was a very unique and amusing entertainment. There is a pier on which the band plays in the afternoons and evenings; also in the Gardens. It is a fairly good one, ably conducted, and the men are of one accord in their playing, not running after one another like fugitives from justice.
With regard to house accommodation there are furnished houses to be had, and plenty of rooms, both large and small, also several very fine hotels. The Zetland and Alexandra are quite palatial and have a lovely view of the sea over the land.
I had the good fortune to stay at the Stanley and Huntcliffe House, a boarding establishment, with, I may say, the finest view (par excellence) in the whole place. It directly faces the sea, a balcony runs along the front of the house, and the delicious sound of the ever-murmuring waves goes on for ever and ever. The moans of the ‘sad sea waves’ does not seem to apply to Saltburn-by-the-Sea. They rather suggest the bright hope that the same Almighty Power which
has made them in the past a pleasure and delight to so many, and still continues them in the present, will prolong the same for ages yet to come. There are some valuable brine baths in Saltburn, ten times the strength of the sea, which many rheumatic patients are advised to take after having gone through a course of the Harrogate Waters. Also a salt swimming bath heated to 70 degrees and open on certain days to ladies. The town is small, but the shops are good and cater well for the visitors. The streets leading down to the sea are all named after precious stones, and it gives a quaint sound to the whole place, Pearl, Ruby, Coral, Emerald etc. For those who love quiet and retirement there are very pretty woods at each end of the town where one may sit and read by the hour together.
There are also shade and solitude to be found in the public gardens, and I only wish my pen could do justice to the latter. Truly, they are the very prettiest gardens I have ever seen; both nature and art have combined to make them exquisitely beautiful. They lie in a valley, spanned over by a lofty iron bridge, on one side well wooded, and on the other a wild glen, which is now carefully kept in order, but still retaining its old characteristics. There are fine tennis courts, a band stand, and plenty of seats.
A little further on the beautiful Italian Gardens come in view, they represent an exquisite piece of carpet gardening and are kept in such perfect order that it seem scarcely possible human fingers can have accomplished anything so clever, and one naturally feels inclined to say, ‘Do not come to Saltburn-bythe-Sea’. The place is quiet, though not deadly dull, as I have shown by the lively sands; there are no steamers to bring crowds of excursionists, and trippers by train are not too many; a little smartening and dressing up goes a long way, and people seem to live during the season in a sort of happy-go-lucky way, out and in, in and out, just as the fancy seizes them, nothing to do, no demand made upon them, but just to rest and rest till they forget the troubles from which they have flown away. To those who are content with this happy frame of mind, I would advise a visit to this charming little place.
I must not forget to mention there is good boating and fishing, and last, though not least, a fine large Parish Church, where there are services every day in the week, and on Sunday you may be sure of hearing a really good sermon. A LITTLE LADY FROM BATH ‘Bladud,’ The Bath Society Paper, Oct 6, /98 This article was originally published in the Saltburn Times on Saturday, July 8, 1899 Pamphlet © saltburnbysea.com