Saturday, 8 August 2009


Flower Poppy
Birthstone Peridot

England v Scotland

In 1910, Saltburn was the venue for an international fixture, England v Scotland at bicycle polo. The match was part of the town's carnival, the English side all being members of the Tykes Cycling Club. England won 6-3, the team being ( left to right ) Robinson ( captain ), Tudor and Randall.

Take a bike ride....

It's time to get fit. Why not join the craze for cycling!
Cycling became fashionable during the1870's when the bone shaker was replaced by the 'ordinary' bicycle, such as the Ariel bicycle of 1872. The 'ordinary' bicycles were known affectionately by the 1890's as 'penny farthings' after the 'safety' cycle had replaced them from 1882 onwards.
Easier to maintain than a horse, the bicycle represented not only novelty, but a new independence.
Try cycling Saltburn Bank........

Post past....

Roland Hill's reforms for the postal system began in May 1840 when the first adhesive stamps came into use- the Penny Black and Twopenny Blue- a flat rate charge to any part of Great Britain. These stamps needed to be cut out with scissors. Then in 1854 the Penny Red was introduced that had perforated edges. Postcards with stamps already printed on them were issued in1870; pictorial postcards were allowed from 1894.
Send a postcard as a surprise to a friend!

Bartholomew Fair

In its heyday, Bartholomew Fair was one of the four great fairs of England, and for centuries it was famous nationwide as a major place for entertainment of all kinds, high and low. Mainly low!
In Charles II's time it was so popular that it was known to last fourteen days.
All the major travelling play companies visited the fair every year, and it was famous for puppet plays and religious mystery plays as well as regular drama. There were numerous music and dance shows, acrobats, tightrope walkers, gingerbread sellers, ballad-singers, bearded ladies, fat men, giants, dwarves, fortune-telling horses, mermaids, and , of course, pick-pockets, prostitutes, pimps and vagabonds.
The fair finally ceased in 1855. Much to great opposition!

Lee Gap Fair

Lee Gap Fair, in the parish of Woodkirk, West Ardsley, near Leeds, is one of the surviving horse fairs that still attract a strong gypsy prescence, and its organisers claim it to be the oldest chartered fair in England. A charter granted from King Stephen in 1136, confirming an earlier one, does indeed grant two fairs to the parish of Woodkirk, in August and September, and there are still two Lee fairs: Lee Gap Fair on 17 August, and Latter Lee on 17 September.
Why not take a short break and join in the fun!

Monday, 6 July 2009



July. duc de berry book of hours

The sheep are being shorn and the hay is being reaped.
July is the seventh month of the year in the Georgian Calendar.
6th July Thomas Moore executed by Henry VIII
Birthstone Ruby Red
Birthflower Larkspur
Horoscopes Cancer and Leo

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Fossil Hunting

Fossils, rocks and minerals can be easily with patience and knowledge of where to look and find.
The word ' fossil ' generally means ' the remains or trace evidence of prehistoric life '. The study of fossils is called palaentology.The most common fossils found at Saltburn are belemnites. Saltburn is also well known for ammonites. Be safe and check the tide is in your favour. Happy Hunting!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

The Green Man

In his festive form the 'Green Man' seems to be a harbinger of spring, a celebration of regeneration. Right across the country you may come across him in other forms, from leafy faces carved into cloisters to local plays, or as the Green George, a relative of our patron saint.

Sometimes terrifying, often benign, he can be seen in many old churches, as a leafy mask or with tendrils and leaves emerging from his mouth, on roof bosses, corbels, capitals, tombstones, bench ends, in choir stalls, cloisters and over doorways. More than sixty green men populate Exeter Cathedral.

As a historical presence the Green Man is enigmatic; as a future force he offers a positive face. The leaf stands for the magical transformation of energy from the sun, something that we in our super-sophistication cannot achieve. The tree in its deciduous forms symbolises the cycle of death and re-birth, re-enacted each year as leaves fall and grow again. The Green Man has emerged in our time as a symbol of recognition with nature, of regeneration and hope.

'They found that they were looking at a most extraordinary face. It belonged to a large Man-like, almost Troll-like, figure, at least fourteen feet high, very sturdy, with a tall head, and hardly any neck. Whether it was clad in stuff like green and grey bark, or whether that was its hide, was difficult to say. At any rate the arms, at a short distance from the trunk, were wrinkled, but covered with a brown smooth skin. The large feet had seven toes each. The lower part of the long face was covered with a sweeping grey beard, bushy, almost twiggy at the roots, thin and mossy at the ends. But at the moment the hobbits noted little but the eyes. One felt as if there was an enormous well behind them filled up with ages of memory and long, slow, steady thinking; but their surface was sparkling with the present... like sun shimmering on the outer leaves of a vast tree. I don't know but it felt as if something that grew in the ground - asleep, you might say, or just feeling itself as something between roof-tip and leaf-tip, between deep earth and sky had suddenly woken up.'

Description of Treebeard from 'Lord of the Rings'

Can you find this Green Man in Saltburn?
Where is the Green Man hiding in Guisborough?

Weather Lore

In June, farmers are anxiously looking forward to the harvest, and they could choose from any number of traditonal weather predictions.
In 1869, Richard Inwards recorded in his classic Weather-lore collection:
If on the 8th of June it rain
It foretells a wet harvest, men sain

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


All credit to Laine, my working partner and brilliant web designer. had 4,700 hits this May. Our aim is to promote what a great place Saltburn is to live and visit. Shortly we shall be relaunching a much improved website after a year of research whilst at the same time both of us have worked on our own projects.
Our great thanks to those who visit regularly!

1871 Census Saltburn-by-the-Sea

Robert Everatt, Head Gardener of the Pleasure Grounds, age 33, from Washington, County Durham had at least eleven gardeners working with him to create what we now call the Valley Gardens.
1871 Census.

An aromatic herb garden....

Wild Sage
So you've found yourself with a small garden, or a patio or a sunny window to put flower boxes in. Why not discover the beauty of growing herbs?
Herbs adore full sun but will tolerate shady spots too. If you like you can follow the example of the medieval monastery gardens and create a raised bed with planks. Fill the box with top soil then plant away!
Water regularly and there are lots to choose from.
Why not try: rosemary, sage, lemon balm, thyme, lavender, mint, rue, basil, marjoram, parsley, chives, borage. The list is endless.
My favourite - wild sage!

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme..........

Are you going to Scarbrough Fair
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
Remember me to the one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

My favourite song.


Sunday, 31 May 2009

Saltburn Tramway celebrates its 125th birthday!

It's time to wish a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Saltburns Cliff Lift, the oldest of its type in the world still in operation. I will be working with the guys at the lift this month on a great display. Documents recently acquired by Kirkleatham Museum will be available to view for the first time. As to the exact date when the lift became operational, well, that's a bit of a mystery at the moment but we're working on it ........The official date to celebrate this fantastic anniversary will hopefully be available soon.
During the Bank Holiday nearly 5,300 visitors used the lift. In times of recession Saltburn really needs to rely on the tourist industry to generate income, which in turn generates jobs.
Many thanks to the wonderful staff at Kirkleatham Museum and the GREAT STAFF at the cliff lift with whom I have had the pleasure of working on this great historical event.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Saltburn by the Sea 1874

The development of Saltburn by the Sea 1874

From left to right the buildings are Rokeby Villas, Balmoral Terrace, the Zetland Hotel and Britannia Terrace.

In the foreground we can see the Halfpenny Bridge and to the left of the image is the Albert Memorial which was once the portico of Barnard Castle Station. The paths are well laid out but clearly visible as the planting of the grounds is in its infancy.

Changing fashions.....

Fashions in gardening have changed and evolved over the centuries, and also in recent years. Simply the best for me is the inspiration of just walking freely amongst wooded glens and meadow land. Who wants a manicured garden, sterile lawn , flanked by clipped hedges and shrubs? Not me. You can successfully create the beauty of 'wildlife-friendly gardening' by trying a few new ideas. You might try:
  • one or more tall trees
  • a hedge
  • well-stocked borders
  • an area of lawn, part of which could be a flower meadow
  • a nettle patch
  • a compost heap
  • a rock garden
  • a pond
  • a pile of rotted or rotting logs and branches

Friday, 15 May 2009

Discover wildflowers....

Discover Wildflowers! They are more important to you than you think.
Wildflowers are everywhere; sometimes we take them for granted or treat them as weeds but they have always played an important part in our lives. They were a vital medicine chest, food source and household essential for our ancestors and now modern medicine is discovering cures for serious illnesses like cancer in our hedgerows and woods.
Plants give a place its character and distinctiveness, different groups of plants growing better in different places. They also determine which animals you are likely to find as they are the start of the food chain and many animals only feed on one or two different species of plant.These may well be linked to just one habitat.


What do the place names Rambsbotton in Lancashire, Ramsden in Essex and Ramshott in Suffolk have in common? They are all places named after the ramson or 'wild garlic'. The plant itself has some rather unusual names, including gypsy's gibbles and gypsy's onions in Somerset, ramps in Lancashire and Cumberland, stink plant in Lincolnshire and rommy and roms in Yorkshire.
In Spring the woodland floors are covered with ramsons, their fresh green and white froth, and their incredible smell. Found in shady spots throughout the country the ramson is a key indicator to areas of ancient woodlands.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

A carpet of azure.....

In Spring, the ground of a bluebell wood becomes a carpet of azure as the bluebells intermingle and become a carpet of blue.
As Peter Marren stated 'No woodland scene has the power to move the heart more than a bluebell in May'.
Spring is the season for the bluebell yielding the most glorious spectacle in the botanical world.
Bluebells are shade evaders, taking the chance to grow and flower before the trees are in full glory.
The Elizabethan herbalist Gerard knew it as the English Jacinth, or Blue Harebell, and believed the flowers had 'a strong sweet smell, somewhat stuffing to the head'. The pear-shaped bulbs once generated starch to stiffen Elizabethan ruffs, while the flower stalks were used as a glue for binding books or fixing arrows.
Take a visit this month to Nature's World and view their wonderful display.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

A Day At Saltburn-By-The-Sea. Stockton Gazette and Middlesbro' Times of July 31st, 1863

' 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 somber moor, and quiet secluded vale. Here are long ridges of blue and undulating hills, whose rocky declivities are dotted with woods which for centuries have waved in the breeze. Such is, indeed, but a faint picture of the scenes in this garden of nature - scenes which, if once beheld, are impressed upon the mind for ever.'

The writer of this article is describing the scenery from the uppermost storey of the newly built Zetland Hotel, 1863.

The Walled Garden - Paradise

The earliest known Walled Garden dates from around 500BC, when Cyrus the Great, King of Persia ordered the construction of a Paridaida at Pasargadae. The Paridaida was conceived and constructed as a series of palaces and pavillions placed among geometrically designed gardens, parterres and meticulously hewn dressed stone water-courses, set in a large formal park containing numerous flora and fauna.
The Old Persian Paridaida and Median Peridaiza both mean 'Walled-Around, or Walled Garden'. 'The Greeks translated this into Paradeisoi, then into the Latin Paradisus. From there it entered European languages as Paradis in French and Paradise in English.

Paradise reclaimed......

Paradise reclaimed. Heaven on earth. Why not visit and spend a glorious day at Helmsley Walled Gardens. What could be more relaxing than sun and the beauty of the restored gardens whilst reading Frances Hodgson Burnett's 'The Secret Garden'.
Yesterday I bathed in it's full glory.
Set in the grounds of Duncombe Park the gardens are gradually being restored to their former glory.
Check their website for further details.

Saltburn Cliff Lift

Great website. Check it out!

Yorkshire Post re Saltburn Pier of the Year

All credit to the Friends of Saltburn Pier. What a great achievement we should all celebrate. Norman Bainbridge would have been proud. Founder member and Chairman of the Society he led a formidable campaign for funding to restore the pier, now one of Saltburns main attractions.

Friday, 8 May 2009

UK National Mills Weekend 9th-10th May

During National Mills Weekend, a large number of the UK's remaining windmill and watermills, are open to the public.
Why not visit Tockett's Watermill, nr Guisborough on Sunday the 9th May? (Open between 11am and 4pm)
A 4 storey corn mill built in the 18th Century. Completly restored in the 1990's, with an 18-ft pitchback waterwheel, three pairs of stones and a full set of ancillary machinery. A fully operational mill, producing flour available at Saltburn's health food shop. The flour makes a wonderful loaf.

Seaside tails

Come be my love
Come sit with me
Come be my love
Beside the sea
For I am always with you
In everything you do
I'll be there through adversity
I'm taking care of you
Feel me
Touch me
Smell my hazy ways
Love me
Hold me
And in my eyes to gaze

8th May, Helston Floral Day

Sir Benjamin Stone, 'Helston "Flora Day". The early morning "Furry Dance" through the Town. 1901'
The town of Helston, in Cornwall, maintains what must be the most famous traditional dance customs in Britain. Couples dance through the town, in and out of shops and houses, to a lively tune played by the town's silver band. The dance takes place four times during the day, each time involving a different section of the town's population.

Court Leets

An English criminal court for the punishment of small offences. The use of the word leet, denoting a territorial and a jurisdictional area, spread throughout England in the 14th century, and the term court leet came to mean a court in which a private lord assumed, for his own profit, jurisdiction that had previously been experienced by the sheriff.
Encyclopedia Britannia.

Penny Hedge

Also known as Horngarth this is believed to be the oldest surviving custom in Britain. An annual custom, unique in its continuity, it involves the Hutton family who rent farm land at Fylingdales near Whitby.
Complaints about unreasonable amounts of wood being sold in 1315 seem to have led to the ritual.
At 9am on the eve of Ascention Day stakes are driven with an ancient mallet into the foreshore below the high tide mark near Boyes Staithe in Whitby harbour. Then osiers are woven among the steaks to form a 'hedge' strong enough to withstand three tides. This done, the baliff of the Court Leet of Fyling blows the horn and shouts 'out upon ye, out upon ye'. The penance 'hedge' is a token, but the belief is that if the hedge is swept away by the tides, the tenancy will be lost.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Ever wondered why ... we eat fish and chips at the seaside?

Ever wondered why fish and chips is the classic British take-away meal?
There really is nothing more British than fish and chips with salt and vinegar. It is one of our Great British Institutions.
The spread of the railways in the late 1800's meant that low cost fish - previously thrown back into the sea because it had no market - could be rapidly carried inland. Cheap fried fish became a staple food of the working classes. They looked for it when on holiday too, and soon there were 'chippies' in every holiday resort.
Where did the combination of fish and chips eaten together originate? Do we really know?
It was the French who invented chips or 'pommes de terre a la mode' from the humble potato believed to have been brought to Europe by Sir Walter Raleigh in the 17th century. In 1839 Charles Dickens refers to a 'fried fish warehouse' in Oliver Twist.
In 1860 Joseph Malin opened a shop in Cleveland Street, Bow, east London, combining Franco-Belgic-Irish chips with fish fried in a style popularised by Portugese Jews. From there the traditional fish and chip shop evolved.
Put them together and enjoy your great seaside take-away while strolling along Saltburn Pier enjoying the scenery or sitting on the rocks with a large mug of tea.... or a pint!