Here is the third "position paper" for the 2012 Harbour Research project. Corrections and additions are welcomed. The purpose of the document, with others to come, is to seek people who will undertake serious research on aspects of the history of the harbour. John Rushton 2012
Structures in Scarborough Harbour, other than piers, quays, staiths and houses.
Accident Receiving House. 20th Century
Scarborough Corporation ran this house at the Foreshore Road in South Bay with Inspector Mosey in 1923 and John Howson as Inspector in 1939. Various houses, including Ellis’s old long room, were used to receive drowned and injured men in earlier periods.
Alehouses - All periods
The selling of ale was subject to licence and hence was well recorded in most periods. Scarborough “plaint books” run from 1403 onwards. Brewer's licences are recorded for 1552-3. A list of victuallers and ale brewers for c1600 named William Brown, Christopher Johnson, George Wyndell, Roland Marshall, William Dicconson, Uxor Hedley, Richard Fletcher, Alex Gerreson, Margaret Thomson, Thomas Battie, John Wolfe, Nicholas Store, Robert Hararde, George Wood, Robert Flyntoft, Francis Conyers, Uxore Herrington, Matthew Herreson, Elizabeth Constable, William Shemynge, Roger Marsyngall, William Skirrye, Francis Rennye, Lawrence Porret, W Jefferson and David Burne
Brewsters appear frequently at the courts. Widow Ann Harrison sold ale without measure in 1621 and thirteen more including Matthew Wolfe and Alexander Harrson sold beer or ale at 1d a quart. Christopher Fell was presented at court for a brewhouse without a chimney in 1622. 35 people were charged with breaking the assize of ale a few years later. William Hodgson, a cordwainer, and six more brewed and sold ale without licence in 1636. Richard Bilbrough sold drink at 2d a gallon in 1639.
There were 86 brewsters in Scarborough in 1646 including two Rosedales and two Worfolks. Hugh Kirby failed to sell a quart of best ale for a penny in 1632 and was fined two shillings. Scarborough had 92 with licences in 1783 and 87 in 1793 (Chapman 53). By 1825 there were 102 public houses of all kinds. The Beerhouse Act of 1830 made licences cheap and easy to obtain, encouraging a further increase. A proportion of these were in the Undercliff.
Public houses in the Undercliff
Beehive Inn 8 Sandside 1823-1902 (Esther Bee 1834)
Beerhouse Sandside 1840 (Rebecca Dale)
Beerhouse Tuthill 1840 (Ann Robinson)
Beerhouse Quay St. 1840 (Samuel Spark)
Beerhouse Sandside 1840 (Wm Lancaster)
Black Horse 10 Tuthill. 1864-90
Blockmaker’s Arms. 68 Quay St., 1846 (WmMollon)
Board East Sandgate 1823
Board Sandside 1823-40 (John Bee in1840) Bee Hive in 1823
Board 59 Quay St. 1823-40 (Jane Ware 1840)
Board 77 Quay St. (Isabella Park 1840) (Porrits lane)
Board Quay St. 1823 (John Crooks)
Board Quay St. 1823 (John Oxley); 1840 Buck or Stag
Board Quay St. 1823 (William Burton)
Buck Quay st. 1840 (John Oxley 1840)
Buoy Inn 22 Sandside 1829-1902 (John Skelton 1834-40)
Crab and Lobster. East Sandgate1849. Some say Castlegate bottom
Dog and Duck Quay st./Sandside 1822-90 Dog and Duck lane
Absorbed into the Lancaster.
Dolphin West Sandgate 1823-49.
78 Eastborough 1890-1976
Fisherman’s Arms. 7 Tuthill, 1834-40 (George Tyson 1834-40)
Fishmonger's Arms Long Greece 1823-34 (Mary Potter)
Fisherman’s Arms 66 Eastborough 1861-1892
Five man boat Sandside 1822 (S.Hlliday)
Flower in Hand 4 Burr Bank 1861-1905. Earlier public house 1850;
beerhouse 1840, perhaps Letters 1829
Golden Ball 31 SAndside/Quay Street. 1719-1973
Golden Last 9 Carr Street 1779-1840 Hotel 1933 Also Conduit Row.1779
12 Eastborough 1890-1973
Hope Inn Sandside 1825-40 (Jhn Hall)
Hope and Anchor 31 Quay St 1822-1902/Sandside 1823-51
Kingfisher 39 Quay St. 1834-49
Kings Head Sandside 1823-40 (Isabella Claybourn)
Lancaster Inn Quay St. 1840-72). Replaced Shipwrights Arms
45 Sandside 1851-1973
Leeds Hotel Princess Square. 27 St Mary’s St. 1867-1905
given as West Sandgate 1973 Rebuilt 1900
Lettered Board 2 Palace hill 1834 (John Foxton)
Letters Quay St. 1849 (Mary Park)
Letters Porret’s lane 1829-31 (Ann Harland)
Lobster East Sandgate 1840 (James Bulmer)
Lifeboat Inn behind Pier hotel passage
Lord Nelson 33 Merchant’s Row 1825-1851 Wharton lane 1823
Pattisons lane in 1834 (William Trott) 1840 (Isaac Morley)
Lord Nelson Hotel, Foreshore Road 1890-1973
London Packet East Sandgate 1823-34 (Jane Stephenson)
Mariner’s Inn 47 Merchant’s row 1849-51 1857 dramshop
Neptune 39 Merchant’s row 1834 (Ed Fox) Also given 1823 in Cross St.
Newcastle Packet Inn. 24 Sandside 1834-1899 rebuild? No 13 in 1894-1973
No 11 in 1834 (James Oxley)
Newcastle Trader Sandside 1840 (James Oxley
Old King’s Arms 24 East Sandgate 1823-51 (Thos Mosey1823)
(Ann Mosey 1840) Used by sea captains
Old Kings Arms Sandside 1840 (John Pennock)
Pannierman’s Arms 40 Merchants Row 1858
Pier Hotel 37 Foreshore Road 1890-1973. (Neptune Terrace in 1892)
Queen Adelaide 16 Palace hill.1825-57 Called Queen’s Head 1840
Rose & Crown 30 Merchant’s Row 1823--34 6 Albert Row 1890-1937
14 Queen’s Terrace 1973
Running Horse Inn East Sandgate 1740-52 near slutwell
Sailor’s Return Sandside 18c.-1825 (Catherine Manning)
Scarborough Arms, East Sandgate 1823-31
Sheffield Arms Foreshore Road 1911 later Catlin’s Arcadian restaurant
Bland’s Cliff 1892
Ship 5 West Sandgate 1823-81
Ship Sandside 1840-1931 later bingo house
Ship Tuthill 1823
Ship. Merchant Row 1760 (Eliz Harrison)
Smith’s arms East Sandgate 1823-31
Spread Eagle Sandside/Quay St 1823-90 (Mark Tissiman 1840)
Spread Eagle lane
Ship Inn Sandside 1747-1840 Old Ship 19 Sandside 1890-1905
Shipwright’s Arms Quay St 1823 (John Shaw) 1851 (Wm Lancaster)
Stag 16 Quay st 1823-40 (John Oxley). Removed by Gas Co.
Sunderland Bridge 11 East Sandgate 1825-51 corner of whitehead hill
Tartar Frigate Long Greece, top of steps.
Tavern Long Greece Foot 1539-1630
Three Mariner’s Inn 65 Quay St 1851-1902 No 49 in 1905 55 in 1892
Tiger 43 Merchant’s Row 1823-34
Turk’s Head 3 Eastborough 1890-1973
Victoria Inn 1 East Sandgate 1840-1905. No 24 in 1864 ?Tunny club
Wheatsheaf Quay St. 1823
White Hart Quay St.
White Horse Quay St. 1724 (Jane Sketon)
Line fishing required baiting of long lines. This was done in the open air but some fishermen’s outhouses called bait houses were used for cleaning and baiting lines. They are rarely mentioned at Scarborough.
Fisherman’s houses were workplaces as well as dwellings. Some had barking coppers set in the hillside in which to steep lines and nets in “cutch” to preserve them. Floats made from animal bladders were also cured, tarred and painted
The Sluttes or sluthouse in East sandgate was perhaps a bawdy house. A trollop close was on Leas lane in 1651.
Beacons - 16th Century
When the Spanish Armada came to England in 1588, orders were given for the beacons to be watched. They were sited so that they could be seen one to another along the coast and inland. Coastal beacons were in groups of three. Inland beacons were sited in pairs. Groups of townships had responsibility for maintaining each beacon and its stock of fuel. In the event of a landing, the armed militia of the wapentakes could muster at agreed places under their captains. This was our early warning system.
Each beacon was to be watched day and night, two people by day and three by night. They had to be wise and discreet honest householders over thirty years old. If the coastal watchmen saw any ships at sea, they had to judge whether their actions, change of course or anything else gave suspicion that they were enemies liable to do harm on land or to our ships sailing on the sea. They might light one beacon to warn our ships or the inland districts. This would not lead those inland to light their beacons.
If the coastal watchmen saw a great number of ships giving "vehement suspiciion to be enemies", and not to be doubted that they meant to invade, two out of the three beacons at shore sites and one of two beacons inland were to be lit. This was a warning for every man to "put himself in and be ready". The third stage would come if the great number of ships, appearing to be enemies came to land to invade, then all three beacons were lit at the coast and all pairs of beacons inland. All beacons were burning. Captains of the mustermen would lead their forces to the place where the first beacon was lit. Meanwhile the country folk were to drive all cattle, sheep, horses and victuals inland to deny them to the enemy.
Queen Elizabeth 1 required a certificate of the number and state of beacons in the North and East Ridings in 1558. They included -
- Scarborough - a 3 beacon near the castle in the charnel on north cliff which gave light to Weaponess and so to Seamer and north to Burniston.
- A Fylingdale 3 beacon at Raw gave light north to Whitby, Sneaton etc. The surveyor said of Fylingdales, “It can give no further light to any other beacons in Whitby Strand or Pickering by the reason of great hills and mountains which stoppeth the same light. We are informed that there is a hill called Grenedickes of Staynton mower above Stounebrowe of which hill there is no beacon, but if there were a beacon seated there, that beacon would give light to Scarborough beacon and Hackness beacon and all the beacon in Langbarghe, in Pickering Lythe, and Rydall and so to York Wold.”
Bethel - 19th Century
The Town hall in Quay Street was sold in 1800 to the Tindall family and became a Bethel. The term has meaning as a “holy place”. This was used for religious meetings by various denominations. There was however a grocery warehouse in the cellar. (Sh 756). A Sunday School opened in 1835. The building was sold to the Wesleyan Methodist Society in 1854. Modernisation in 1969 brought central heating and a new floor. (Prescott 1495)
Booms. - 17th-20th Century
Booms were often employed as part of harbour management to limit access to areas of water. or to steady wave impact. A mast were taken for the safeguard of Scarborough harbour in 1643. A boom of heavy masts was anchored to prevent hostile ships entering the harbour in January 1649. The Lighthouse pier had booms fitted to transmit wave shocks in 1995.
The British Tunny Club - 20th Century
Blue fin tunny were familiar off the coast from 1929 to 1950 and were seen closest inshore near Scarborough. They followed the herring. Local fisherman Billy Watkinson saw what he thought was a tunny, an opinion confirmed by naturalist W. J. Clarke. (M. Robinson SEN 22.10.2011) A tunny weighing 798 lbs, 9ft 4” long, girth 6ft 5" was caught by Colonel E. T. Peel in 1929. The first tunny was landed at Scarborough by Lorenzo Mitchell Henry in 1931 using rod and line. This weighed 851 lbs.
The British Tunny Club was established at No 1 Sandgate in August 1933. (?32) The fish were weighed and hung from a gantry near the bridge on Vincent’s pier. Some were displayed in the hut next to the jetty opposite the Richard III house. A room in the Woodend Natural History Museum was devoted to tunny for a while. T. G. M. Sopwith, Colonel Peel and Lady Yule were regular tunny fishers from fine private vessels.
John Cave of 8 Church Street kept a record of 188 tunny fish landed at Scarborough by members of the club.
1930 5 1931 1 1932 2 1933 19 1934 29
1935 40 1936 27 1937 9 1938 39 1939 1
1946 9 1947 7
The Tunny Club was revived in 1945 and ran for eight or nine years.
Tunney were caught in 1946, but Danish and German commercial fishing was blamed for a lack of fish. Others blamed the shift of warm water flows. R. T. Laughton of the Royal Hotel landed three in 1947. The Pashby family keelboat “Courage “ took well-off anglers to sea for tunny. A gathering at the Lancaster inn was photographed of those who had gathered a a hundred tunny from boats skippered by Bill Pashby. Teddington businessman H. E. Weatherley hauled on middle pier in 1949 and weighed a 698 lb fish. (MJ 19.11.1991) John Hedley Lewis, a Lincolnshire farmer, landed a 852 lb. fish H. E. Weatherley brought in the last in 1954. The half-timbered head quarters, formerly a public house, became a fish and chip shop [(according to Steve Fewster). In 1949 John Senior bought the Tunny Club, also known as the Jolly Friar,
Buoys - 19th century
Buoys were newly sited in 1798, one on the north of the harbour at “five fathoms from low water mark" and in the next year “a new buoy for the south end of old pier head” “to help ships getting in and out of the harbour”. Other new buoys were sited in 1801 after gale damage in the north part of the harbour at “five fathoms from low water mark”. Chapman sought anchors and chains for fastening more buoys, for ships "to ward out to and get under weigh” in 1811. A new pier buoy was placed in the Scarborough roads early in 1820. (Prescott 1274)
Buses - 20th Century
The Valley Bridge bus station opened in c. 1936. (Prescott Vol. 4)
The Cheker - 15th-16thCentury
John Percy in 1489 held a tenement called the Cheker at Sandside.
Kathrine Harwood later paid rents of 6s 8d under the cliff & 3s 4d for “the Cheker at Key End”. Robert Lacy paid 10s rent for his dwelling called the Chekker in 1571. The Cheker of Hope at Canterbury was the town’s largest medieval inn.
When Lord Sheffield, Lord President of the Council of the North rode from Burton Agnes towards Mulgrave Castle via Scarborough in August 1616 he was provided with lodging in Mistress Lacye’s “howse, adioyning upon the sands”. (Ashcroft vol.1.65). We may perhaps presume that the Chequer was an inn, with a sign of that character.
Cholera Hospital - 19th Century
Robert Wilson, a master mariner of Sandside, provided a large detached house beneath the Castle wall for preparation as a cholera hospital (Hastings 20).
Coal Hulks and Sheds - 19th Century
The change to coal-burning fishing vessels in the later 19th century required harbour storage of coal for the ship’s boilers. There was no quay side railway so coal had to be hauled from the railway station to the harbour by horse and cart or shipped from Hartlepool railway sidings on to steam vessels for delivery to the harbour. Some coal was brought down the coast from Durham by collier.
The Scarborough coal merchants kept half a dozen hulks as floating fuel stores in the harbour by 1879-80. They were towed to Hartlepool by tugs, filled with coal and towed back. One mast was kept and fitted with derricks to help unload baskets of coal. (MJ 4.12. 1995) (MJ.17.9.1994) About 300 tons of coal was used weekly by the fishing boats in 1882. Two coal sheds were later built on the west pier, one for the London steamer and one for the fisheries. (Towse 49) The “Juno”, belonging to William Ellis of Merchant’s Row, brought coal to Scarborough, tied up at the West Pier and sold coal retail from on board.
Coffee Houses - 19th.Century
Cocoa and coffee houses were promoted by Victorian temperance advocates. Part of Hopper’s block and mast shed became a “British Workman” coffee house. The Sandside Coffee House opened on 27.7.1883 on the west side of West Sandgate. The Coffee Palace was at 41-43 Sandside in 1892.
This is an unexplored subject. Much lifting was done using the upper works of sailing ships. Jib cranes were used to swing fish baskets ashore. Scarborough pier construction during 1567-84 used a crane to rear stones with a pair of windlasses and a plank bridge. Some rocks wre fetched with tonnes from half a mile away on the back of the c astle, others by hand barrow from behind the pier. The bigger vessels of the 19th century needed better facilities for loading and off loading. A three-ton steam crane required overhaul in 1890. It was rebuilt in 1897 and used at the Marine Drive.
After 1950, a few vessels brought timber each year. By 1965 a variety of cargoes were brought by 142 vessels. In 1952, the council had a dredger built and the harbour was dredged to allow vessels up to 1000 tons to enter and berth. The port was given four ten-ton mobile cranes, two grain conveyor belts and other equipment for transhipping imported timber, fertilizer and potatoes.
George and Agnes Thomson and Agnes conveyed a tenement and garden in East Sandgate, with a little building used for a custom house to James FitzRandolph of Wressel. They conveyed it again in 1591 to Edward Cooke, a London gentleman, described as a messuage and two garths, late James FitzRandolph’s in East Sandgate, with a garden near le Sluttes and a cubiculum or structure there now used as the Custom House. William Oliver had dung before the Custom House c 1650.
The Corporation made a grant in fee farm in 1658 to John Cockrill master mariner of waste ground adjoining on an old building called the old Custom house in East Sandgate, 22 ft by 2ft, on each side of the old custom house, 7 ft in length and 4 ft in breadth from east to west at the north end of the Old Custom House for a staircase into the Old Custom House. The new rent was 2d. (Ashcroft vol.2.248). James Cockerell held this in 1698 (Ashcroft vol.1.248) By 1691 Jon Cockerell senior had two house in East Sandgate. A list of king’s rent for 1791 shows Robert Cockerell holding the old Custom House. The Custom House moved to another site on Sandside.
Dolphins were marine structures for mooring ships. They could consist of a group of timber piles bound at the top with cable or wire. The piles were chocked and bolted together above mean low water, to further ensure the cluster would act as a unit. Others appear later to have been made of iron. Bending stress and water pressures could be considerable. Dolphins could provide offshore mooring for ships, which were unloaded by lighters or by other means as the harbour dried out. The distance between mooring dolphins had to be as great as the length of the vessels. Seven dolphins were marked on the 1725 Scarborough harbour map between the island pier and the shoreline. (Wood p.25)
Drains or Sewers - 17th-19th.Centuries
During 1651 Mr. Thompson was presented at the borough court “for his stayth lyng down joining upon the great Sandyate whereby the common sewer (sure) is beeten down”. (Ashcroft. 182.) This could be the lower reach of the Damyet gutter.
The drainage was improved near the West Pier in 1848. The discharge of the main sewer across the sands ended. A three foot wide sewer was brought down West Sandgate and through the West Pier.(SG.12.10.1848)
There was mention of a "common sewer that lieth over against Will Marsingaile leading from Key street to the sands” in 1655. (Ashcroft 222). The bailiffs and burgesses were presented at court for not dressing and coveringt the sinke on the Smiddy hill joining on Mr Paul Peacock in 1633.
For most of history, the fish market was held on the sands and not in buildings. Fishermen from Scarborough were at the Dogger Bank by 1189. The Scarborough fish market was held in the open air, on the sands, apparently in the same area where it remained several hundred years later, not far from the bottom of West Sandgate. However, a tithe of fish was taken to St Mary’s church, and it is likely that the market near the church also included fish sales. The Cistercians were custodians of the church by 1189 and will have received more fish than they themselves needed.
The borough rules existing by 1248 (but recorded in 1357) required that no-one was to buy fish to sell, from the “Stragwelbat” (boat), but only when the fish were thrown on shore at the port of the sands, neither in the “hodmel” nor in any ship, (except “dogdrave” and the “herring” which were sold on land). This sounds like an ancient ruling. The additional statement that none was to buy fish or herring unless in the day, on land, in the market and after the ship shall have anchored in the port, may speak of a later time. None were to fish in the liberty, without the assent of the commonalty. (Baker 35-37)
Foreign merchants and representatives of religious houses came to buy in August and September. Foreigners bought herring at the port as well as putting in to salt and barrel their own catch. By 1336, and probably long before, Scarborough was selling saltfish at York. Through most of history, filleting and selling of fish was done in the open air, drying or salting followed.
By 1630-35 there is mention of fish shambles, near the high conduit in upper town. The shambles were in the area of the later Market Hall. The local inhabitants were limited to buying 100 herring from a fisherman in 1633. (Ashcroft Vol.1 207 & 271)
Wrangham in 1813 said that the “fish market was held on the sands alongside the boats. “At low water the boats are run up on wheels with a sail set. The sale is conducted thus:- one of the female fishmongers enquires the price and bids a groat. The fishermen states a sum in the opposite extreme. The one bids up, the other reduces the demand, till they meet at a reasonable point, when the bidder suddenly shouts “Het” . He says that this practise seems to have been borrowed from the Dutch.
It was remarked in 1862 that much fish was carried from the market for sale to the lodging houses. There was also a new fish shed at the auction market in King street
Coupland records the informal fish marketing by children from fishing families, when the herring fleet came in. They hid behind the crates and gathered falling fish from barrels and tables. They walked round the town selling these fish (Coupland p 2).
What follows is decidedly sketchy and uncertain. A history of the West pier market buildings is needed, and a photographic record, “while they remain”. The old transit shed was built as an indoor fish market replacing an open space where Hartlepool coal had been landed and stacked on two large coaling stands at the West pier c1914 (LF15.11.1995). There was initially just the one building. George Westwood was told that an old steamer called the Andalusia would call in at Scarborough in the late 1800’s carrying provisions. She would always lay at the last berth on the inside of the West Pier and the transit shed alongside was always known as the Andalusia shed.
F. Shepherd and Sons contracted to build a new fish market with buildings, stores and six sheds for £18.146 in 1961. The daily fish market was now concentrated on the west pier, where local cobles and keel boats off-loaded their catch and took on supplies. The fish were unloaded, boxed and weighed in the market. The saleman called buyers together with a hand bell. The buyer took what he had bid for in his own boxes, iced it and sent it by rail. Varieties included large cod, medium cod, codlings, haddock, whiting, skate, ling, conger eel, plaice, dover sole, lemon sole, torbut, hake, brill, halibut and dog fish.
New jetties and a slipway were proposed in 1972-3 along with extensions to the fish market roof. The market buildings were given shuttering to help preserve the quality of landed fish in 1983 (15.12.1983). There were proposals to move fish filleting from the West Pier to the Eastfield industrial estate in 1986 (5.12.1986). Cracks had appeared in a concrete framed building. A ten point reform plan was also suggested (12.7.1986), including moving the ice plant to the end of the west pier, using plastic fish boxes, adding chilling facilities and more. The ice house on the west pier cracked and collapsed in 1988 (21.3.1988). The old fish market on West Pier was demolished in 1989
Scarborough Harbour Committee and Yorkshire Fish Producer organisations called for better fish processing facilities and warehousing at Scarborough harbour. Fred Normandale of the Scarbrough Inshore Fishermens Society said that due to lack of processing facilities, as much as 70% of the Scarborough catch was taken to Hull and Grimsby. Plans were made for a new fish market including fishermans lofts, cafe, and auction hall for £400,000 (29.5.1989). The new Fish Market opened in 1990 (9.1990).
Floating Dock - 19th century
Facilities for ship repair were poor at Scarborough in the early 19th century, as compared with the estuary port of Whitby which had dry docks. Vessels coming in for repair had to be beached. (B.18)
The Tindalls had their own dry dock at London but applied to have a floating dock at Scarborough in 1813. They were turned down by the Corporation. Shipowner Michael Hick raised the question again with the corporation and one was allowed in 1819. This was limited to ninety feet by forty feet, for refitting and overhauling vessels, but lacked a permanent berth. It usually stood at the castle foot end of the outer harbour and paid an annual rent of 20s. At low water a flap was lowered, which remained open at high water. The dock was kept aground with ballast. Vessels were kept central in the dock with slack lines. A model of the dock was once in the Kensington museum (SF).
When much of the coal distribution passed from local collier brigs to the railways, a company was formed to operate a small floating dock in the hope of increasing ship repair work at the port. This opened in 1850. It was 120 feet by 45 feet, with 14 foot sides. This was sited in the outer harbour to take vessels up to 300 tons (SG 11.10.1848). On their closure of Tindalls in 1863, the dock was sold to Thomas Hick & Co. (SG 23.3.93.) The barques Olive Branch and Coral Isle docked there. The dock was abolished c. 1880 but was reported derelict at Castle Foot in 1895 (Buckley 98) (Towse p17, with picture). The tar boiling house at the dock was pulled down by lads in 1889-90. (HF 7.1.1890)
The loss of the floating dock prevented adequate examination of ship’s bottoms prior to repairs. A dry dock grid was made by Fred Whittaker & Co. in 1955 on what was called the “tidal principle”. A series of concrete bars were built on the harbour bed, at right angles to the inner side of Vincent’s pier, opposite the henwalk. Vessels were able to settle on the grid, leaving a three foot clearance(Towse 29). The dry dock grid was still in use in 1979.
The Gas Works - 19th Century
Gas light would bring a new atmosphere to the Undercliff. A prospectus of 22.6.1831 for the establishment of a gas company at Scarborough stressed the advantages of a regular and gradual ascent for conveying gas, and hence the desirability of a site for the works near the cliff foot. The Scarborough Gas Company plant was built at gas house yard on the north side of Quay street in 1834. Gas light was taken to the lighthouse and the piers within six years. The plant was enlarged forty years later, a second retort house provng necessary in 1877, but the works finally moved to Seamer Road. (Baker 346)
The Hall of Pleas - 12th Century
The regular mediaeval courts of the borough of Scarborough were the Court of Pleas held daily, or as often as needed for civil disputes, the Quarter Sessions court held four times yearly, for offences against the Crown and disturbance of the peace, and the Court Leet and Sheriff’s Tourn held twice a year, dealing with public nuisances. The two borough Bailiffs presided and the courts were held at the Hall of Pleas. There was also a coroner’s court for unusual deaths.
One early undated charter records land belonging to Ralph de Bolebek. The older Ralph de Bolebeck held the bailliwick of Scalby in 1168 and 1179. He was followed by another of the same name, probably the author of the charter, since the witnesses Richard and John Haldan, Robert Salt, John de Wandesford, Ralph de Loketon, Simon Berg senior and junior, and Bartholomew de Scalby belong to the early 13th century. Ralph granted the land to Thomas de Limburgh. Thomas de Lindbergh’s son William regranted the site, at the substantial rent of 15s a year, to the burgesses of Scarborough. The 15s rent was later charged on the Hall of Pleas, which had been built on the site.
The “hall of pleas” or court house was either moved more than once or there were more than one. Before 1380 the hall of pleas was on a corner site in Fleshergate (WVB 15). Baker claims that the hall of pleas was between Merchants Row and St Sepulchre gate on the site of a later infant school opposite the entry of the Society of Friends (Baker 383-5). The Inn holder Robert Andrew gave 5s towards the building of a common hall in 1595.
Herring houses - 14th-19th.Centuries
There were dramatic increases in the offshore herring at Scarborough and Whitby around 1394, at the same time that “the usual take of herring in foreign parts” was reported as “failing”. A Hull merchant was appointed to oversea working and making of white herring at Scarborough and Whitby and to ensure it was worked in conformity with the method practised at Lescone. One result was the appearance of many more foreign fishermen, trying to buy herring in gross from local fishermen. A longer term result was the increase of offshore fishing by the Dutch who introduced drift net fishing using larger boats, fleet fishing and packing at sea.
The appearance of herring houses about this time may be another consequence. The fatty herring needed immediate gutting and was preserved by dryng, salting, or smoking. Thomas Sesse held an early herring house and a capital messuage near the sea. Other herring houses were recorded in the wills of townsmen John Acklam in 1402 and John Seamer in 1429. (TE. 1 no 303) (Child 18). Another herring house was in Flesher gate in 1443. (Scarb. Wills Vol 1. 98 )
Fishwives used flat bladed knives, the blade cut down to half size and then shaped . Herring boxes were put in big barrels of salt water, the herring scooped out, split down the back, and gutted on a big oblong table, the guts thrown out and eaten by gulls. The herrings went back into salt water barrels for twenty minutes as they were done.They were hung on tenter hooks,( i.e. bent nails in 5 ft long sticks) , the sticks hung on racks in the kilns, with a smouldering fire of sawdust and chips of oak, lit on the kiln floor,and kept going for 14-20 hours.
Apparently kippering herrings was unknown until 1843. The kipper flourished in the age of the yawls. Kippering was done at night to avoid pollution. (Robson 68) Thousands of boxes were smoked and sent to London. John Woodger of Newcastle produced kippers at Seahouses, and later opened a smokehouse in Scarborough at Hope street, off Greengate. Durham Street became another kippering centre. Richard Robson came ashore in 1873 to start the 29 Durham Street curing business, building fine new herrng houses. They rented a smoking house at Hull in 1892 and later another at Yarmouth. (Robson 65) A herring house in Wray lane is mentioned. Dove and Co were curing fish in Low Conduit street in 1905. Dade says that huge smoke houses were built in the nineties. Nineteen people were curing herring in the town in 1913.(Towse 53)
Brierley visited a kippering house at the corner of a narrow hillside street, in Scarborough. Each one consisted of four square smoke blackened walls, built very high. On the floor were several little smouldering fires of wood turnings and oak sawdust, the fumes permeating thousands of brown looking split herrings, suspended each by the shoulder from tenterhooks on sticks and placed across frames reaching right up to the top of the wickets. These were opened or shut to regulate the heat and smoke
The Ice Factory - 20th.Century
Ice sawn from glaciers was brought in a Norwegain schooner before 1914 and stored in ice houses. It was packed in sawdust. The gasworks site in Quay street was also converted for cold storage and the manufacture of ice .(Adshead 1938 p 36).The Scarborough Pure Ice & Cold Storage Co Ltd opened in 1921. Mr. F.G. Stephenson was the Secretary at offices at nine Sandside in 1923. The large chimney dominated Sandside, until demolished in 1961(SEN 28.10.94)The site is now a car park. (MJ 28.10.1994) Ice was obtained from Grimsby at 5£ a ton plus transport charges in 1979. (SEN 11.8.1979) Jim MacCarthy of H. Hardy & Co ran the Scarborough Ice Company’s ice facility on west pier (SEN 8.7.1983)(5.12.1986)
The Jetty preceding Lunar Park - 20th.Century
This is said to have been established c1900 by a Scots herring curer. (HF.8.3..1985)
The Key House or Locker House - 16th-19thCenturies
The Elizabethan picture of the harbour shows a hut and a gun on the pier.
Workmen were to be set on by the coroner in 1624 to work upon the key house and to lay and sink great rocks when they could upon the backside of the pier. (Ashcroft 127). Another key house was built for the pier workmen in 1658-9.
The old pier "locker house" held tools and stores in 1761 including a stove chest, two wheels and a block belonging to the crane of the ducking chair (Towse 10). The old locker house was said to be removed in 1802. On April 10 1812 an application was made to the bailiffs for permission to use the pier tool house as a sea bathing infirmary.T his was allowed, subject to a ground rent of one shilling a year. There was talk of a new "lookout House" in 1865.
Lifeboat House - 19th-21stCenturies
Cobles had sometimes rescued the crews of ships wrecked on and off the coast, and not without loss. Hinderwell described four Filey fishermen in a coble going to help a vessel on Filey Brigg in October 1799, after which visitors to Scarborough spa raised a subscription for the rescued. (Cole. Fugitives 1826 ) (Buckley 109). John Harwood, William Hende