Here is the fifth "position paper" for the 2012 Harbour Research project. Corrections and additions are welcomed. The purpose of the document is to seek people who will undertake serious research on aspects of the history of the harbour. JR 2012.
Cargo Trade of the Port of Scarborough (preliminary notes only) .
Scarborough burgesses were already involved with foreign traders in shipping out wool from inland Yorkshire through the port to Flanders in the late 12th century. By 1224 foreigners and townsmen were bringing wine, corn, salt and other goods into “the King’s Harbour”. Six local men were trading wool from theinland area, including the Wolds, by 1274-5. Customs collectors for wool were appointed to Scarborough in 1320. A Scarborough trader shipped wheat to Newcastle in 1298. A modest quantity of sea coal came to the castle in 1336-7. Smuggling to Berwick is mentioned in 1348. The company of Merchant Adventurers had Scarborough members in 1478.
Some trade records survive for 1303-11 showing imports. Between 1303 and 1306, between 200 and 300 foreign ships came a year, called at Scarborough, bringing goods worth between £400 and £726. Between 1307 and 1309 between 120 and 140 ships came with imports worth between £375 and £488. These figures do not include English merchants, as this was not recorded. These and other mediaeval trade records are discussed by Wendy Childs.
The ships came from ports along the Flemish and French ports down to Normandy. Most came from Dunkirk, Calais and Dieppe. German, Nowrwegians and Scots ships were rare visitors. Goods arriving included woad, iron, canvas, figs and raisins, sugar loaves, ginger olive oil, almonds, slk cloth, Flemish woollen cloths, saddles, cookpots, mirrors, kettles, iron, pepper, saffron, carpets, spanish leather, rice, knives, metal wares, pitch, bitumen and boars.
The 1322 Scarborough quayage charges for one year included payments for vessels from Scheldt, Blankenburg, Westcapel, Flushing and Ostend, Bruges, Yser and Sluys, usually by owner merchants. Flanders bulked large as did Dieppe, Dunkirk and Calais. Danes and Germans were rarer than they were at Hull and Ravenser. Cargoes from Norway, the Baltic, Spain, Ireland and the Mediterranean were not unknown. Rice, Spanish iron and French wine were less familiar than timber, pitch and wax.
Robert Schilbottyl of Scarborough in 1409 had traded with Newcastle, Holland, and Whitby. Scarborough sent three “loddeships” and four “craiers” to the Normandy campaign of c1419. Scarborough ships were active in the coastal trade. Those entering Hull included master William Skot’s "Julyan" (1453), William Slegge’s “Cristofer” (1465), and Walter and Roger Yonge’s “Katrin” (1471-2). Cargoes included wine, wainscottes, counters, wheat, bitumen, candlewick, iron, kettles and fish. There were pots, brushes, madder, painted cloths, paper, pins and ginger.
John Ryedale’s ship “Thomas “ of Scarborough in February 1471-2, carried “iron, salt, wainscotts, oil, hops and much more in a cargo worth £23.10s. French ships brought Bay salt. The “George” exported wool for William Tunstall in 1490 and returned with a Low Countries cargo. A Danzig ship in October 1462 brought ten last of planks, one last of osmunds, 200 great boards, 9 barrels and 3 pokes of litmosse, 19 pieces of clarholt, 24 rafters, a piece of wax weighing 80 lbs, 3 corves of salt, some spruce and one small barrel of porpoise.
There was much talk of trade in malt, corn and coal, in the 16th century. Poundage payments were made at Scarborough in 1599 on ten weys of salt for Mr Farrer and five weys for Mr Paycok, while Bailiff Thomson paid on 13 quarters of malt, on barley and on hops. A number of other people, including Bailiff Farrer, paid for barley and malt. (DC/SCB NYCRO. Plaint Books). The beer brewers of Newcastle complained of a great quantity of malt brought there from Scarborough, which was deceiptful and evil, all the strength sprouted forth and damp. Vessels arrived in 1636 from Hull. Lynn, Shields, Hartlepool, London, Blakney, Newcastle, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Ashcroft ( Vol. 2 p 24) prints the Custom books 24 December to 24 March 1642-3. Ships of Lynn Scarborough took barley, malt and beer to Scotland. Inwards traffic included apples, yarn, linen cloth, Norway deals, tar, sacke, cideragar, iron prunes and raisins. James Cotterill brought in a cargo of Norway deals in 1692. Swedish iron, tar, sack, prunes, raisins and train oil appear in cargoes of the time.
A 17th century cargo (NYCRO. MIC 1320/928)
In the Isabel of Scarborough, William Lawson master from Rotterdam for Francis Sollitt.
3 hogshead of sack, 4 cwt of prownes, one hundred of raysines soll, two hundred of Mallegoe raisins, four hundred of black Smirna Raisin, three hogsheads of train oil of newland, 5 hundred of Swedish iron, half a last of tar
Ships pierage dues at the town Michaelmas 1681
Scarborough was visited by 1114 coasters, at 8d a ship £32.2.8.
261 coasters at 4d a ship £4.7.0
124 overseas ships at 8d a ship £4.2.8
58 “ “ at 4d a ship 19s4d
39 strangers at 1s4d £2.12.0
Total 1596 vessels
The tolls provided for in the 1732 Act of Parliament
Imports: tolls on coals, cinders, salt, glass bottles by the gross
Timber including fir deals, half deals, middlebalks, double uffers, single ufers, capravans, small balks, small spars, batting , pale boards, great masts, middle masts, small masts, oak timber oak, plank, wine , brandy
exports: dried fish, mudfish, barelled fish, every ham of bacon,neats tongues.pickled pork,flitches of bacon, calfskins, rabbit skins,leather., tallow, butter.
Scarborough ships became increasingly involved in coal carriage outwards from the Newcastle-Sunderland coalfield, the more so as heavy durties were placed on foreign colliers. There were also necessary imports for the growing ship bulding industry and sail cloth manufacture. There was outward shipment of fish to Europe and the Baltic. Scarborough vessels were also active in the Mediterranean and Indies trade working through other ports.
The Scarborough trade in 1796 included exports of butter, hams, bacon and salt fish and imports of coal, timber, hemp, flax, iron, brandy and wines. The experience of a general trader appears in the account book of the “Three Sisters”, master Richard Cross. He sailed between London, Riga, Lisbon and Liverpool in 1797. The next year he sent a letter to Mr Cornwell telling of his safe arrival at Gibraltar. Back at his home port in 1804, the master bought candles, coals, paid portage bills, and Mr. Owston's account for the use of lighters. His portage bill in 1803-4 was £163.14.10 .
Some coastal traders brought the exotic goods consumed by the wealthy Scarborough visitors coming to Scarborough spa, before the railways came. George Beeforth, master of the brig “Pallion”, brought cargoes from London for Lords, the local ironmongers, who had been at Newborough Street since 1792. The 1828-29 cargo book recorded arrivals of grocery, a chest of soap, ginger, wine, fruit in chests, a bag of pepper, chests of tea and two pipes of wine. During 1829 there was wine received for Dale, a cask of tallow for Paul Lord, who had gone into grocery, with wine and brandy casks for Edward Donner There were casks of tobacco, even the body of a gig in 1830. Deodatus Bye received earthenware from the Beeforth ships Other goods came for Pattison at Ganton and Robert Fox at Sherburn. (Mss. Miss Lord)
Other general traders ran regular services from or to Scarborough. Thomas Joseph Harrison, a wharfinger at Harrisons Wharf, St. Katherines near the Tower, London, was by 1839 trading regularly to Scarborough and supplying the inland area behind. The business may have originated in coal trading, for Joseph had been a coal wharfinger at Brown’s wharf, London, since 1760. Harrison was building a handsome Sandside house with a warehouse and cellar-kitchen at Scarborough before his death in December 1844, in place of a tenement with a shop or fish cellar. He left the property to a cousin Fountayne Hartley who sold it to his tenant William Wear in 1847. William Wear and John Marflitt had five vessels going to London fortnightly in 1840, four in 1846 from his staith, identified in 1851 as at 21 Sandside. Buckley gives the ships in 1845 as “Duncan Dunbar” 67 tons, “Grace” 85 tons, “London” 202 tons and “Endeavour” 77 tons. (Richard E Wallgate-personal communication)
Scarborough seamen had experience of a far wider trrade. The Tindall fleet took Scarborough men world wide. William Rodgers was master for twenty-three years of the “Agripinna”. This three masted barque,of burthen 258 tons, length 96ft 10", breadth 24ft 6", depth of hold 16ft 6", was launched by James & R. T. Tindall in August 1834. James, Robert, and William Tindall of Dulwich and George Brown held quarter shares, which were kept by the family till 1862. She sailed for twenty-eight years under the Tindall flag, with eleven to thirteen men. She called at St. Petersburg (1834), Cape of Good Hope (1835), Mauritius (1836) Ceylon (1837) and Rio (1845). After her maiden voyage. she did not return to Scarborough. She only made 33 voyages in 31 years, and was out of port less than 60% of the time.
The local trade of the port was small in relation to the quantity of registered shipping. Many registered ships saw little of their home port. Of those that did, some vessels in foreign trade and some coasters had to lay up for winter, due to insurance problems, as well as for repairs. The Scarborough exports in 1823 were chiefly corn, butter in firkins, hams, bacon and salt fish; the imports Newcastle coal, Baltic timber, deals, hemp, flax, brandy and geneva from France and Holland.
Between 1821 and 1830 local trading prosperity slipped away. During August 1826, Scarborough shipowners were concerned at the relaxation of the navigation laws, the moves towards free trade and the distress of the shipping interest. There was a revival later. The gross receipts at Scarborough Customs Houses rose from £1188 in 1835 to £1887 in 1840 and £3385 in 1855, £4632 in 1856. (Sheahen 723) About 1890, a large timber trade began, with brigs and schooners bringing timber. Scots merchants filled the empty ships with cured herring.
Captain J. Hall was appointed harbour master in 1950. He led a considerable effort to get cargo trade to the harbour, with some success. Three vessels had come with timber in a year. During 1965, 142 called, and sometimes a vessel had to wait to get berthed on the north wharf. (SF 33). From 1960 to 1968 an average of 106 cargo boats a year came in, totalling 50,679 tons of cargo, of which wood was 33,667 tons. Other imports were refractories, bricks, hardboard, rubber, quartzite, wax, bonemeal, chemicals, coal, potatoes, wheat, barley and soya meal. The 500 foot north wharf could acocmodate wo 500-750 ton cargo ships. The harbour authorities installed four ten -ton mobile cranes and two grain conveyor belts. (Foord 34). Dutch, Danish and German boats also took modest exports. Captain Hall could say the harbour was no longer a charge on the rates but had a reserve. (SEN 16.1.970) Captain John Lamb would later say that “Scarborough harbour had adapted to the seventies”. Improved road transport had given a limited revival of the port. The trade faded somewhat in the eighties. (Dalesman 32. 308). A large container ship, 72 metres long, entered the harbour in 1986. ( 24.10.1986)
The Baltic Trade
The ship “Hope” of Scarborough brought deals from Norway in 1668. They had to throw some over the side in bad weather. James Cotterill at Scarborough bought a cargo of Norway deals (pine or fir plank) in 1692 and was disefranchised for forestalling. Yorkshire was hungry for Baltic goods in the next century, including timber for house and ship building. Flax was imported for the linen industry, which extended from Pickering Vale to Cleveland, and for the sailcloth manufactories of Scarborough and Whitby. There were imports of tar, rope, dyes and rye. Scarborough captains came to know the Baltic well.
Several prominent Scarborough men entered the Eastland trade in the seventeen sixties. John Tindall’s "Free Briton" sailed for Russia in 1762-63 calling at St Peterburg. The mates were paid two to three shillings a day and the deck hands a shilling. Thomas Kendall, master of the "Content", called there in 1766. Captain Enoch Harrison took the Commerce into the Baltic in 1764. Robert Duesbery became a Russia merchant in partnership with Hugh Atkins of London and Jacob Regail of St Petersburg. He borrowed £4000 from his father, but was able to repay it by 1769. Robert Burn in the Exchange and George Hopper in the "Ada" were Baltic traders in 1770. Master Thomas Davison took the "Holmpson" to Riga in 1779 and James Tindall was with the "Fortitude" in the Baltic in 1783. S. K. Jones has listed Baltic shipping through the Sound in 1784 as Hull 358, London 342, Whitby 311, Newcastle 280, Lynn 116, Scarborough 103 and Liverpool 102 ships. Large quantities of fish were sent from Scarborough to Russia in the 19th century.
The Coal Trade
The Scarborough bailiffs fixed the price of imported coal at 2s8d a chaldron in 1502. The Rules of the Hostmen of Newcastle were already known here in 1517. Coal shipments down the coast, especially to London and Europe, steadily grew. Scarborough ships in the coal trade in 1612 carried 25 cargoes out of Newcastle. Coal is said to have begun to replace turf as the Scarborough house fuel in the time of King Charles I. (Schofield) Much coal was brought in and taken on to London, Rotterdam and Calais. Leonard Harrison of Scarborough sold eleven chalders of sea coal in London in1626 at fourteen shillings the chalder. They claimed he lay drunk at Sunderland for three days together and so they lost voyages.
Scarborough's future was among the great ports trading coal. A petition of owners, masters and mariners trading coal in 1637 complained to the Privy Council about the Newcastle hostmen, of bad coals, unjust coal measures, unreasonable prices and of those few who were engrossing the coal trade to Newcastle, trying to get the entire selling and delivering of coals into their own hands, to vend at their own prices. They agreed to offer the King twelve pence a chalder, which measured twenty one bolls to the chalder, and offered price guarantees for London, if they had a free market. The struggles between the hostmen, the shippers and the London buyers would recurr. (Ashcroft 1. 320)
Scarbrough imported 3323 chaldrons of coal in 1639, only 238 from Newcastle and most of the rest from Sunderland. Local use within the port would grow, with coal replacing Stainton Dale turf and peat as the house fuel. Twelve men were licenced by the Bailiffs in 1625 as horse porters for coal. A schedule regulated their charges for moving coals from the sands around the town. Every house along the sands paid 8d to 10d a chalder. Every house beneath Long Greece head paid between 10d and a shilling. A revised schedule for coal carriage of 3.11.1646 was 10d along the sands, 12d beneath Long Greece head, and up to 2s 4d a chalder elsewhere. Much coal was re-exported.
The County Record Office has an agreement between Scarborough master mariner William Clarke and Sunderland merchant Brown Thomas, dated 13.12.1643. He would "on the first good wind" sail his ship from Scarborough to Sunderland and "with all speed". Once there, at the mariner's own cost, he would take on "a reasonable load of coals" and "with the next good wind sail into Holland, Zealand or Flander and stay" eight days for unloading.
There were efforts to regulate the coal trade by masters and owners of coal ships trading to Newcastle and Sunderland in the late 17th century. The number of shipments continued to grow. The coasting trade used small sturdy ships, 30-50 tons, with owner-masters, which could return in ballast or go on to Norway, Hamburg and London. Keels were coal boats, carvel built with a square sail. Wherries were clinker built coal boats with a fore and aft sail. Heavy duties placed on foreign colliers in 1660 drove them out. Two hundred sail of colliers passed to the north in July 1669. One hundred colliers were seen off Flamborough Head in June 1670. Scarborough Corporation made new rules for the portage of coals round the town in 1689. Samuel Dewsbury, master of the "Mary Jane" of Scarborough petitioned concerning five ships which were taken by French ships off Dunkirk, whither they were bound with coal. Two hundred colliers were lost off the east coast in one storm in 1696. Celia Fiennes at Scarborough in 1697 could see seventy sail of colliers.
Scarborough has a harbour side inn called the Newcastle Packet and once had others known as the Newcastle Arms and Sunderland Bridge. These names recall the profitable trade in shipping coals from Newcastle and Sunderland to the east coast, London and Europe, which kept the port of Scarborough alive in the 18th century. Levies on the coal trade paid for much of the development of the harbour. There was investment in the ship building and working of collier brigs. The harbour was a haven of refuge for the collier fleets moving south, often in convoy, in times of storm and other offshore threats. Collier ownership was heavily concentrated at Whitby and Scarborough, where many of the vessels were built and manned, rather than at Newcastle and Sunderland. Some 54 Scarborough ships were using the coal trade at Newcastle c. 1702-4. (North country life in the 18th century, Edward Hughes 1952, p200-1)
Samuel Bell, Nicholas Saunders, Robert Steile, Edward Catlin and Thomas F. T. Foster were appointed to take office as local "coal meters" for the port of Scarborough in 1715. Owners and masters from Scarborough and Whitby were combining to protect their interests by 1717 and local committees existed two years later. The Whitby ship owners suggested articles of agreement, "after inconveniences" in 1717. They proposed that no-one should load coal before March 10th at Newcastle, but that those laid up elsewhere than Tynemouth and other loading ports could sail on March 1st. No-one was to begin a voyage after Sept 29th. Other suggestions covered coal prices at London and Holland, delivery by ships in turn, and monthly payment of wages.
A conference of the Whitby men together with the coal agents and masters of Scarborough vessels, sought to keep out interlopers, who entered the trade when prices were high and when other trades were depressed. The threat posed by inter-port combinations in 1728-9 had Whitby and Scarborough forming their own combination and agreeing to send no coal till March 3rd. London blamed the rising price of coal at the capital on these combinations. They said that many of the coal ships had masters "of great passion and little reason"
The Earl of Scarborough, a Durham mine owner, in 1727 had an interest in seventeen vessels trading from Scarborough, fourteen from Whitby and two Filey ships. The Scarborough masters were William Barker (Three Brothers), Richard Bell (Concord), Stephen Bilbrough (William and Ann), John Braithwaite (Friendship), William Cappelby (George), Thomas Fletcher (The Hopewell), William Fowler (Eagle), John Harrison (Loving Hart), John Huntriss (John), John Lawson (Endeavour), George Mainprize (Hopewell), William Matthews (Jane), John Nessfield (Francis), Robert Stephenson (Patience), William Wade (Unity), William Wilson (Happy Return) and Thomas Anon (Happy Return).
A typical voyage by a Scarborough owned collier saw Captain Allatson Bell leave Newcastle on August 5th, 1718, for his sixth voyage. The profit was later distributed to Thomas Goland, George Hugill, William Fowler and other shareholders. More voyages during that year were very similar in their pattern of costs, income and profit, but included purchases of peas, swine grease, cheese, hard and soft bread, vinegar, a pair of oars at 4s, a stone of oakum at 1s4d, a brass gauging compass at 9s and mending maintop sails for 8s 9d. Seven men were paid wages and a man had £1 for "looking after our ship in Winter".
A London man wanting passage to Scarborough Spa went to Billingsgate to meet masters of Newcastle, Scarborough and Whitby vessels c 1733 and bargained for passage on a collier, about a guinea if he dieted with the master, half of that or 15s for a servant. He sent his goods aboard where it lay near the tower. One man went by coach but sent servants and baggage by sea.
The greatest stimulus to the north-east Yorkshire ports over several centuries was the expansion in the despatch of coal from the Northumberland and Durham coal fields. The port of Sunderland was improved and by 1710 its overseas shipments were nearly equal to those of Newcastle. The north-eastern coal trade increased from 400,000 London chaldrons in 1701, to 2 million tons in 1801, of which three-quarters went to London. The vessels called collier brigs were built to carry a maximum load of coal with a minimum draught. Many were almost flat bottomed to allow the unloading of coal on east coast and European beaches. The average capacity of colliers rose from 140 tons in 1702 to 580 tons in 1840.
Larger coal ships and increased traffic offshore called for bigger harbours especially for the collier fleets to take refuge in bad weather. When Filey proposed a new harbour, Scarborough, with a keen sense of self interest, argued that it would be cheaper to enlarge the harbour at Scarborough. A Committee to draft a Parliamentary bill for harbour improvement met in 1730, including Thomas Cockerill, Culmer Cockerill, Henry Cottrell, Thomas Coulson, Benjamin Fowler, John Harrison, John Hebden, William Maling, Timothy Otbie, and James Tindall.
The Bailiffs of Scarborough in a letter of 1731, said that they had "approved Mr. Lelam for an engineer".He had supervised the north pier extension at Bridlington and rebuilt their south pier in 1717. He was the Sunderland harbour engineer 1722-1731. Early in 1732, he was told to survey the shore near the great Scarborough pier and examine how it might be convenient to alter the pier for enlarging the harbour.The survey was approved and Lelam attended Parliament to give evidence.
The Scarborough Harbour Act. of 1731 stated that "Whereas the harbour of this ancient town corporate of Scarborough" is "the only place between the port of Newcastle and the River Humber capable of receiving in distress of weather, ships navigating to and along the northern coasts" and "to and from the eastern seas and other places" without great difficulty, the enlarging and extending of the piers would render it more commodious for receiving large vessels, particularly those using the coal trade, in tempest and other times of danger.
The estimated expense of £12,000 was to enlarge the pier in order to gain at least six foot of water. Scarborough was unable to raise the money itself. The burgesses proposed that there should be a levy of a half penny, for "every chalder of coals laden on board any ship, hoy, bark or other vessel at the port of Newcastle on Tyne, or at Sunderland, Blyth, Seaton sluice, Cullercoates and other members of that port", from 24.6.1732 till 24.6. 1763, payable to the Scarborough bailiffs and burgesses. The duties were to be collected at the Custom Houses of Newcastle and Sunderland and sent en bloc, less a collector's charge. Much of this came to pass although there were difficulties about Sunderland. Scarborough modernised its harbour with a levy on coal.
The account book of the Scarborough snow “Hope”, 1828-1830, shows the life of this ship For the first voyage in 1828, there was an advance of £54, against which purchases were made at the home port, Sunderland, Mauden and many ports of call. Sample payments were greens and potatoes 3s, use of mooring post 2s, block pins, 3s 6d, to a steamboat 12s, the binnical lights 5s 4d, carpenter's wages £1.16.0, grocer’s bill £2.8.6, plumber £1.6.4, Customs house £1.16.4., a cask of beer 9s, a pilot £1.1.0. The load was 119 chaldrons of coal.