With so many of our high streets in difficulties, it is nice to be able to report that there were no empty shops in Whitby, as far as I could see, although there were quite a number up for sale.
If anything, the problem was the other way, come about 10 o'clock when the coaches start arriving, the crowds verge on the overwhelming.
Perhaps that is the answer, high streets must become attractive places to visit first and foremost, and places to shop only incidentally.
That, and Fish and Chips shops in virtually every other property.
Fishburn's Shipyard Memorial
Annoyingly the plaque next to the Fishburn's Shipyard Memorial fails to mention the name of the artist of this fine piece of wood carving.
I particularly like the way old chisels and other tools have been incorporated into the sculpture.
In about 1748, Thomas Fishburn commenced building ships in this area which he later purchased from the Coates family, the first shipbuilders in Whitby, in 1759.
He was succeeded by his son, also called Thomas, who went into partnership with one Thomas Brodrick in 1795. The yard closed in 1830, and became the terminus of the Whitby & Pickering Railway in 1836
All four of Captain Cook's ships were built here including, in 1764, HMS Endeavour, originally named the Earl of Pembroke.
Founded in 1872, Fortune's Smokehouse is still in its original Henrietta Street premises, and is now run by the fifth generation of the Fortune family.
The herring now arrive frozen rather than being landed locally, otherwise, the process is unchanged.
That, and the fact that they now do a very fine kipper pâté, which I can wholeheartedly recommend.
Twelve Pounder Gun
Somewhat incongruously, behind the funfair rides on the end of Pier Road in Whitby hides a WWI 12 Pounder Gun.
According to the plaque it was "salvaged from the wreck of the steamer African Transport off Kettleness by Mr J P Stevenson of the Flying Dutchman".
This is disputed by Carl Racey, a local diver, on the not unreasonable grounds the SS African Transport's gun is still down on the seabed. He suggests that it may have come from the SS Kane instead.
RNLB William Riley
RNLB William Riley was built by the Thames Iron Works at Canning Town in London in 1909 funded by a legacy of one William Riley of Coventry after whom she is named.
She was initially stationed at Upgang a mile or so east of Whitby, and moved into the town in 1919 when that station closed. She was replaced in 1931 having been launched 33 times in all and having saved 10 lives.
After decommissioning, she had a chequered life eventually ending up holed below the waterline on the mud in Barnstaple. In 2005 she was bought off eBay by the Whitby Historic Lifeboat Trust and has now been restored to her former glory.
In a town overwhelmed with chipies, the Humble Pie 'n' Mash provides a welcome change.
Delicious pies made with free range meat in organic pastry, served on metal plates with lashings of gravy in a 1940s themed cafe.
The building itself is interesting as it dates back to at least the 16th century.
External Links and References
Humble Pie 'n' Mash
Official web site with history, menus, opening times, etc. http://humblepie.tccdev.com/
This sculpture by artist Kevin Storch, depicts Captain William Scorsby and his son, also William, keeping watch from a crow's nest.
As the plaque explains in addition to being successful whaling captains, both men were inventors, explorers and scientists.
Together in 1806 they forced the Resolution, a Whitby built ship, through the ice fields to come within 510 miles of the North Pole - closer than any of their contemporaries.
Scorsby Senior invented the barrel crow's nest which made life more comfortable and safer for seamen on watch.
Scorsby junior experimented on magnets and electromagnets, and contributed hugely to the development of the modern compass.
External Links and References
More on the Scorrsbys from the Whitby
North Yorkshire site. http://www.whitby-yorkshire.co.uk/scoresby/scoresby.htm
Elizabeth the Steam Bus and Charlotte the Charabanc
For many years these two vehicles could be found in Whitby giving rides to the tourists. Since my visit, however, both vehicles have been sold.
Elizabeth the Steam Bus was built by the Sentinel Waggon Works in Shrewsbury in 1931, and was one of the first vehicles to be fitted with modern inflatable tyres.
After spending most of her life as a cement lorry, and later as a tar sprayer, it was not until 2002 that she was converted to a bus by her then owners, who had to get the Road Traffic Act amended before she could carry passengers. In 2015 she was bought by Crosville Motor Services and is based in Weston-super-Mare.
Charlotte the Charabanc was built in 1929 by Dennis Bros of Guildford, and spent most of her life giving coach trips round the Great Orme Head in Llandudno. After many years languishing in a barn, she was fully restored to her former glory to run in Whitby.
According to her Facebook page, she has now returned to North Wales, and "her new keeper intends to run her there".
St Ninian's Church, Baxtergate
St Ninian's, Baxtergate was built in 1776-78 as a Proprietary Chapel.
In fact, it is still owned by the successors of the 30 original subscribers which included the local shipwrights who built Captain Cook's ships. The chancel was remodelled in 1890 to the designs of one E H Smales
From the 1980s to 2013 it became part of the Anglican Catholic Church after the Church of England attempted to close the church.
Anglican Catholic Church split from the main Anglican Communion in 1977 over what they see as the 'increasing liberalisation' of the church. That is to say that the idea that God might not be a misogynistic homophobe who delights in seeing different groups of his believers fight and kill each other.
External Links and References
Church of St Ninian, Whitby
Information from the British Listed Buildings site https://britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/101148349-church-of-st-ninian-whitby