Text and photos by RICHARD LOCKER
Take the Upgang road, leading past the West Cliff Station. After proceeding half a mile the first roadway, which narrows into a lane, is called ‘Love Lane’. It is a pleasant walk in dry weather, but generally dirty after a fall of rain. Immediately on emerging from the road, the Wishing Chair will be seen in front, being a rudely cut chair of stone. The popular belief is that those who, closing their eyes and divulging it to no one, ‘wish’ for any reasonable desire to be fulfilled, the same is sure to be gratified.
Excerpt taken from Horne’s Guide To Whitby (1904)
It has been over one hundred years since the Wishing Chair appeared in the Horne’s Guide To Whitby, but it is still possible to follow the exact route that the book describes and find this strange curiosity situated on the outskirts of town.
When seen in it’s current setting the stone chair seems at odds with it’s environment. Surrounded by the symbols of the modern world the chair seems lost as it is slowly encroached upon by various forms of ill conceived street furniture and the ubiquitous suburban convenience stores and petrol stations. But the stone remains resolute as it has for centuries, and the fact that it has survived this long makes it appear more than capable of lasting at least a few more centuries, hopefully relatively undisturbed.