Tuesday 23 June 2009


'My building has every convenience,
It's going to make life easy for me,
It's going to be easy to get things done there,
I can relax along with my loved ones.'
Don't Worry about The Government by Talking Heads - 1977

' I love to go to the playground
and watch the kids jumping around.
They don't know I'm firing blanks.'
Emo Phillips

'And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow
every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food;
the tree of life also in the midst of the garden,
and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.'
Genesis: Chapter2, Verse 9

We're standing here,
Exposing ourselves,
We are Showroom Dummies,
We are Showroom dummies.'
Showroom Dummies by Kraftwerk - 1977

'Where there is a virgin piece of ground to work upon,where the canvas is clear,
and where the designer may inscribe upon it
any picture that he pleases,
the opportunity for constructing an up-to-date
and beautiful garden
should be seized with avidity'
F. Hadfield Farthing - 1929

' The quay of the haven of the town [which is] much decayed and broken down,
to the great peril and damage
as well of alien merchants
as of denizens wishing to arrive and rest in that port with their ships
and also of the burgesses dwelling in the town
wanting to pass.'
From a grant of quayage dated 1411

Whitby Woolworth's number on closure list - 196
Members of staff losing jobs - 26
Closure date - 27.12.08
Final closure date for all Woolworth's shops - 05.01.09
Figures from Whitby Gazette

'This Pannet Park
belongs to the people of Whitby
not Scarborough Councillors' Quango Committee.
Who stole our trees? '
Unknown writer - On a sign in Pannet Park

Sunday 21 June 2009


Francis Kildale Robinson was born in London in 1809, but he was not destined to live in the capital all his life. He became a resident of Whitby, and for a period of time he worked at a chemist's shop in Baxtergate.
He became fascinated by the local accent and the dialect words and idioms that cropped up in customers' conversations all the time.
Describing himself as an antiquary and topographer, he published several books such as the snappily titled 'Whitby: Its Abbey, and the Principal Parts of the Neighbourhood; or a Sketch of the Place in its Former History and Present State, with the Topography and Antiquities of the Surrounding Country', published by S. Reed in 1860.
He is best known however for a different publication; ' A Glossary of Yorkshire Words and Phrases Collected in Whitby and the Neighbourhood'.
Published in 1855 by John Russell of London, it is a dictionary of a forgotten vocabulary that developed in this isolated community cut off by the moors and the sea. 'In recluse districts we may expect to find the greatest number of genuine provincialisms — of Ancient Vocal Sounds' he wrote.
As an example, if you're suffering from the kincough, or hooping cough as it became known, try this; 'It is the practice to put a live hairyworm into a small bag, which is hung round the neck of the patient, and as it decomposes, the cough will decrease.'
The whole of this book can be read online by clicking here, or you can download the entire book to your computer by clicking here and saving one of the file formats. I think the PDF is best for regular usage.
Francis Kildale Robinson died in Whitby on January 6th, 1882.
Click on the pages and they'll enlarge in your browser so you can actually read them!


A leafy looking Bagdale from an old postcard sent on the 14th November 1905. Bagdale Hall is on the left. Apparently Bagdale Beck, now running underneath the road, was navigable as far as the cart (or possibly an early car) in the distance at one point.

Sunday 14 June 2009


Anyone with an interest in local news, local culture and local politics should visit The Whitby Independent immediately. It's essentially an online newspaper with a Free Whitby agenda.

TWI is described as an independent newsblog edited by Whitby resident, former newspaper journalist and editor Peter McGrath. You can leave comments on stories such as the swine flu outbreak in Danby, Scarborough Borough Council's plan to shore up the disintegrating piers with unsightly rocks, or why our fishing fleet is likely to be reduced to no more than window dressing in the not too distant future.

Click the link HERE, add it to your favourites and get to the core of real local news stories while The Gazette's Bridgender cartoonist's still trying to think of a joke about H1N1 virus.

It's a must-read, and it costs nowt.

Sunday 7 June 2009


During the building of the Whitby to Scarborough railway, the landlord of Raven Hall was a gentleman called W. H. Hammond. Not wanting the unsightly spectacle of a railway crossing his land, he insisted that a tunnel was cut to take the locomotives and their passengers below ground.

Work on an earlier tunnel was never finished. It came to a halt in 1876 because it was considered to be on the wrong alignment, making this the second attempt. W. H. Hammond died in 1885, which meant he just managed to hang on long enough to see his tunnel in operation.

Due to the geology of the landscape, the Whitby to Scarborough line was very expensive to build, the cost being estimated at £27,000 per mile. A huge amount in 1885. In the 1930s plans to blast the tunnel roof off, because trains failing to make the 1 in 39 gradient up to Ravenscar were becoming stranded in the darkness, never came to fruition.

Entry into the southern end of the tunnel requires scrambling down a steep bank and negotiating thick undergrowth and marshy ground. The entrance has been bricked up, although access can be obtained through a small door in the wall.

This is a video made from a series of photographs taken in the tunnel. The tight bend in the track can clearly be seen as the stonework curves off into darkness. The sound recording was made by placing stereo condenser microphones deep inside the structure as water filtered through the brick ceiling and fell to the earth below.

Friday 5 June 2009


On Wednesday afternoon a cruise ship, the Saga Ruby, appeared on the horizon and steamed towards Whitby. As it neared the Bell Buoy a yellow Sea King helicopter from RAF Leconfield appeared. Apparently it was returning from an exercise and used the cruise ship to practice a winch rescue.