Thursday 29 October 2009


On the Sabbath morning of 13 July, at about six o'clock, the beautiful suspension bridge, erected by Colonel James Wilson MP was thrown down. In cosequence of the heavy and continued rains in the latter part of the week, the river Esk was swollen to a greater height than it has attained for many years.

These words describe the disastrous floods of 1828 which not only swept away this bridge, but many others along the Esk valley. Because of the topography of the valley, particularly it's trough like shape and the various dales ( Westerdale, Danbydale, Glaisdale etc.) which feed into it, the water level is prone to quickly rise and equally quickly subside.

Ruswarp Bridge destroyed by floods in 1828

This postcard shows a photograph of Ruswarp Bridge sometime before the floods of 1930, when on 23rd of July the waters rose to 5ft 2in in the upper room of The Bridge Inn. This bridge was also washed away during that terrible downpour when approximately 80 million tons of water were fed into the Esk valley in less than three days.

Ruswarp Bridge prior to 1930
This of course is the imposing and reassuringly sturdy looking iron bridge spanning the Esk at Ruswarp today. Reputedly made from iron supplied by the same company that supplied the iron for the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The postcards are from the collection of Mark Lines.

Additional information from Ruswarp, A Brief History by Alan Whitworth,(Culva House Publications 2004)

The bridge during the 1930 floods

Wednesday 28 October 2009


depth of autumn
a few leaves on the tree

autumn leaves
the girls talk about

2x haiku by john tiong chunghoo

photos: pannett park 28:10:09

Tuesday 27 October 2009


In April builders renovating a house in Henrietta Street were working on the ceiling above the fireplace when a long deceased cat unceremoniously fell on them.

A relic of the time when it was considered wise to brick a live cat within the walls or chimney of a newly built dwelling to ward off witches and their familiars.

The practice was probably especially necessary in Whitby, because as late as the census of 1816 seven women gave their occupation as sorceress or fortune teller.

Builders have come across these wizened amulets all over the country. The Red Cat Hotel in Norfolk takes it's name from one of these mummified felines. Examples can also be seen in museums such as Portland in Dorset and Keswick in Cumbria.

Despite the belief that these superstitions are rooted deep in the past, Stuart Brown, the property renovator from Sleights who discovered the cat in Tim Deacon's cottage on Henrietta Street, walled the leathery furless body back where it was found. It remains there today steadfastly continuing it's work as a supernatural guardian.

Friday 16 October 2009


A fine sight this cold, blustery afternoon as the QM2 sailed close to Whitby, sounding her horn. Captain, Bernard Warner, brought the liner within sight of the town as a mark of respect for his friend Roy Weatherill, a lifeboatman from Whitby who passed away in June. A large crowd of spectators on the cliff tops watched her sail northwards towards Edinburgh. Camera flashes could be seen onboard. The haunting deep wail of the ship's horn was just audible over the wind and wave noise.

Wednesday 14 October 2009


The Council have started taking away the beach huts today before the autumn storms do.