Saltburn-by-the-Sea, a 150th anniversary
On the 17th August 1861 the first steam train pulled into Saltburn-by-the-Sea. For one man, Victorian railway owner and politician Henry Pease, it was the realisation of a vision, a dream come true. A new town, a ‘railway town’ built from nothing on the cliff tops of the North Yorkshire coast. Today Saltburn-by-the-Sea celebrates its anniversary 150 years, a small but vibrant seaside resort with a population of around 6,000 people.
From early beginnings
According to popular story one day whilst walking the coast between his brother’s house and ‘old Saltburn’, a fishing hamlet by the sea of no more than a ‘smugglers inn’ and a handful of fishermen’s cottages, Henry Pease was inspired by a vision to build a town on the cliffs above. Iron stone had previously been discovered in the nearby hills and the Pease family had played an important role in developing Middlesbrough only 13 miles away as an industrial centre.
Land was purchased from the Earl of Zetland, surveyors commissioned to design a town layout and his fellow directors of the Stockton and Darlington Railway company persuaded to extend the line.
Streets of terraced houses named after gemstones, Coral, Garnet, Ruby, Emerald, Pearl, Diamond and Amber, were built all with sea views. A ‘railway’ hotel with its own private platform, The Zetland Hotel, was finished in 1863. A pier with a landing stage for steamers was constructed and opened in 1869. The elegant Queens Hotel followed in 1875.
In the early 1880s a cliff lift, an inclined tramway running from the beach at the bottom to the town at the top, was built to replace an earlier cliff hoist. Ornamental Italian gardens were laid out with walks through a wooded valley. Saltburn by the Sea had become a popular and elegant seaside resort.
The dream was complete
With its wide sweep of sand, donkey rides in summer and backed by a promenade the beach is popular with families and surfers alike. In fact it is has now been names as one of the UK’s top 10 surfing hot spots.
Retaining much of its original Victorian charm Saltburn is a delightful place to visit today. A haven for artists and lovers of the great British seaside. A favourite destination for walkers and cyclists.
The pier, now half its original 1400ft length, is the only remaining pier in the north east of England and makes a great view point to look back on the town and up and down the coast.
The cliff lift, the oldest working water powered funicular in the country, still transports visitors from the beach and lower promenade to the town above. There in a series of well laid out streets a variety of interesting shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels can be found.
Alternatively walk through the valley gardens, or take the miniature railway to enjoy the wooded valley, stream and ornamental gardens.
For those wishing to venture further afield there are delightful cliff top walks. Behind the old smugglers Ship Inn lies Huntcliff, towering cliffs where the Romans built a signalling station rising to more than 365 feet. An energetic climb but well worth it for the views over industrial Teesside to the north and southwards along the Yorkshire coast to Staithes.