Here is the fourth "position paper" for the Harbour Research project. Corrections and additions are welcomed. The purpose of the document, with others to come, is to seek people who will undertake serious research on aspects of the history of the harbour. JR 2012.

Scarborough Harbour Institutions & Organisations (apart from overall Harbour management).


Admiralty rights could include wreck, flotsam, jetsam, lagan and seaweed. Charges might be levied for  plankage, linking hip to shore, spredales of nets for drying and groundage of vessels. The Scarborough baiiffs and burgesses had spredales of nets except those on the castle mounds and dykes where they belonged to the Crown. The case for the independent exercise of admiralty powers by Scarborough corporation was stated in the early 17th century. (Ashcroft 1/69) Claims  to wreck were taken very seriously . John Baker recalled how  c. 1629 a ship was put ashore against the cliffs of Stainton Dale. The inhabitants of the dale did break up the ship and did take what they could get, every man to his own use. Admiralty officers questioned them but received nothing, Lady Hoby who had manorial rights to wreck at her part of Burniston could “rejoice” when a ship sank.

Rights within the  Scarborough borough haven were traced to the time of King Edward  III. (Ashcroft 1 75). The bounds were from Peaseholm beck to the north west point of a ditch of Castle holmes, the west skirt of Castle nab, the south west point of south steel and along the piers to west nab. The Liberties were  perambulated in two circuits, one annually and the long circuit once every three  years. The Duchy of Lancaster as heir to the  Crown after 1267 in the Honour of Pickering claimed full Admiralty jurisdiction on the coasts from Ravendrake (Filey brigg) to Hayburne wyke, apart from the coast within the Borough of Scarborough which was in these bounds.

The Lord High Admiral had failed in his claim to the sands at Scarborough during the reign of King Edward III. A later Lord High Admiral questioned the Scarborough right to toll, fair and market on the sands in 1551. The inquiry confirmed that Letters Patent of King Edward had granted the waste called the sands and the more outwards part of the quay, from Ramsdale to Castle cliff.  When Lord Charles Howard was Lord High Admiral c1596, he was named patron and High steward of Scarborough. He was allowed either £6.13s.4d., or 100 saltfish a year for life. The Bailiffs had the right to the best fish in any catch.

Anchorage                                                                                                   17th.Century

A fine was to levied  at Scarborough on "every such person as shall lay an anchor below the full sea mark" (high tide) in the 17th century. This may have been for those casting out ballast. (Ashcroft 189)


Fishing and other marine apprenticeships were not uncommon. On 6th February 1601-2 William Spicer of Scarborough was bound apprentice to Abraham Godfrey of Yarmouth fisherman.(Ashcroft 1.10). On  the 25th February 1649-50 John Terrington son of Edward Terrington of Patrington in Holderness was bound to John Readhead elder, a Scarborough master mariner. Many other appretniceships are recorded for this and other periods.

Ballast.                                                                                             16th-17th.Centuries

Any stranger taking in ballast at Scarborough harbour in the late 16th century was to pay 2d the tun and 4d for the first shovel full. A Mr Burton was leading stone ballast to ships in 1601-2, at 4d a load, of which 1d went to the  town. Robert Reynold and Jeremy Thompson were charged with casting ballast in the harbour contrary to town orders in 1623. New charges for vessels taking on ballast on the sands were  2d, 4d or 8d depending on whether you were local, other Engish or alien. The money went towards pier repairs in 1638. (Ashcroft 1. 324) Clay ballast was cast into the harbour in 1642 and ashes onto the  sands. William Hodgson cast ballast in the harbour in 1655. 

Blessing of the Fishing Boats.                                                                 20th.Century

This ceremony was performed annually by the vicar, in September, as at the North Wharf in 1986. Neither its ancestry or frequency are presently known.

Boxing Day football  match                                                          19th-20th.Centuries

During the gales of 16th November 1893, which built up to hurricane level two days later, the Scarborough fishing smacks were at sea. All but one returned. The “Evelyn and Maud “, skipper T. Mann, was missing This vessel had collided with the sailing ship Ardorss and was presumed lost by December 2nd. A subscription was opened on the 4th. On Boxing Day 1893 a football match was organised for the fund, between the firemen on the steam trawlers and the fishermen.  A repeat the next year moved to the beach (C R Field. 1968 Notes on the origin of Boxing Day Scarborugh fishermen and firemen’s Football match)(Scarborough Fishermen and Firemen’s Charity Fund Centenary, 1893-1993. Marie Belfit.)

Burning the Boats                                                                          19th Century

Burning old boats was a shoreside feature of 19th century Scarborough celebrations. Several were burnt at the time of the harbour illuminations for Queen Charlotte on 19th November 1820. (Prescott. Vol.13 1274). A vessel was set on fire in the South Bay as part of the celebrations for the Coronation of King Edward VII on 9th August 1902.

Caulking Kiss                                                                                              18th.Century

When the seams of a new ship were being first caulked at the 18th century shipyards of Scarborough each man had his portion of work marked off. The man who worked nearest the stern was by custom obliged to demand a kiss of every female who passed by during the caulking. If she refused, she had to compound by giving something to purchase oil to rub the riming iron that it might more easily enter the seams. If she failed, he was compelled to to take the kiss or be cobbed. (Baker 469)

The Coast Guard                                                                             19th-20th Centuries

The Coast Guard was formed under the Customs authority to prevent smuggling, as well as for coastal  defence and as a  naval reserve in 1822. Control was shifted to the Admiralty in 1856. Johnathan Stamp  was chief officer of coast guards at Scarborough Sandside in 1858. The Coastguard station at Sandside  was later under inspector Captain Douglas Herbert R.N., his chief officer John W. Evan. The coastguard station was on the Foreshore road by 1882, when the chef officer was E. Birch, and second officer W. Pike By 1923 it was also known as the Board of Trade Life saving service. In 2006 Simon Drayton was chief officer for the Scarborough Maritime and Coast Guard agency, after David Warburton who had served 26 years.

Captain Manby’s apparatus, a device for coastal rescue was placed under the care of the Coast Guard. This was used with a mortar piece to communicate with a ship offshore in danger of shipwreck. During the northeasterly gale of 28-29 October 1880, a large dismasteed brig, the "Lily of Guernsey" from London drifted in and came on shore, south of the Spa, where the crew were saved by the rocket apparatus. (B 514) Rockets invented by A. G. Carte of Hull were also used to fire a rope appended to a shot across a vessel.

Modernisation of the coast guard was planned in 1971. A new two storey brick building in Paradise was to serve as the head quarters with a good lookout over the bays. There was talk of acquiring a land rover.(Mercury 3.4.1971) The Coastguard occupied two full time people till 1979, then only one with standbys. Their role included lookout and rescue. (SEN 14.11.1979) (The  watch keepers at the lighthouse and at the end of the west pier employed eight other men, round the clock in eight hour shifts.  They logged vessels in and out,  arranged berths for keel boats and helped tie them up. They locked up, acted as security men, did harbour walks,  swilled down the market, used a  static crane at the end of the pier for lifting gear from boats, collected car park money, kept fog watch and gave warnings.)

Common Works                                                                                         17th.Century

During 1601-2, five men who had contracted to extend the piers over seven years were to have, at convenient times, the common works of a quarter or half of the town as convenience required. This was labour service.  It was ordered by the Corporation on 7.3.1670 that every inhabitant in Scarborough and Falsgrave was to send an able labourer to the common bote to get limestone for repairs to the quay when the Bailiffs required. (Ch 3. p53) Similar obligations were levied at Bridlington on both town and village men.            (An Act of the time of Henry VIII also made inhabitants liable to be rated to 4d in £ on the annual rateable value of their property for maintenance of the harbour.)

Companies                                                                                           19th-20thCentury

Companies, and partnerships, played a great part in the latter days of the Scarborough fishing industry and in other aspects of harbour life, as costs rose.

- John S Ellis & Co Ltd; 32 Quay St & 4 West Pier, fishing steam  drifters, fish sales.

- East Pier Engineering & ShipStores. Ltd , 60 Quay st

- Filey United Steam Trawling Co Ltd .19. West Pier, 4 vessels

- Hardy Brothers Ltd.  West Pier. fish sales

- Hilton & Cusworth Ltd; Low Durham St & 14 West pier. Fish curers

- Scarborough Cruises Ltd. This company was formed in the 1920’s by T. W. Round of Hull, known  as Tommy Round. They  ran the “White Lady” in the 1920s, “Royal Lady” and ‘Royal Lady II” in the 1930s and briefly “Imperial Eagle” 1938-39. The ship owners were at 53/5 Sandside in 1958

- Scarborough Fishermen’s  Boat Building Co .Ltd; 22 Quay Sreet in 1971.

- Scarborough Fisherman’s Selling Co.Ltd. ;12 West Pier in 1971.

- Scarborough, Hartlepool and North Sea Steam Fishing Company Ltd; H.Seaton was              managing director in 1923.

- Scarborough MarineEngineers. 35 Sandside in 1971 .Boat Builders

- Scarborough Pure Ice & Cold Storage Co Ltd; 1921-1959.Quay Street. 

- Scarborough Shipping and Forwarding company.17 West Pier.1971.Ceased 1973     

- Scarborough Steam Packet Company. 7 Newbrough St. Owned ships in 1864.

- Scarborough Steam  Shipping  Company formed in December 1880 to trade between London & Scarborough.  Purchased vessel “Balaclava” 1881. (HH)

- Scarborough United Fish Supply Company. Keith Thomas was Managing Director West Pier in 1997. (LF. 16.4.1997)

- Scarborough United Fishermens Selling company. (13.10.1992) (17.6.1993)

- Staintondale Steamship Co Ltd. The Hicks family dominated the membership in 1896.

- The Tees Union Shipping Company. Scarborough office under W. N. Cockerill in 1882

- Tom Sutton (Scarborough) Ltd, 16 West Pier in 1933. Fish buyers.

- Tyne Tees Steam Shipping Company. 1923 agent F. G. Stephenson at 17 West Pier. Ran the fast new steamer “Claudia” commander Charles W. Jordan from Middlesbrough every Wednesday after noon or Thursday morning and from London every Saturday evening or Sunday morning. The vessel  could run from                 Scarborough to London in nineteen hours. It advertised new comforts with electric light, a handsome saloon with a piano,  commodious smokeroom and a long promenade deck. A saloon single was 11s 6d, return 17s 6d, fore cabin 7s 6d and 11s 6d. (WG 9.8.1905)

- Whitby & Robin Hood’s Bay Steam Packet Company  formed in 1853. The Hilda a 30HP, 20 ton vessel and the Esk a 45HP,  20 ton vessel ran three days a week to  West Hartlepool and twice a week in summer to  Scarborough, at other times serving as tugs .

- The Yorkshire SteamTrawling & Fishing company launched in1881. (Merc. 17,12.1881)

Other Companies probably active in Scarborough, with vessels

Alliance Steam Trawling co.Ltd                                                    3

Connie Steam Trawling Co Ltd                                                    Connie

Co-operative Fishing Society                                                       

Crystal Fishing Co.Ltd.                                                                   Crystal

Derwent Steam Trawling Co.Ltd                                                 

Dogger Bank Steam Trawling Co.Ltd                                        

Gamecock Steam Trawling Co Ltd                                              3 vessels

Gibney, Doig & Co.Ltd                                                                    5 vessels

Girl Annie Steam Drifting Company Ltd.                                     Girl Annie

Musgrave Steam Trawling Co Ltd                                                           

North SEa Trawler Co Ltd                                                 

Pearl Steam Trawling Co.Ltd                                                        2 vessels

Pr    Steam trawling Co Ltd                                                                        Phalarope

Reliable Steam Trawling Co Ltd                                                  Renaissance

Trafalgar Fishing Co Ltd                                                                Miriam

Waveney Steam Trawler Co Ltd                                                  

Crown rights                                                                                    12th-14th.Centuries

William of Aumale, a Norman baron built the first Scarborough Castle, on the Crown land of which he was custodian, some time after 1138. King Henry II recovered the Castle, and the lordship of Falsgrave, within which it had been built. The Kings of England remained lords of the Castle, the Manor and the new  Borough of Scarborough. Their coastal rights were extensive. They later granted the Falsgrave manor to the burgesses but retained the Castle and overlordship of the Borough which was held at farm by the Bailiffs and Burgesses.  Crown rights included prise of fish, purveyancing and pre-emption, among other things

The Kings enjoyed “prise of fish” which was one of every 100 large fish, and 100 of every last of herring, both due to the castle, plus toll and custom of all fish in Richard 11’s time. The prise of fish was worth  £5.6.3d, a substantial figure.

Crown Purveyancing or favourable purchasing rights were sometimes exercised. Burgesses complained in the 1220s that the under sheriff  ook four, three and two lasts of herring from ships and paid low prices. On 27.7.1244 the King ordered the bailiffs to effect the carrriage of corn, with delivery by the sheriff to Newcastle to be handed to bailiffs there for the king's use. On 1.8.1244 they were ordered to receive 500 quarters of wheat and 500 of oats, extra to the first 500 and cause them to be delivered to Holy Island. From the town issues they were to buy a boatload of salt for despatch. By 10.8.1244 they were ordered to sell the 100 of wheat and 500 oats as peace had been made with the Scots. During 1245 they sent £40 from the sale at Newcastle to the Exchequer.

An Inquiry of 1341 listed the Castle incomes-from Scarborough/(Sh 684) 

15 acres meadow in castle worth                        60s p.a.

herbage without the walls                                     10-s

fishery belonging to  castle                       6s4d

drying nets in  the castle                             13s4d

rent of assize in town called gablage      £16.17.11

other rents of assize                                   £10.7.;6

rents paid by Cistercian monks               4s                               (Check figures)

rents of assize at Walsgrave                     £7.5.9@

60 acres of land Henry 3 recovered in an action against certain burgesses,         60s p.a.

tolls of borough                                            £27.0.0

4 watermills and one windmill                 £16.p.a.

drying of nets in Scarborough fields        100s p.a.

3 tenements belonging to Crown            10s8d

profits of court                                              100s p.a. 

sum                                                                £100.4.10@

The bailiffs petitioned the Crown for remedies, in 1348, charging that merchants and mariners “by a confedaracy for their own gain” were scheming to defraud the King of the preezes anciently due to the castle from fish and herring and the men of the town of their tolls and customs, which were used to pay the £66 farm(rent) to the Crown. They went frequently to meet the fishing ship which unloaded the fishing boats which consequently returned empty. It was ordered that if the mariners came to the port, they were to be “attached” (Cal Close Rolls 1346-9 p429).

Customs Duties                                                                                          All Periods

Crown customs duties  were introduced by King Edward I in 1275. Scarborough was normally treated as  being within the customs port of Hull, while Whitby was in the  customs port of Newcastle. For two short periods 1320-43 and 1393-c1401, Scarborough itself was treated as a customs port. The custom charges on all merchants from 1275 were levied on exported wool, wool fells and hides. Annual returns were sent from the designated ports to the Exchequer, but do not always survive. The practise developed of farming the local customs collection out to individuals in return for fixed payments.

Another “ new custom” was  imposed  in 1303 , on foreign merchants, requiring payments on all their trade both inwards and outwards The new custom  was extended in 1347 to include cloth and was made payable by all. Separate accounts survive for SCarborough treated as a “creek” within the jurisdiction of Hull for 1303-1311. King Edward IIIrd  put a duty of 3s4d on evey tun of wine imported and 1s in the pound  on all other non staple imports and exports, the notorious “tunnage and poundage”, which did much to foster import smuggling. 

The borough sought what independence it could, within the broad customs collection system.  Scarborough had its own cocket seal made in 1320 and the town appointed collectors of the new custom on wool, hides and wool fells. (Cal. Close Rolls 1296-1302, 483). Four years later they petitioned for a ‘trone” to weigh and custom wool, arguing that the great sheep pasture called Blakey moor was distant from Hull, while small ports were shipping wool to Flanders, without it being customed. (Rowntree 168) 

Deputies were appointed in 1331 to collect the wine custom and scrutineers of money. (Cal. Close Rolls 1330-1333, 248). Local men Adam de Seamer and William Sage of Scarborough both served terms as collectors of the new custom. Robert Wawayn and Reginald the Carter were the customers for Whitby and Scarborough in 1322. (Cal Cl. R. 1323-7) Henry de Roston and Robert Waweyn in 1326-7 were collecting  2s a tun on wine  at  “Scardeburgh and Whyteby”. (Cal .Mem. Rolls 1326-7)

1n 1558 the government issued a list of ports with defined limits and legal quays, where goods could be loaded and unloaded, subject to customs regulation. New Customs Houses were established at the head  ports c 1572,.The chief officers were required to appoint deputies for small creeks, to keep records and to use informers. By 1591 a small building at East Sandgate was in use as the Scarborough custom house. Tidewaiters went aboard ships to ensure unloading at proper places. Land waiters supervised unloading in harbours.

Fragments of Scarborough Customs Books for 1642-3 records goods landed and subsidies paid on them.  The legal quay of the port of Scarborough in 32 Charles II was "all that piece of ground, wharf or shore, lying before that part of the town from Crosby’s house end, being the house that extends onwards to the sands or harbour towards the south, to that way or passage up into the town called the Middle Sandgate, inclusive". Richard Dighton was Customs collector 1656-7, Jeremiah Bromley was made collector of Customs  in 1685 and in 1687 there was a customs order to sell 18 gallons of brandy illegally landed and in the house of Dorothy Dodsworth. 

John Baines was the Scarborough collector in 1709 and William Wilson the land waiter in 1718. The staff in 1757 included Robert Gowland surveyor, Benjamin Fowler and John Woodill waiters and searchers, Richard Dowker and Richard Welborne tidemen, six boatmen and four riding officers. Timothy Otbie, Collector of Customs, died 30.6.1755, aged 71 years. The extent of the legal quay was reconsidered in 1814. because no one knew where “Crosby’s house and Middle Sandgate” were. The Surveyor-General of Customs advised a new definition of the legal quay (Baker. 372). Before  peace was made with the French, the yearly receipts of the Scarborough Customs House were about £4500 a year”. Peter Owston was Customs officer in 1785, Thomas Harrison in 1787 and John Coulson the  Collector  died in 1823. 

The Customs staff in 1833 included Henry Fowler, the collector, who was paid £200 a year; George Harrison, the Controller/Surveyor with £150, John Young, the searcher, land and coast waiter £100; Samuel Duesbery the  tidewaiter and coal meter £75;  and  George Hill, boatman and coal meter apparently paid  £5. The Customs House  took £1604 in 1838. There was an officer and seven men in 1840. The privilege of bonding was granted in 1841 and a bonding warehouse proposed. (Sh 723). Tidewaiters in 1846 were Charles Tissiman and Edmond Percy, both of Sandside. John Hayton was the Collector in 1864. H.M. Customs, Scarborough, in 1882 was under W. C. Wooller Superintendant, Receiver of Wrecks, and Registrar of Ships. The second officer was Archibald Hill.

Dredgers and Excavation of the Harbour                                 19th-20th.Centuries

Accumulated sand hindered mooring and movement of ships, especially as larger vessels used the harbour. Its distribution changed with alterations in the harbour piers. From 1801 anyone wanting black sand and mud from the inner harbour to manure their land had only to apply. Offenders throwing ballast were fined after 1802. There were complaints of the unsanitary condition of the harbour in the herring season. A new lighter for moving  sand from the harbour was proposed in 1813 but  was thought too costly.

With the peace, in 1815, a long Dutch schuyt without masts, which lay in the harbour, was bought to make a sand lighter. Meanwhile, in order to employ the 150 poor attending the workhouse for relief, sand was  dug out and cast over the end of the new pier, near caste foot. Part of this returned through the gulley holes. The excavation system was continued by the Harbour Commissioners. The sandbank near the  8, 9 and 11 and 12 dolphins had gone. One to three and even four feet had been gained in depth. A committee argued that with more expenditure an area for a tier of vessels for winter moorings mght be obtained above the upper dolphins. (Buckely 62)

The harbour was dug out repeatedly when the tide was out.

Sand lighters were completed and  came into use  in 1817. In the next three years 27,000 tons of sand were taken out of the harbour. During six or seven years, three quarters of the inner harbour was rendered sandless, being taken down to a tough marine clay on which vessels lay without straining. Some old pier foundation stones were removed, gaining depth at the dolphins. The west side of the old pier was also made perpendicular in 1816. (Chapman 11) Knox saw the work done at Scarborough from 1816 to 1818 as the “salvation of  its harbour”. (Knox, Appendix A) (Meadley 106)

William Chapman's account of Tons of Sand taken out by lighters 1818-1828 (and cast into the sea  at a proper distance outside the harbour)

year    old harbour   new harbour             old harbour as ballast total           expence

1818   8910               -                       -                                   8910   148.10.0

1819   8198               -                       -                                   8198   250.16.0

1820   8730               -                       602                             9332   218.5.0

1821   6991               -                       1077                           8068   174.15.0

1822   6510               -                       1069                           7579   162.15.0

1823   8893               -                       1026                           9919   222.6.6

1824   6902               -                       835                             7737   172.11.0

1825   7476               -                       1815                           9291   186.18.0

1826   3556               -                       1087                           4643   88.18.0

1827   5722               1659               1133                           8514   187.3.0

1828   4564               2583               700                             7847   178.13.6

            76452            4242               9344                           90038; £1991.11.10          

After 1866 sand was removed by the newly purchased steam tug Kate, a wood paddler. Within 6 months, she took 700 tons of spoil to deep water out at sea. (Taylor 24) The gains were never permanent. The harbour was excavated again in 1879.  At one point  late in the century, narrow gauge rails were laid into the harbour for dumper trucks to be filled by hand. The harbour was tidal and almost dried out at low water. It remained prone to heavy silting and the Council had to charter a succession of dredgers to remove mud, sand and stones from the bottom. The excavation of the harbour from 1885 to 1897 showed an annual average cost of £138 6s 11d. Excavation and levelling of the harbour by hand continued until the steam bucket dredger “Harbinger” was hired in 1908.

Another dredger and firefighting vessel, the “Skarthi”, was bought and arrived in Scarborough on 9th July 1952. The aim was to have good access for vessels up to 1000 tons. She  was  built  for the Corporation to the design of the harbour master, Captain J. W. K. Hall and cost £22,745. (S. Foord 31). She could dredge to a depth of 35 feet and clear sixty tons in an hour. She was also  hired out to generate income. "Skarthi" went to work in the Forth, but returned to work in Lancaster Flat. Some 10,070 tons were removed from the harbour in the winter of 1955-6 (Merc. 23.3.1956). Another report says that it took 93 loads of spoil, namely 10,230 tons from the east harbour. Some 44 more loads in 1972 took near 5000 tons, and she turned to deal with an area near the Golden Ball, finding a hard compressed limestone. "Scarthi" was refitted with power steering, echo sounder  etc. in 1979. (SEN 17.7.1979) 

A timber vessel was stuck on a sandbank in the mouth of the harbour and had to be refloated at high tide  in 1980 (SEN 20.12.1980) Of 105 cargo vesserls arriving in a period of ten  years, four had mishaps. Harbour depths claimed in the nine  acres old harbour were said to be 14ft. 6” at early spring tides and 9ft at  neap tides. By 1983, the dredger was running over a hard silt rather than mud and going deeper. (SEN 8.7.1983). A new dredger barge “Sandsend” entered service in  2003.

Scarborough Fair                                                                           13th-19th.Centuries   

The grant of a forty-five  day fair was made to the burgesses of Scarborough in 1253. This was to run from the fifteenth of August to the twenty-ninth of  September, namely from the feast of the  Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the Feast of St. Michael or Michaelmas.  This may  have formalised existing practice, but the charter placed Scarborough among the great international ports, virtually sanctioning continuous trading through much of the season. 

A document obtained by the borough in the same period clarified their original borough rights, based on  the customs of York, some of which had been unrealised. York and Beverley burgesses had ancient  privileges and Scarbrough as the only royal borough on the coast had at least nominally enjoyed similar advantages. They  included  some  exemptions for Scarborough men from royal tolls elsewhere. 

Other charters obtained from the Crown in the period 1253-1256  guaranteed  free access to Scarborough for merchants. All merchandise was to be brought freely into the borough, whether it came by land or sea. Merchants were to come, tarry and depart freely and without impediment. Purchase of fish or herrings was confined to the  daytime, and in  the market  on land, after a ship had anchored at the port. The Fair was later proclaimed  by town officers preceded by town musicians and the common crier. The riders rode the bounds of the fair. The need to pay house rents called “gablage” was proclaimed at the same time.  (B315-7) (Gutch. 330 )



A Eustace ferryman was recorded at Scarborough in 1297-9.

Games on the sands

The sands were a natural playground. When church attendance was compulsory on Sundays about the middle of the 17th century, absentees were sometimes charged for playing games on the sands, including  “trippet”, football and "knackes", as well as cards, tables, the joyling ball, pene pricke, and coyttes indoors.

Foot races on the sands appear to have been a local custom rather than a visitor entertainment. There were horse races for Sailor’s, Butcher’s and Innkeeper’s plates in 1729. Races for men and women were held in 1733, another race on 12th August 1751. (Prescott 1577). A race of  a novel kind occurred on Monday 22nd June 1840, for a sovereign a side. Two “old Salts” each about seventy years old, Thomas Bowser and George Duesberry, raced one hundred yards, the victory going to Bowser. They went on to William Tissiman's, in Carr Street for grog. (Meadley 47). A two horse race on the sands on August 24th was watched by thousands, although the hour was five in the morning. (Meadley 170)

Shrove Tuesday, or “Pancake Day” was known as “Ball day” in Scarborough. Apprentices and servants enjoyed a holiday, when many tradesmen closed for the afternoon. Meadley said that "from time immemorial the sands have been the resort of the inhabitants and young people, where ball tossing in all its forms, and other innocent recreations are freely indulged in". (Meadley 113) A later report said that after the midday ringing of the pancake bell tradesman closed businesses and “people skip on the south sands, using long boat ropes, till about three”. In the thirties there was top spinning and shuttlecock as well as skipping. There used to be a Methodist fish pie supper, a bacon, egg, mash and pancakes dinner. (DM Vol 16 .39. 1954). People used to walk to Forge Valley on Good Friday. (DM Vol 26. 251 1964)

Lord Albert Denison gave £23 for boat races on a Saturday for sailors and fishermen in 1849. (SG 27.9.1849) A  few years later, Lord Londesborough gave £30 prizes in October for boatmen to compete in races, which he watched from the lighthouse. There wre rowing races for six men in cobles, one man stone boats, and for four boys in small cobles. Youths climbed greasy poles on the Island Pier for a 10s prize. Ducks and geese were turned loose in the harbour and hunted 1882. Boat races in the bay between Whitby and Scarborough inc1884 gave Whitby the victory. The coronation of King Edward VII was marked by a marine display of an attack on Scarborugh by the sailing and rowing clubs (Coronation programme).cThe 34th annual raft race was in 2005.

The Graham Sea Training School

Fred Appleby recalled starting at the Scarborough Sea Scouts School in 1915. Colin Colclough was the first Headmaster. The school  opened in St Thomas’s Church School room at Tuthill. The first sixteen pupils  were taken were from the top class in the Friarage School. They were not given a choice. Captain H. Nicholson taughted them seamanship. (LF .27.6.1958) The next term other senior classes joined, ages 12-13,  from other schools.  Miss Clifford taught cooking using a galley stove.

Two boats were acquired - ”Maidia”, a ten-oar pulling boat, and “Irene”, a rowing boat donated by Lord Londesborough. On one occasion the head master while demonstrating how to mount a ship fell in the harbour. On another an anchor thrown from Nadia was unattached and was lost. During June 1917 four boys went into the Merchant Navy - John Bourne, Chips Chapman, William Cawood and Fred Appleby.They  were torpedoed  four months later en route for New York.

Christopher Colborne Graham, mayor from 1913 to 1919, offered Paradise house in July 1918 as a gift to the Education Commitee who wanted a site for a sea training school for boys. East Mount started its first term in September 1918 under  headmaster C. W. Colclough. Others say that the school moved to Paradise as the Graham Sea Training School in 1919-20. They acquired a small “Maisie Graham” vessel, then a larger schooner given the same name, which made summer voyages to Europe.

The first Admiralty inspection at the  School was in 1926. The School was also spoken of as the Graham Sea Training and Engineering School, and was under the supervision of the Board of Education. There was  a power driven workshop, also a  gymnasium and a  cinema by 1933. Five boats ranged from a dinghy to a 40 ton cutter. Boys were admitted at 12 and stayed four years. There were about 60 boys in 1933 under Lieutenant  H. H. Heathe. The "Maisie Graham" was eventually sold to Gordonstone School in the thirties.

Another “Maisie Graham”sailed into the harbour for the School in 1972 (. 14.12.2007) This was a 53 foot converted fishing boat bought from Newcastle University where it had been used as a research vessel. This  took pupils and teachers in 1976 on a summer cruise to Ostend, with rough weather calls at Grimsby and Yarmouth ( MJ 31.3.1994). The director in 1939 was Lieut. V. J. Feather and in 1966 Commander C. R. H. Trib. The school closed in 1974 and the house was sold in 1989. (Merc 25.3.1972)  The Maisie Graham was sold in 1985.

Health                                                                                                            17th.Century

Masters of vessels arriving at Scarborough were in some periods examined by a bailiff of the town and required to swear that both the master and company were in health and clear of sickness (1601 Ashcroft 1.28) When plague was reported at Scarborough in 1624, Robert Harthrop and Thomas Fish were appointed overseers for the Undercliff quarter. (Ashcroft 1.134). A pest house was built in the Castle Holmes in 1626. Masters of ships coming to Scarborough from Weymouth, London, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Sandage, Hull, Lynn, North Shields, Hartlepool, Yarmouth, South Shields, and Newcasle in 1636  swore that they were free of the plague. (Ashcroft 1.292-6). Crew of a Newcastle coal ship at London saw the master throw two dead men overboard before reaching Scarbrough pier in July 1637. The bailiffs put the master in one house and the crew in the pest house.(Ashcroft 1.307) Ships from Calais, Campheere, or Campheene, Deepe, Newport and Rotterdam were sworn free that year.

Humane Society                                                                                         19th.Century

This society started at Scarborough in 1822 and opened a receiving house on the Foreshore Road for drowned persons. Funds were used to reward those who saved lives. (Baker 297) They kept a “commodious room on the beach” c 1862 with a warm bath, bed and blankets for those rescued from the sea.

Insurance Companies                                                                   18th-19th Centuries

Robert Burn’s insurance company began business in September 1780, the Scarborough Friendly Marine Association was active by 1799 and the Scarborough Marine Association about the same time. (Buckley 82-7) Benjamin Fowler's office had either 128 or 107 ships insured by 1811. The Scarborough shipowners had three committee run insurance clubs by 1870 which met in the afternoons, for a good Yorkshire tea, at the Talbot and Castle inns. (HH). William Fowler at Sandside, the British, William Fowler junr., Cargo and Freight, William Marsh, and Star Insurance at Quay Street were active at various dates. 

King’s Rents                                                                                    12th-18th.Centuries

The foundation charter for the Borough of Scarborough provided that 4d and 6d rents should be charged for houses that were respectively end on or side on to the highway. The rents were called gablage and went towards paying “the King’s farm”. The King’s Rent Book for 1696 adds “rents of building places, yards, erections on the sands”.

The "king’s rents" in the town were drawn from 365 houses in 1794, and some others for lands and grounds. The houses in the Undercliffe were West Sandgate w 7, Long Greece 2, East Sandgate 6, Shilbottle lane 2, Bolts 6, Key St s 19 n 21, Sandside 23, in all  87. The total number of houses in 1797 was  in Newbrough quarter 254 houses, Aubrough quarter 208, St Mary’s quarter 77 and Undercliff quarter 70.?. (K 11 Letter to town clerk, 18.2.1797 )                  &a

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