Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire

October 19, 2017

Sunday was a perfect October day. Bright, still and not yet too cold. On this basis I managed to lure the present Mrs Ives into the Morgan and we set the controls for Salturn-by-the-Sea.

Located on the North Yorkshire coast this small resort of about 6,000 people is nestled into the former heavy industry conurbations of Teesside. The town has always existed as a resort, established in the 19th Century. Boasting a long attractive beach and restored Victorian pier there is a lot to like but the town on the cliff behind is quite a small affair and not overly prosperous. Frankly you’d be hard pressed to give it a definable status in the 21st century other than as housing community for commuters to Middlesbrough.

For me it is redolent with memories. In 1965 at the tender age of 10 years old I was despatched to Saltburn Manor School to board. Seventy miles from my home. Any visit for me is an examination of a distant memory with some diverse recollections.

The school was located on a hill detached from the town by valley gardens. The link into town was via a classic 19th century 200 metre long iron footbridge. Need less to say this bridge fell into physical decline and was demolished in 1974 but by this time the school had shut. I long remember the short walk into town across this bridge. The loss of the bridge and school is quite a significant ‘erase’ and a visitor wouldn’t know of their former existence without research.

Our visit started at the pier and in stark contrast to 1965 I found three Muslim girls on the pier attempt to take a selfie. I helped by taking a group photo. We then observed the fishermen at the end of the pier wondering what fish they might haul up before ascending the steep cliff back into the town centre.

The heart of the town is dominated by the railway station and a selection of shops that at best seem remnants of more prosperous times. 

In one of these shops I remember buying my mother a record for a present. It was “Strangers In The Night” by Frank Sinatra. Another memory was the organ pipes at a local church. On Sunday mornings we were marched in a ‘crocodile’ into town for a church service. As a child I spent many Sundays sat on pews and gazing around these fairly austere and chilly surroundings, which were always leavened by some colour. Most church organ pipes are not painted but these were. Other memories include the manufacture of balsa wood models. This involved glue and dope for the paper clad wings. More brilliantly for a small boy it also included a fiercely sharp scalpel like knife to fashion the wood. I still have the scar where I managed to remove a flap of skin on my thigh!

I only spent one year here before I was sent to another boarding school in Harrogate.

On our stroll we found a local delicatessen cum grocery and enjoyed a coffee before finding the car and returning home. We found an epic winding route from Stokesley to Hemsley. Things were a little quiet on my left hand side during the journey. I later received the terse comment that I had enjoyed the Morgan on the demanding roads pushing it a little too fast though the corners. Nonsense.

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