‘The salty stream’. Salteburnam 1180 – 90, 1203.  Old English salt + burna. The reference is to the alum which is found here.

Information about this place-name was supplied by Victor Watts by personal communication.


Domesday Book

Saltburn doesn’t appear by name in the Domesday Book although some of the lands listed as being part of Marske may have been in Saltburn. However the Domesday entry doesn’t provide enough information to support any such suggestion.


Early Landowners

In 1215, Roger de Argentum granted the Hermitage at Saltburn and all the lands associated with it to the monks of Whitby Abbey. The abbey charters show that the de Argentum family owned other lands in the district.

See “The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Yorkshire North Riding” vol.2 (ed.) W.Page  (1923).


An Early Mention

An early mention of Saltburn in print can be found in an extract of a letter from Newcastle, published in The Political Magazine (1786)

“We hear from Kirkleatham, that the smuggling trade is still continued to be carried on upon the Yorkshire coasts, near Staiths, Saltburn, Marsk, &c. with great avidity. There is a company of smugglers, some of whom reside in England, and others in Holland and Flanders, that employ several vessels solely for this trade. These vessels come upon the Yorkshire coast as regularly as wind and weather will permit, and they no sooner arrive in sight, than the persons employed on this side of the water, dispatch messengers to those connected with them in the neighbouring towns and villages, who quickly assemble and convey the goods to different parts.”


The Lay Subsidy of 1301

There is no mention of Saltburn in the returns of the Lay Subsidy tax collectors. Saltburn doesn’t appear under Marske, Upleatham, Brotton, or Skelton.


Selected Buildings

Albert Memorial (Built as the portico to Barnard Castle station in 1856. Moved to Saltburn Valley Gardens in 1865)

Railway Station (1861)

Zetland Hotel (1863)

Rushpool Hall (1865)

Pier (1868)

Emmanuel Church (1868)

Saltburn Railway Viaduct (1872)

Convalescent Home (1872)

The cliff railway (1884)

Emmanuel Church (1879)

Assembly Rooms (1884) Now the Spa Hotel.

Glenhow School (1884)

Primitive Methodist Church (1910) (Now the Community Centre).


A Few Lost Buildings

Marske Mill (17th century or earlier) demolished in 1971.

Alpha Place (Modern Saltburn’s first street, 1861) demolished in 1901.

The water tower (1865) demolished in 1905.

Old Bandstand (c.1867) destroyed by a bomb during an air raid in 1940.

Halfpenny Bridge (1869) demolished in 1974.

Cliff Hoist (1870) demolished in 1883.

The Brine Baths (1891) demolished in 1976.

Congregational Church (1893) demolished in 1972.

The Cosy Cinema (1920) demolished in 19’95.


Some People of Note 

Henry Pease (1807-1881) Known as the “Father of Saltburn” because of his role in bringing the railway to Saltburn and developing the new town.

Kitty Anderson (1903-1979) Katherine Anderson was a Lancashire-born educationalist who was the first girl educated in Saltburn to get a degree. She became head of the North London Collegiate School and was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1961.

Richard Milner (1908-1940)  Captain Milner was a soldier in the Royal Tank Regiment who was awarded the Military Cross in 1940. He was killed in action in the Western Desert a year later.

George Hardwick (1920-2004) A professional footballer who played for Middlesbrough and was captain of England for two years.

Bruce Turner (1922-1993) A Saltburn-born saxophonist who played with Humphrey Lyttelton before forming “Bruce Turner’s Jump Band” (1957-1964).

David Johnston (1948-2017) A pioneer of theatre for young people who became director of the Theatre Centre company in London.

Christopher Edwards (1950-     ) A businessman who was born into a fairground family in Saltburn. He founded the national retail company “Everything’s £1” which became “Poundworld” in 2004.

David Coverdale (1951-    ) A rock singer with “Deep Purple” and later “Whitesnake”.

Tony Mowbray (1963-     ) A professional footballer who captained Middlesbrough F.C. and later managed the team.

Nicholas Patrick (1964-     ) An astronaut who flew in the space shuttles Discovery in 2006 in Endeavour in 2010.


The Hearth Tax of 1673

The Hearth Tax was a government tax on property, the level of tax due being assessed by the number of hearths in each house. Saltburn does not appear in the tax returns for Langbaurgh East. It is possible that one or more inhabitants of Saltburn could have been included in the list for a neighbouring township, such as Marske, Skelton or Brotton, but none is apparent.



1901     2,578

1951     4,745

2001     5,912 (Saltburn ward)


A Selection of Dates

4th century         The Romans built a signal station on Huntcliff in the late 4th century.

6th century         The Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Hob Hill dates from the 6th century.

1215     Roger de Argentum granted Saltburn Hermitage to the monks of Whitby Abbey.

1618     Alum was being produced at Selby Hagg.

1670     There were two alum mines at Saltburn, which were both leased to the King in this year. At about this time there was also an alum house at Saltburn, close to the shore.

1767     A severe storm led to flooding in Saltburn. Smugglers were active in Saltburn around this time.

1860     Saltburn Improvement Company bought land to develop a new town.

1861     The railway was extended from Middlesbrough to Saltburn.

1863     The Zetland Hotel was opened.  A small church was built. Saltburn became an independent post town.

1864     The Promenade was constructed and the Italian Gardens were laid out.

1865     The Wesleyan Methodist chapel was built. Hob Hill ironstone mine opened. It closed after nine years.

1866     The Primitive Methodist chapel was dedicated.

1868     Emmanuel Church was completed.

1869     Saltburn Pier was opened and the Halfpenny Bridge was built.

1870     The cliff hoist began operating. It was later demolished and replaced by the cliff railway.

1872     Huntcliff ironstone mine was opened. It closed in 1906.

1877     Part of the pier was demolished in a storm.

1880     The Saltburn Improvement Company was taken over by the Owners of the Middlesbrough Estate.

1884     The cliff railway began operating. The Assembly Rooms were opened.

1885     The railway between Saltburn and Scarborough was completed.

1887     The Friends Meeting House was opened. The pier and the Valley Gardens were illuminated by electric light.

1893     The Congregational Church opened.

1899     The “Jovial Jollies” began entertaining summer visitors on the promenade.

1902     The tower at Emmanuel church was completed.

1904     A fire at Rushpool Hall.

1906     Motor car speed trials began on Saltburn beach.

1908     Sir Algernon Guinness broke the European land speed record on Saltburn beach.

1910     The Primitive Methodist church on Albion Terrace was dedicated.

1920     The Cosy Cinema began showing films.

1924     Malcolm Campbell broke the world land speed record on the beach but it was not officially recognised.

1925     A theatre was built on the pier.

1928     Saltburn Urban District Council was formed. The Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Lourdes was consecrated.

1936     The Council acquired the Valley Gardens, and two years later acquired the pier.

1942     Over 100 houses were damaged in a single air raid during the Second World War.

1947     The miniature railway began running.

1960     Saltburn County Modern School (later Huntcliff School) was opened.

1967     Saltburn won the North Yorkshire and South Durham Cricket League Championship this year and in the two succeeding seasons.

1974     The Halfpenny Bridge was demolished.

1982     The first public house in Saltburn opened its doors.

1995     The Cosy Cinema was demolished.

1998     Saltburn won the Best Small Town Trophy in the Northumbria in Bloom contest.

2001     The pier was reopened following restoration work after severe storm damage.

2003     Saltburn came third in the Best Seaside Town category in the Britain in Bloom contest.

2005     Saltburn Cricket Club won the North Yorkshire and South Durham Championship.

2008     Saltburn’s first farmers’ market was held.

2011     Brightly knitted figures were attached to the railings along Saltburn pier. These anonymous creations attracted many visitors and were taken down and replaced by new figures year by year.

2013     Saltburn’s first food festival was held.


This list of dates was compiled using “Saltburn-by-the-Sea” by George Medd and Tony Lynn in the C.T.L.H.S. Newsletter no.77 (2004) and other secondary sources.


Suggested Further Reading

“Saltburn-by-the-Sea: A Pictorial History” N.Bainbridge (1977)

“The History of Saltburn” C.Scott Wilson (1983)

“Saltburn-by-the-Sea Revisited” K. And T.Lynn (2006)

“Saltburn-by-the-Sea: A Brief History from Earliest Times” A.Whitworth (2006)

“Saltburn-by-the-Sea: The Early Years of a Stockton and Darlington Railway Company Venture”, J.K. and A.Harrison, Industrial Archaeology Review, 4 (1980)

“Saltburn Gardens: The Early Years” S.Robbins,  C.T.L.H.S. Bulletin 77 (1999)

The Saltburn by the Sea website.