‘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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.