Rare pictures of Saltburn-by-the-Sea in its heyday

No matter how often they redraw the administrative boundary, the Victorian seaside town nestled midway between Redcar and Staithes is forever Yorkshire.

June 1922:  Coastguards signalling the results of races on the beach at Saltburn.  (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
June 1922: Coastguards signalling the results of races on the beach at Saltburn. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Saltburn-by-the-Sea, officially now placed inside the borough of Redcar and Cleveland but traditionally part of the North Riding, is a refined and picturesque spa town not very different to when these rarely-seen pictures from the archive were taken.

Britain’s oldest water-balanced cliff lift is here At 120ft high, and with an incline of 71 per cent and twin 240-gallon water tanks, it is the gateway to a mile of curving beach and rugged sea cliffs.

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The region’s only surviving Victorian pier – all 680ft of it – is also here. Threatened with demolition in the 1970s, it has now been completely renovated.

June 1922: Captain Malcolm Campbell (1885 - 1948) in his Sunbeam racing car on the beach at Saltburn. He later went on to hold both the land and water speed records. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

The arrival in Saltburn of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, in 1861, made the town a magnet for day trippers and holidaymakers. But while the atmosphere is still redolent of a bucket-and-spade era long gone, it is also a draw for modern-day adventurers.

It stands at the apex of the 109-mile Cleveland Way, the second of Britain’s long-distance National Trails, after the Pennine Way, and in a normal year, some 350,000 people are drawn to the hike from Helmsley to Filey Brigg, skirting the northern and western fringes of the North York Moors National Park.

Most only go part of the way, and the lure of Saltburn, the northernmost point before the route turns south-westward along the moors, could explain why. With beautiful ornamental gardens, broad avenues and breathtaking views, why go further?

It was the vista that had inspired the railway owner, Henry Pease, to commission the resort as we know it. The sea views from every house, wherever possible, and the gridiron layout of streets named after jewels – Coral, Garnet, Ruby, Emerald, Pearl, Diamond and Amber – are his lasting legacy.

circa 1908: A crowd of day trippers sitting on the cliffs at Saltburn, Yorkshire. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

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A beach scene at Saltburn, near Whitby in 1913, Saltburn. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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The promenade and pier at Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire, England, circa 1900. (Photo by Alfred Hind Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Children playing cricket on the beach at Saltburn near Whitby, England, 1913. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
May 1947: Saltburn Sands in Yorkshire. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)