Saltburn-by-the-Sea 1860 - 1890: A Vision Realised?

Flanagan, Louise (2019). Saltburn-by-the-Sea 1860 - 1890: A Vision Realised? Student dissertation for The Open University module A826 MA History part 2.

This dissertation was produced by a student studying the Open University postgraduate module A826 MA History part 2. The research showcased here achieved a distinction.
Please note that this student dissertation is made available in the format that it was submitted for examination, thus the author has not been able to correct errors and/or departures from academic standards in areas such as referencing.
Copyright resides with the author.


Saltburn by the Sea was established by Quaker industrialists as a brand new seaside resort in north east England in 1860. This study examines what role Quakerism and class played in the development of Saltburn as a seaside resort. This is achieved by examining the type of housing and leisure amenities in the resort, how the town was received by visitors and residents and why Saltburn faltered in the 1880s.

The study uses contemporary guidebooks to assess how Saltburn was received by early visitors and also utilises newspaper reports, both local and national, to discover how the resort was reported in its infancy. The scandal which appeared in The Lancet in 1866 concerning Saltburn’s water and drainage arrangements is fully investigated. An assessment of the town’s leisure facilities is made and whether they appealed to the lower classes and temperance is also discussed as Saltburn was a dry resort with no public houses for over one hundred years. The stalling of the resort’s development is discussed with reference to the Long Depression and competition from other elites.

The study concludes that the Perkins theory is correct and the dominant elite set the social tone of a resort. In Saltburn, the improvement committee was mostly made up of Quaker industrialists who made a conscious decision to create a resort aimed at the most sophisticated visitor. This was achieved by only offering leisure facilities which made a charge, limiting excursion trains, banning alcohol and the refusal to offer traditional working class recreations. This decision was to the resort’s detriment as the masses chose other nearby seaside towns such as Redcar, therefore Saltburn’s development had largely ceased towards the end of the nineteenth century.

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