Whitby jet is a decorative black stone which adorns many a necklace, ring or bracelet in the Jewellers of Whitby. It became popular in Whitby during the Victorian Era. The stone is formed from the fossilised remains of the Monkey Puzzle tree and since the Bronze Age, people have been crudely carving pieces of Whitby jet.
The mechanisation of production in the first decade of the 19th Century helped transform it from a minor industry into a larger employer than the town’s shipyards.
The Victorian notion of the annual holiday, and the inevitable souvenir hunting which accompanied these trips, helped boost demand for Whitby jet.
More importantly, the deaths of the Duke of Wellington (1852) and Prince Albert (1861) led to jet becoming an integral part of Queen Victoria’s attire.
Any woman who wished to appear associated with aristocracy quickly adopted mourning jet jewellery too.
The Whitby Jet heritage centre can be found at the foot of the steps leading to the Abbey.
This is a small photographic equipment shop, which I thought deserved a free plug, as earlier today (23/3/06) on my way home from work placement I decided to pop into BOOTS to get a bigger xD Memory card for the Digital camera I bought myself for my birthday earlier this week - they had the official Fuji 128MB card for 19.99GBP, which was a penny under what I had in my pocket at the time (a 20GBP note)........ took the dummy pack to the counter, except they couldn't find any xD memory cards to exchange it for.
So, I went to Picturesk instead...... found the exact same memory card there for 18GBP (and there was plenty of them, too).
Usually they're pretty well stocked.... and as it's a dedicated Camera store (not a chemists that does photography stuff as well), you don't have to wait in a queue alongside people buying cough sweets, condoms & haemorroid cream to pay for whatever it was you went in for + should also be able to help you out if your camera is having a few technical gremlins.
What to buy: Camera's, Camera film, extra memory cards for you digital camera + have your films developped too in the case of this shop.
What to pay: n/a
Frank Meadow Sutcliffe was one of the few people with a camera in Whitby in Victorian times and he became world famous as one of the greatest exponents of pictorial photography, winning over 60 gold, silver and bronze medals in his lifetime.
He recorded Whitby life as he saw it - old sailing ships, fisher folk around the town , children playing on the beach and although many of the photographs were clearly posed they show a view of life in Whitby many years ago.
The shop is a gallery of Sutcliffes work - there are simple cards on sale that make excellent birthday or general greetings cards , books and large prints all of Sutcliffes fine work.
The shop is easy to negotiate and upstairs is the gallery of the Flowergate studio - a modern studio who photograph Whitby as it is today.
The upstairs is not suitable for the disabled.
What to pay: Various - cards from £2.25 to large framed prints at £100+.
As once featured on the cooking show "Two Fat Ladies", and other TV shows since, Fortune's Kippers is regarded by many foodies as producers of the world's best "Kippers" (smoked Herring).
The company was Established in 1872, and (obviously) still going strong.
The street side Window features a newspaper clipping of the visit from the Two Fat Ladies, and recently been accompanied by another featuring (I think) TV chef James Martin.
One of the other windows now somewhat amusingly sports one of them new "It is illegal to smoke on these premises" (erm.....?) signs required by the new smoking (tobacco) ban in force in the UK now.
And for those of you who don't know what a "Herring" is, Wikipedia states:
Herrings are small, oily fish of the genus Clupea found in the shallow, temperate waters of the North Atlantic, the Baltic Sea, the North Pacific, and the Mediterranean. There are 15 species of herring, the most abundant of which is the Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus).
EXTENDED DIRECTIONS INFO (won't fully fit in the box provided):
Cobbled section of Church Street.... when you get to the bottom of the 199 steps, instead of going UP the steps, take the cobbled street that continues past the left side of them. (sometimes all you have to do is follow the "smoke signals"), and it's on the right side of the street (left if heading back from the East Pier further up).
What to buy: Kippers (Smoked Herring)
What to pay: n/a
On the outside, this shop can be a little bit deceptive, with the window display on the left side of the shop front often filled with knives, plastic pellet guns + handcuffs (among other interesting items, sort of makes me think of Herman of "Herman's military antiques" off "The Simpsons")...... on the inside, it's another of those top-notch small Whitby businesses I only mention here if I know them to be any good dealing with / looking around.
I very recently used them because I've been getting pee'd off with them cheapo £10 - £15 suede effect walking boots / shoes sold in most regular high street shoe shops, as the sodding things barely last me 3-6months before they start looking shredded, and taking water in like you've got a firehose hooked up to them........ today was particularly bad when I had to walk into town, with my right shoe feeling like a swimming pool when I'd barely got a minutes walk from me front door.
So this time I decided to get them from a proper outdoors equipment store, with Hall & Coates seeming the best bet when I did a preview look round all the outdoors gear stores in town a week or two earlier (though admittedly getting back out again was a little tricky that time, as it was still the school holidays, so the place was busy with tourists)..... after having a quick browse at what footwear they had on display + a few other items I might get next time, in the vain hope i might still get some day trips in this year, I picked a pair of walking boots I like, and was quickly fixed up with a pair of the right size (the lady offered to let me try them on first, but me feet were still soaking wet, so I opted against it but they fitted ok when I got home).
I'm probably definately likely to buy from there again once I have money to spend again, and if you're in the area it's one of the best places for you to go if you need gear to explore the more remote parts of the North Yorkshire Moors... or you arrived in the country unprepared for the British weather (and you want the clothing to actually be warm & waterproof + last more than 5minutes).
What to buy: Walking shoes / boots, rucksacks for day tripping / hiking (day-sacks / day-packs?), waterproof clothing, tents, etc.
What to pay: Walking shoes / boots = £19.99 - £60
rucksacks = £5.99 - £25
Located on the edge of Whitby, this garden centre was opened a few years ago and already well established.
It has just about everything, though a look around earlier today showed it mostly just had plants for outside in the garden rather than houseplants, too (I mainly went because the day before I wrote this, my Dad had the audacity to steal the big houseplants from around my computer and tipped them out onto the garden, and I'm having a right job trying to find suitable replacements in order to feel more settled here!).
Anyway, there's a large selection of garden plants + containers for planting things in, and they also sell antiques.
There's also a cafe with indoor & outdoor seating, the outdoor seating being some picnic benches on some decking, and the view is seriously WHOA!!!!!!!!! as you can see right the way over to the Cliffs with Whitby Abbey and beyond out to sea + also the hills in the surrounding countryside.
It's at least worth a look around + maybe spend some time in the cafe.
Journey best taken by car.... it's accessible via the grass verge between the Petrol station at Four Lane Ends and the garden centre, but it's a bit of a trek + a fair bit of traffic too.
What to buy: Garden plants, antiques, Jams / Preserves, greeting cards, Garden ornaments
What to pay: They had everything, from plants for a couple of £, to an old style stone trough / farmyard water container type thingy with a price tag of £2100 chalked onto it.
What a find in such a remote location! The Botton Village Store is an organic food store in the middle of nowhere - south of Danby and follow the signs on single track roads to Botton. Wonderful selection of organic food in a new modern shop with staff who understand the value of what they sell. Not cheap but people come from miles around to buy.
What to buy: The bread is freshly made at the nearby craft centre. Good range of herbs for casseroles etc.
Organic drinks too.
This shop is a small relativly new shop located right on the harbour. The shop sells some very modern and unique small gifts such as candles in unusual designs and ornaments. They also sell some larger unique items such as chairs made from trees, and retro and antique style mirrors and clocks. The shop has a lovely atmosphere and the owner is always extremly friendly.
What to buy: My favourite items in the shops are the postcard/pictures the shop sells of local scenes in the area. They show the surrounding area in their true beauty and really show it off to the best. They are not tradtional postcard more like small pictures but make a lovely gift showing some beautiful sites.
What to pay: The shop is very reasonable in price and gifts can be found relativly cheaply, however the larger items are obviously rather more expensive.
Sadly I cannot find the name of this shop anywhere and cannot remember it. I have however tried to describe its location below and hopefully this will lead you to it. The shop is one of the larger jewelers in whitby and sells nothing but. The shops has large windows occuping a corner spot right where the abbey steps start. The shops specialises in jet and amber jewelry in both silver, gold and white gold, and has some beautiful peices, most of the stuff is in the windows for you to see around the shop however there is also more to see inside.
The shop is slighty more on the expensive side so be careful to check prices but they do offer a wider range than most places. However it is worth noting there are alot of jewelers in whitby - try church lane, where there are lots of smaller jewelers who will again offer different peices.
The shops sells alternative items, which are now become more well known. The shop for example sells items for those intrested in crystal healing, reiki , indian head message etc. The shop has a lovely ambience and is very calming. The owner is extremly helpful and is always happy to answer any questions you may have for him. The shops specialises in armotherapy, crystals, cards, books and tibetan items. My experiences has found that the shop is always well stocked with crystals of all ranges, and is a very good place to buy these. They have the more main stream to the more unusual. The owner again seems to have a great knowledge of these and is always willing to give you advice on anything you buy.
What to buy: You can pick up some whitby jet here to buy (however it can be expensive) I reccomend trying to get a peice of the rocks at staithes. However they do sell a wide range of crystals from mainstream to rare, and incense. The pendulams are also rather cheap.
What to pay: The items in the shop are fairly priced and reasonable.
Whitby's oldest Bakery, they've been baking Bread & Cakes since 1865...... and the only genuinely local one (all the others are from out of town..... "Cooplands" & "Woodheads" coming from Scarborough), with some of their products good enough to be sold in Harrods ("Plum Bread" + I think also "Ginger Brack", maybe their biscuits too but not sure).
The main shop is on "Skinner Street", where the bakery is located round the back with a Cafe upstairs. There's a second shop on Baxtergate which also has a cafe (up near the junction with "Wellington Road".... from the Railway station cross the road at the pedestrain crossing, up the street directly in front of you, turn right after the greengrocers and it'll be the 2nd shop on the right).
Winner of several awards, including won a Gold at the Great Taste Awards and was also voted Best Speciality from Yorkshire for their "Yorkshire Brack". Certain products also available via mail-order from their website
What to buy: Lemon buns - a sort of sweet bread bun with currents inside, topped with a lemon flavoured white icing dolloped on top (a favourite of TV chef "James Martin").
Butterbuns - a sweet breadbun with a HUGE dollop of Buttercream inside, dusted on top with icing sugar.
Strawberry Tarts - Available in the summer months, consists of a pastry casing filled with fresh strawberries & Strawberry Jelly (or "Jello" as I believe americans call it).
Crusty Bread - a large selection of locally baked Crusty bread (not like that stuff you get in supermarkets). White, brown, wholemeal, tuscan plait (good with soup), large, small, sliced, unsliced....
"Plum Bread" - a sort of malt loaf type thing stuffed with dried fruits, packed in plastic, available via mail order.
"Yorkshire Brack" - weird, hard to describe, but damn good to eat.
Yorkshire Curd tart - Pastry casing filled with Cheese curd & currants... tastes better than it sounds.
Too many other items to list
What to pay: individual Cakes are usually about 30p upto about 85p for a Strawberry tart
Bread usually about 70p - 90p
This shop sells handmade Jewellery, made from the Famous "Whitby Jet" (as worn by Queen Victoria after her husband died) which is a semi-precious gemstone formed from fossilised Monkey puzzle tree, and usually mounted on some fancy silverwork.
Whitby's jet is regarded as the finest quality that there is in the entire world.
What to buy: The pendant's & Ear rings are usually pretty good for sucking up to your Wife / Girlfriend.
What to pay: Usually around 15 - 40GBP
This is the longest running of the 2 tackle shops in town, and despite there being barely room to swing a cat on the shop floor the prices there are absolute bargains - even putting some of the big mail order tackle firms you see advertising in the magazines in the shade.
It's mostly geared towards Sea fishing + Game fishing (fly casting + lure bashing for Trout & Salmon), since that's what the local fishing mostly consists of, but there's some good coarse fishing stuff too.... like one time I managed to pick up a Shakespeare float rod RRP'ed @ 145GBP for a mere 50GBP
Main brands usually stocked are: Shakespeare, Masterline, Rapala, Cortland, Fladen, Kamasan (Hooks) + Middy (hooks).
The staff are good, and aren't the sort who'll try to steer you towards something more expensive they're trying to get shot of (a plus point if starting out in fishing, and getting kitted out) + in the event something you bought there goes wrong, they'll usually deal with it without fuss (e.g. Give you a replacement, argue it out with the manufacturer later).
What to buy: Rods, Reels, Hooks, Handlines + Baits for fishing off the Pier or by the Swing Bridge.
Also fishing lures.
What to pay: Handlines for the kids - less than £2, Bait for fishing off the pier or by the swing bridge around £1.75.
Good bargain prices on Rods & Reels (quality ones, not cheap pish).
Heading down the 199 steps, you'll soon be aware of the heady scent of burning wood chippings, with a tinge of smoked fish, above the rooftops to the right, you'll probably see a whisp of smoke.
At Fortunes, Kippers have been cured since 1872. Around this time, Whitby was a thriving fish port, with many of its families being involved in the catching, treating and selling of fish. Smokehouses would have been a common sight and smell!
As far as I know, this is the only remaining shop / smokehouse in Whitby.
Well worth stopping by to read the newspaper cuttings in the window (several TV cooks have featured Fortunes on their programmes- James Martin, Two Fat Ladies etc.)
Next to the shop door is the smoke house, where racks of kippers hang above smouldering oak wood chips. Around the door frame can be seen the black oil from the smoked fish.
What to buy: Although I didn't purchase any kippers, there was a steady stream of shoppers, cramming into the tiny shop.
Besides kippers, there was kipper pate and smoked meats to tempt the palate!
Hopefully enough people will purchase these delicacies during their visit- The 2 brothers that run the family business are under pressure from EEC regulations- they can only sell from these premises, and aren't allowed to send mail order. Also, it is unlikely that any of their offspring will be continuing the family craft.
What to pay: I'm not sure about the prices, but I think the pate was £1.99 a tub.
I discovered this shop a few years ago, and fell in love with it! So each trip to Whitby, I have to call here!
Entering from the street, you're in foodie heaven! A deli counter stocked with cheeses, including local Yorkshire produce, cooked meats, pates etc. A wide selection of teas and coffees. Shelves stocked with a wide variety of pastas and other dried goods. Biscuits, cakes and chocolates. Spices and herbs, preserves etc.
Step through to the back , and you're surrounded by rails crammed full of delicate silk camisoles and dresses, embroidered, with beading/sequins etc. Beaded mules and sandals, plus jackets, wacky wellingtons etc.
Carry on further in , and you're in the Sanders Yard Restaurant, where fresh cakes, gateauxes, sandwiches can be bought, either to eat inside, or if its warm, venture out side, and sit in the relaxing courtyard.
Accom available too!
What to buy: Local produced goods - cheeses, jams, chutneys.
A dress or top for 'that special occasion'
Enjoy afternoon tea or elevenses/ lunch in Sanders Yard.
If, like me, you become smitten with this establishment, check out my accomodation tip on Sanders Yard!
What to pay: Pheew! from a few pence to as much as you/ your bank manager can afford!