Bridlington Harbour
Bridlington Harbour | Source

Bridlington ~my place of birth

Bridlington is the place my birthplace and the place I spent most of the first 18 years of my life before migrating to Australia. Bridlington is a holiday resort and fishing port located on the East coast of England. It is close to Scenic Flamboro Head which juts out into the North Sea.) During the winter not much happens people tend to hibernate, as it is cold damn cold. The wind sleight and rain are blown in from the North Sea. Most people rarely go out in winter, they take the necessary precaution of hibernating.

In summer though it is a different story. During these months, Bridlington and its surroundingshave long been a Mecca for tourists, and a retirement haven.

Fishing and light industry are the principal activities for the town. Shipbuilding was apparently carried out here in the 13th century; In1401 Henry IV ordered the Bailiffs of Bridlington to build a barge by Easter to convey men and stores to his army in Scotland.

A Dundee smuggler from Bridlington Bay in 1731 let it be known that he was afraid of none of the King's sloops except the "Salamander"; the Admiralty took him at his word and ordered Captain Hutchinson of the Salamander to go on patrol in Bridlington Bay.

Captain Cook the man credited with finding and surveying much of the Australian coastline came from a village not far from Bridlington.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Bridlington Harbour was at its busiest. In 1816, there were almost 80 grain ships in the year. As well there was a weekly ship to London. There were 145 Bridlington owned ships in 1820. Between 1829 & 1841 the number of voyages rose from 104 to 158. After the railway appeared in Bridlington the boat trade diminished rapidly. and though the new stone piers were built steamships appeared, the Harbour trade dwindled.

At the turn of the 19th Century Bridlington became easily accessible by train and people were able to take a trip on a Sunday and return to work back in the mines and factories in West Yorkshire. A Spa built at both Bridlington, and Scarborough, a town some 70 miles north allowed people to recover from the unhealthy environments The Smoke filled towns of the industrial coal mines, steel and cotton mills environment of West Yorkshire played havoc with peoples health.

The pleasure boats in Bridlington became popular. Notable the MV Yorkshire man, Thornwick, Yorkshire Belle, Boys Own, Flamborian, Bridlington Queen. These boats used to do an hourly or two hourly trips to the chalk cliffs off Sewerby where a vast array of seabirds nest, cormorants, guillemots and seagulls as well as other varieties of seabirds. In my early- teens I got a job on the boat helping with maintenance when I say the boat I mean the Flamborian. The Flamborian was the Boat called the 'Boys Own' which was refitted and renamed. As well a upper deck added to the boat in the late 1960's. My job included chipping off old paint and swabbing the patches with red lead until it could be repainted. Then I used to wash cups & plates in the Cafeteria. Occasionally I would help with tying the boat up in the Harbour.

My father was a musician and played the Piano Accordian from the 1940’s on various boats until 1972.

Bridlington Bay

Bridlington Harbour at low Tide. At high tide it can reach within  half a metre from the top
Bridlington Harbour at low Tide. At high tide it can reach within half a metre from the top
Bridlinton Harbour from the South Side/Arm
Bridlinton Harbour from the South Side/Arm

What I remember most about Bridlington was the Harbour where I used to spend most of my time either on the pleasure Boats The Bridlington Queen the Yorkshire Belle, The Thornwick or the Boys Own. My father was a musician and he used to play the piano accordion on these vessels. In fact he spent twenty or so years 5 months of the year on the pleasure boats after the war. During the war my dad was a Rations Clerk as he had T.B. earler. I used to love going on the boats going down the harbour and going on pleasure trips to Scarborough and Whitby.

The beaches in Bridlington and quite good by British standards. The beaches consist of mostly fine white sand which makes sitting and walking on them pleasurable. Parts of the beaches though have lots of pebbles.


All year around lots of people go fishing on the cobbles and other fishing vessels. During the sixties when I lived there there was fish in abundance But regretfully I guess the North Sea's now have been over-fished.


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Comments 29 comments

walker 2 years ago

Does anyone remember the Bell family that operated a pleasure boat in Bridlington before and after the war?

Leanne 4 years ago

I am glad you enjoyed the clip Barry, I am sorry it brought you tears...Fond tears I hope...I know what you mean though, when I go to Brid now all these years later, I cry when I walk the same path as I used to walk with Mum and Dad, and my dear sister who is no longer with us....Barry I have been lucky enough to have travelled the world twice over, however, I never get the same feeling as I do when I go to Brid...Kind regards Leanne ;-)

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barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Toffee Apple Shop and the tea shop next door vivid memories as a boy

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barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yould remember Jack Pockley then ?

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barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

That would be my Dad for sure

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barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Leanne thanks it brought tears many of them

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barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

In fact I was only 13 of 14 when people like Trevor Silverwood would allow me briefly tot take the helm of th Flamborian on the way back from Sewerby Cliff.

brian lister 4 years ago

used to go twice a week in the 60s and 70s for the fishing in the same boat YOUNG TOM going so often the skipper used to ask me to steer so he could prepare the rods and the bait,still go to brid but not for the fishing and brid is not the same

Leanne 4 years ago

Hi Barry,

Sorry it's taken me a few weeks to send you the link to the footage I told you about, unfortunately I have been so busy with my work.

Anyway it's actually a 16mm film shot by the Huddersfield Cine club in the 50's. It shows two clips of an accordian player. Although the clips are quite short you can clearly see the player. The film shows three holiday destinations and Bridlington is the middle clip.


Regards Leanne.

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barryrutherford 5 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Leanne that would be great one way or the other!

Leanne 5 years ago

Hi, I haven't posted for a while so thought I would put pen to paper, or should I say fingers to keyboard! How nice it is reading through all these comments, they bring back fantastic memories for me.

Something I have to tell you Barry, Whilst looking for old photographs of Bridlington I came accross some old 8mm footage of bridlington that a family had taken and uploaded on to the internet. It's of a boat trip round to Flambourgh and there is an accordian player playing the accordian. I wonder if it's your Dad. Watch this space I will send you the link.

Yes Paul Brid rules. I have the fondest memories going on my hols to Brid in the 60's and early 70's. I loved it then as a child and I love it now. It always takes me back to the good old days. I try and go once a year but I haven't been for a couple of years now, but this year I will be going again.

I too always went on the motor boats and the train and cars at the Spar. My Dad used to have to come on the boats with me as my legs were not long enough to reach the pedal. Does anyone remember how they timed how long you got on the boats...It was egg timers, remember!

Well that's it for now I will send the link for the 8mm this space.


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barryrutherford 5 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

mmm' that was probably my dad !

Gingerbread49 5 years ago

My family & I had a weeks holiday in Bridlington the summer of 1962. I went on the Bridlington Queen nearly every day, I had a crush on the accordian player, he had dark wavy hair. We stayed in a holiday flat on Trinity Road. It was a lovely week.

paul 6 years ago

Love Brid, used to work as releif skipper on the Yorkshire Belle during the summer until about 3 years ago now. Last i heard of Boys Own (Flamborian) she was converted to a house boat on the River Seine in Paris. BRID RULES!

Keith Butterfield 6 years ago

I certainly do remember the toffee apple shop!!

To add to my other memories, we always used to stay in a boarding house in Marshall Avenue on the north side. My parents much preferred the "north". For example, when on the beach you could see all the boats in the bay sailing to Flamborough and back, all whilst enjoying a cup of tea bought from stalls on the prom and brought back to the deckchairs in a white pot jug and served in proper tea cups. I can remember clearly my Mam and Dad walking back with the jug and teacups in their hands through the mass of people on the beach.

Going back to the harbour, before breakfast at 8.30 at the B&B, as a family we used to always go down there for an early morning coffee. We used to watch the harbour slowly coming to life, Bluebird and Swift coming from the back of the harbour to their mooring points on the short pier (North pier?)ready for the day's trips. The coffee shop/hut was used by the sailors and those working at the harbour I guess, as well as later in the day, the holiday makers.

My Dad loved that early morning walk and time by the boats, insisting we all breath the fresh sea air in!

I also remember a new speedboat appearing one year - a real sleek machine that made poor old Swift and Bluebird look a bit tired - a modern "girl" called 007. (I think)

Fantastic. She didn't half blast across the bay on her trips!! Of course she couldn't atke as many passengers as dear old Swift and Bluebird though, and they still were my favourites!

As I write this, more and more memories come flooding back. I won't bore you with thsoe just now - perhaps another time.

One last thing for tofday though - I always remember the full sized mine at the entrance to the harbour from the north prom. Whe I saw taht, I knew I was in my favourite place as a child - the harbour at Brid!!

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barryrutherford 6 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for your comment Keith Butterfield your recollections have revived so many memories which I will comment on later. Remember getting toffee apples from the shops at the start of the north pier ?

Keith Butterfield 6 years ago

Thank you for writing this piece. My family and I went to Brid for our family holidays all through the 1960s. I loved the place.

What happy memories of the Harbour (much preferred it to the beach!) the little boats, train and cars at the Spa, the pleasure boats and Kirby's toy shop!

I remember going for an early morning speedboat ride with my Dad to Flamborough Head one year before breakfast at the B&B. I think it was on Bluebird. Got seasick but it was my first ever "deep sea" boat trip. Must have stood me in good stead - haven't been seasick since!

I bet I will have seen your Dad playing the accordion on the pleasure boats. We used to have a trip every year. I clearly remember the happy atmosphere on those boats, people drinking tea served from large pot jugs (?) and sometimes having a singsong.

Finally, when we used to visit Brid, there were four pleasure boats - the one I couldn't remember was the Boy's Own. Thank you for reminding me.

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barryrutherford 6 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Frank

Thanks for your comment! I probably went to the Cafeyou mention a number of times during my youth. Let me know whats happening there next time you go !

Frank Taylor 6 years ago

Hello Barry, my aunt owned a cafe on the seafront at Brid., facing where the fishing boats came in. Her name was Reene. She did the best fish and chips ever. I have not been to Brid for over 30 years, but I will be going in the future, for old times sake. I remember going on all the pleasure boats, and hope to do it again someday. Many thanks for your comments.

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barryrutherford 6 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for those comments; Kevin Seward. I remember well the Swift and Bluebird. In fact I knew the operator of the Bluebird or at least my dad did. Indeed the fishing cobbles and the fishing festival there was so muchfish in those days Cod Halibut you name it!

Kevin Seward 6 years ago

Like Graham Clouugh I too was born in 1949, but at Bridlington although I didn't live there. My favourites were Swift and Bluebird. And those little motor boats at the Spa (only last year I sampled again with mmy Grandkids) What about the Sea Angling Feastivals held in September. My Grandfather caught a record Mackrel in 1963? at just under 5lbs which was displayed in Vernons Cafe for quite a while.

furfy 6 years ago

Hi Barry ,we used to to brid every year without fail from the 60's thro to the late 70's absolutley loved brid spent many a happy time on the yorkshire belle , boys own and bridlington queen,and remember well listening to the accordian as we left the harbour. does anyone remember the speed boat 007 ??

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barryrutherford 6 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

My God you might well have heard my dad play those tunes on the piano accordina- he played on all of those boats during the 40's-50's-60's

Graham Clough 6 years ago

Hi Barry, Just reading your comments about Bridlington and your life their and the comments from others. I have fond memories of Brid and still live them. I was born in 1949, from Leeds and spent all my family holidays in Brid in the 50's and 60's. I fondly remember all the pleasure boats, Thornwick, Yorkshire Belle, Boys Own ( then became Flamborian), Bridlington Queen, Britania, and the sped boats Bluebird and Swift. In particular I loved to hear the piano accordianist play " We'll meet again" and "Anchors Away". It is shame that there is only one boat left now, the Yorkshire Belle. At least they are keeping the tradition going. It is sad that the centre of the town has been allowed to deteriorate but the at least the North and South promenades have been developed and the Spa Royal Hall is nice after the recent renovations. I have loved Brin for many years and will for ever. My only complaint is I had an 8 hour fishing trip a few weeks ago, off Flamborough and never caught a thing. Must say Brisbane is pretty good too. To Leanne, I too used to sail my yacht in the same boating pool!! Best wishes to all Brid lovers. Graham


Leanne 6 years ago

Lovely to read any comment about Bridlington, my most favourite place in the whole world. I have many fond memories of Brid, My family went there for our holiday's throughout the 60's and early 70's. Ethel you are so right, it has been ruined over the last 25 years with a silly pleasure beach on the front (north end) and other things such as the 2 bowling greens being turned into a car park. The little boating lake where me and my big sister used to sail our little boats has also gone, filled in with soil. I could chat about Brid all night long so if anyone would like to get in touch my email add is:

Take care everyone, lots of love Leanne x

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ethel smith 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Hi Barry well it is different to Australia I should think :) Brid has been ruined lately. I might do a hub. If I do I will link to yours if that's ok?

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Peggy W 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

It is a pretty place. Glad you included all those photos.

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barryrutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

yes rewriting it has brought back memories...

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EverythingMouse 7 years ago

I used to visit here as a child when we lived in England. Haven't been for a long while!

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