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Historical Database - North Yorkshire ports and popular summer resorts : Scarborough and Whitby

The resort of Scarborough on the North Sea Coast of the North Riding of Yorkshire grew rapidly in the nineteenth century to become one of the country's premier destinations for holidays and day trips. With some spectacular coastline locally, trips were popular. They did, however, require a sail on the North Sea which could often be choppy. The ports of Bridlington to the south and Whitby to the north were favoured destinations. Local harbour tugs and summer visiting tugs vied for business 

Above : A post card view of Cambria - a typical harbour tug which could turn its hand to short pleasure trips from the coastal resort

Built in 1852 by Alex. Denny at Dumbarton
131.7 ft
2 cyl diagonal engine 22 and 22 in x 49 in (ex- Waterwitch of 1845)
Former Loch Lomond steamer Queen Victoria which became a smuggling vessel between Gibraltar and Morocco sailed for James Swallow at Scarborough from 1868-1872 before becoming a ferry on the Mersey between Egremont and Liverpool

Built in 1866 by Lewis & Stockwell at Greenwich
149.8 ft
Oscillating  30 and 30 x 34 in engine by J Penn & Sons at Poplar
Operated by the Gainsbrough United Steam Packet Co until 1909 and the East Coast Passenger Service Ltd registered at Grimsby from 1909 until 1914
Registered at Newcastle from 1919 to 1922


Built in 1879 by R Smith & Co at Preston
118.7 ft
Tug : Owned by the Scarborough Harbour Commissioners from 1900-1913 which offered local excursions.
Sold for use in Hull, she was the last paddle ship owned by the Commissioners

Built in 1900 by Allsup & Co at Preston
135 ft
Diagonal 30 and 30 in x 48 in
Originally used as a tug at Great Yarmouth as Lord Roberts
Moved to the River Tees in 1919 with the Furness Shipbuilding Co
Offered summer excursions from Scarborough from 1925 to 1934 as Bilsdale under the ownership of the Crosthwaite Steamship Co, based at Middlesbrough


Above : Local post card view of Bilsdale, Scarborough's summer excursion steamer in the late 1920s and early 1930s more closely resembles a pleasure steamer than a tug

Tugs could not only turn their hand to pleasure cruises. Scarborough was home for a number of tugs which were used as fishing vessels. Lord Clyde of 1864 was built at Cork for use at Queenstown (now Cobh) before moving to Scarborough owners in 1882. This trawler sank after a collision in 1893. Tug Express, built at Waterford in 1871 also arrived at Scarbrough in 1882 for its new fishery role and also suffered a tragic end being wrecked on rocks off the County Durham coast in 1886. Cardiff-built Dunrobin of 1876 had already become a trawler when she arrived at Scarborough in 1895 and the Durham coast also proved fatal for her in 1908 although she was refloated off Seaton Carew beach and taken for scrapping


The major fishing port of Whitby was also a major tourist draw and tugs came down from the Tees to capitalise

Built in 1884 by by Hepple & Co at North Shields.
123.5 ft
Two single cylinder engines 32 x 58 in. Two funnels abreast
Conqueror hed served on the Thames Estuary and at Boulogne, France (as Conquerant), before working out of Middlesbrough from 1904 until 1910. After serving on the Firth of Forth, she returned to Newcastle in 1917 and remained there until broken up in 1956

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