On our recent trip to Scarborough, we spent a day further up the coast in Whitby. Whitby is 19 miles north of Scarborough and for most of the journey we drove through the stunning North York Moors National Park, with scenery like this:
Whitby is a small fishing town on the mouth of the River Esk which flows into the North Sea. It’s famous for its ruined Abbey, as the place where Captain Cook did his apprenticeship as a seaman and as the place where Dracula came ashore when his ship was wrecked in a storm. Apparently Bram Stoker was staying in the town when a real ship was wrecked on the shore and that gave him an idea for his novel.
Whitby is also world-renowned for its beautiful jet jewellery. Jet is the fossilized remains of the monkey-puzzle tree from the Jurassic period and is mined along a seven and a half mile stretch of the coastline around Whitby. The town centre is full of shops selling jet jewellery which became very popular during the Victorian period when Queen Victoria wore it as part of her mourning dress for Prince Albert. Here are some pieces from the Whitby Jet Heritage Centre:
So whilst the rest of the family went off to find the Dracula Experience, I popped into the Heritage Centre where they have an exhibition showing a real Victorian workshop. As you can see from the following description, making jet jewellery could be a very dangerous job:
I hope the lady who wore the jewellery made by this unfortunate chap appreciated it.