The Scarborough Mercury, of 2nd June,1860 reported a hurricane that hit Filey the previous Monday. It was truly "the worst ever" calamity to have hit the Filey. It came "so suddenly upon the coast that, in ten minutes, the calmness of the Bay and neighbouring waters was changed to a boiling flood".
Half of the Bays Yawls were wrecked. Filey Bay has no harbour and the vessels were devastated. Most of the boats were driven onto Speeton rocks. Some crews bravely launched their yawls in order to save them. Some had to be picked up by other vessels. Loss of property was said to be £10,000. The loss was all the greater since nets had been bought for the new herring season which begins in July. The nets were swept away whilst the fishermen still had to pay the loans taken out to by them.
In the Saturday June 9th,1860 Scarborough Mercury is a letter sent by a Dr Cortis of Filey which was addressed to the editor of the Times. It read -
"Sir, The Times frequently chronicles shipwrecks which occur in this bay, and almost as often has to add, 'The crew were saved by the Filey Lifeboat'. A short time since it was stated at one of the meetings of the National Institute on that this boat had saved more lives than any other in England, and during my own residence here, of nearly twenty years, I know that in every shipwreck our fishermen have cheerfully pushed to the rescue - men having often to be called out of the boat from too many volunteering, but never to be urged into it - and ,after saving the lives of the crews, have taken them to their homes and supplied them with warm clothing and other necessities... Many of these men who have so often helped others are themselves now urgently requiring assistance. The gale of Monday last has not only destroyed their property , but has also deprived them of the means of a livlihood".
He concludes saying that the men were deserving of help since
"a more industrious, sober, well disposed set of men cannot be found if you search the Kingdom through".
Scarborough was hit badly as well. In cooks row, Princess Street,Longwestgate,Potter Lane, Castlegate,Sandside,and many other parts of the town where houses were exposed to the storms, chimneys fell and tiles were ripped off the roofs. Rutland Terrace suffered worse with windows facing the sea blown out and roofs stripped of slates and lead. On the south cliff two houses were "completely dismantled". A hairdresser who lived in Globe Street was killed when his house was wrecked. His wife escaped because she went to visit a neighbour. Their five children escaped miraculously as they were all pulled from the rubbble of the house uninjured.
Scarborough boats too suffered badly. The Steamer "Nightwatch" was sent out to look for a couple of cobles which had been at sea. One belonging to Wm Nightingale was picked up. A coble belonging to Wm Dalton capsized on the rocks near Brewster Point. The crew pulled themselves to safety under the cliffs. A Mr Crake went to sea to inspect his lobster pots and got into difficulty and had to save himself. A vessel seen heading from North of Scalby towards Castle rocks was saved by a Steamer "Fames" which successfully towed her to Flamborough Head. It was the "Ellen" of Whitby.
An unusual incident happened in the South Bay. The Mercury reported
"A party of young men went to sea in a small boat for an hours pleasure previous to business. The storm overtook them, and though not far from the harbour, they were unable to gain it, and were drifted onto the rocks a mile or two south. "
The tide was high and seas heavy. One man acted bravely
"casting himself from the boat, he battled with the wind and water, taking with him the rope of the boat, and providentially landed, though with much difficulty. He hauled the boat to shore, and thus saved his companions".
He was a Mr Frankish, a medical pupil with Dr Robertson.
Six fishermen were lost in boats that sail from Scarborough. They were Thomas Roebottom, B Lancaster, Wm Lancaster, Robert Cammish, Thomas Clayburn and Manning Clayburn. They left between them 4 widows and 26 children. Their plight moved the town. Subscriptions were collected by Messrs Theakston, Beeforth, Spong and Appleyard. The Scarborough Musical Union organised a benefit concert in the Town hall. The Xantho Steamboat set up an excursion in aid of the fund.
- Scarborough Mercury 2nd June, 1860
- Scarborough Mercury 9th June, 1860