Extract from Meadley's Memorials of Scarborough Page 78. "The Foreshore in olden times"
Now that the Foreshore is an acknowledged improvement, it may perhaps be interesting to many readers of these "Memorials," to take an imaginary stroll along the Foreshore as it appeared during the last century. We commence from the Platform, where seamen "most do congregate," in front of the Old Sea Bathing Infirmary, at the foot of the Battery, and proceed from thence to the Spa. Until the Ramsdale Scar Pier was added, the outer pier was called the Saltfish Pier, on account of persons drying saltfish upon it. This trade was carried on to a great extent at Scarborough, and the fish was shipped off to the Mediterranean and other places. The next or inner pier is the older of the two, the shank of which still remains to show that it was first built of unsquared stone; and there was from the years 1786 to 1789, an old man named Ben Johnson, who was kept continually employed in gathering stones in a scuttle or the purpose of wedging them tightly in the piers. The portion of the ground adjoining the pier was occupied as a timber yard and went by the name of the Spars.
In the next portion was a shade occupied by Mr Smiths, boat builder, and afterwards by the salters of fish. We next come to Mr Stephen Wharton's shipyard. The last vessel launched therefrom was called the "Vulnerable"; and was built with her head to the houses and was perhaps the only one so placed in Scarborough. Mr Wharton fitted out all his own vessels, being provided with his own shipyard, block shop, mast and timberyard, ropery, factories, bleach house, etc. His death caused a great stagnation in the town, there being above a hundred persons thrown out of work. A portion of the Foreshore beyond Mr Wharton's was occupied by Mr Smith, as ship and anchorsmith. The next site known as Fowler's Hill was occupied by Mr John Fowler, an eminent shipbuilder. We proceed further and find a large building running to the south, and further into the harbour, the dwelling of Mr Hopper, whose block and mastshop adjoined the said premises on the seaside. These premises remain standing, a portion of which is now converted into what is termed a "British Workman." We next come to the front known as Tindall's Hill, from which many first-class vessels have been launched. Adjoining was Mr Dale's ship stock's which was afterwards occupied by his nephew, Mr George Smith. Crossing East Sandgate, we arrive at the boat-builder's shade, occupied for many years by the family of Smith's, and another by Mr William Henry, and opposite to the Old Long Room was Heward's stocks, from which in 1794 a three masted vessel fell over with her masts fixed.
We cross West Sandgate and come to Mr John Skelton's, boat builder, and passing along reach Bland's Cliff, where a number of wharehouses for storing fish, fishing gear, and other shipping property were situated. Ships were built on the shore three places between Mr Skelton's and Henderson's Cliff, the builders including Mr John Shore, Mr William Newham, and Mr George Riby. We cross the beck running from the Mill, and proceed to the Dropping Spring, where a spout projects from the cliff, the water from which was generally used for strengthening the eyes by washing. Adjoining this was a lofty cliff overhanging the sands, which in 1823 fell, and a man named John Hogg and two horses were killed in an act of loading a cart with gravel underneath. We now arrived at the Spaw, which in those days was approached from the Sands by a rude wood ladder, and a cottage at the top was built of wood. This house, occupied by the celebrated "Dicky" Dickinson, governor of the Spaw, was destroyed by an earthquake which occurred in 1737. It was rebuilt and occupied by Mr William Allanson, a successor to the above governor, who died in 1775, having lived to the age of 103 years. He always said that he lived well and the Spaw water was his sovereign remedy. On the north side of the Spaw sat an old woman named Hannah Saunders, who sold sweets, gingerbread, etc. to the visitors, and sometimes gave them valuable advice as to their health and drinking the waters. Amongst her numerous patrons was the Duchess of Leeds, who was a frequent visitor to Scarborough in olden times.