Wyvill Todd in 1782 and Thomas Parkin in 1796 were Scarborough sailmakers. Little is known of them or of others in the craft. Their sail lofts were near the harbour. Both Scarborough and Whitby also had sail cloth manufactories in the same period. The bleach house was outside the town, at the head of the valley which today leads down to the Rotunda Geology Museum, the Spa buildings and to the sands. Standardisation of the sails of the full rigged ship came in the late 18th century. A ship might have as many as thirty seven sails as its normal equipment.
Sails were made by sewing breadths of canvas together. They were double seamed at the edges, and circuited with a bolt rope. Something over a hundred stitches went into the yard. Extra pieces of canvas were stitched on, to strengthen parts open to strain. Many holes had to be made, and well sewn around, to receive cordage for reefing the sail. All sails took their name from the mast, stay or yard on which they were extended.
Sailmaker John Parkin aspired to become a Bailiff of Scarborough Corporation in 1788. The Corporation had bailiffs then, where we have a Mayor. He was one of the forty four councillors. He had prospered and had houses on the both sides of Scalby village street. On some accounts, he held the distinctve house called Yew court. He took his family to Scalby each Summer. When he came to town, he rode in a "Yarmouth cart" ,with "John Parkin Esquire" inscribed on the side.
The Scalby squire of high renown this morning came from that fair town apparelled in his best array in honour of the happy day when he should shine in bailiffs gown and on the vulgar proudly frown."
His body decked with care and art He scorned to ride in his Yarmouth cart so trudged along with stick in hand upheld, and fancying it a wand And, as he mark'd the dreary way Thus to himself was heard to say.
"When I'm locked up as now I must I'll in the house kick up a dust Myself I will a bailiff make And for my daughter Tompy's sake Robson my soin shall Town Clerk be Then who so great as he and me"
Alas, John Parkin wasn't well enough connected. He was mocked as "the dung cart squire". William Clarkson, a butcher and John Travis, a surgeon mustered their forces and voted him off. James Tindall and W. Duesbery were named bailiffs. They said that he said..........
"God damn the butcher, curse the day when all my plans for self and son are by his malice, quite undone "