The following story was surrounded with great mystery. It was handwritten by a man who lived in an old folks home in Scarborough. One of the carers at that home gave it to the Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre. It is exceptionally well written and includes some interesting descriptions of the Scottish fisher lasses, and a description of the German bombardment of Scarborough in 1914. Yet the names of the "Grandfather" in the article and the Grandson who wrote it were not known. Some basic checks of electoral registers showed that the grandfather was probably Robert Cammish who was married to Lavinia Cammish. The grandchild was probably called Tommy Robson.
The house still stands, Georgian, warm red brick, looking out over the Harbour. It could have been in Cornwall, or in a little Fishing Village in Scotland, as it was, and is the location is on the bleak coast of Northern England, facing the wild and restless North Sea, but sheltered in the lee of a centuries old castle upon a headland. The house itself though quite unpretentious, in appearance, has for me at least, a certain attraction.
Call it "Nostalgia" if you like - it makes no difference, but it is with mixed feelings that I note of it in its present forlorn state. Basically unchanged since the day of its conception, more than two hundred years ago, the house still retains a kind of dignity as though it had seen much better days and viewed all modern developments with an air of supercilious detachment.
The warm mellow, red brick was the same as ever it had been, the windows the same as the original architect had devised them, the red pan tiled roof with its' little dormer, the single smoke stack with its solitary chimney pot, (a little drunk to one side,) and usually with a sea gull sat upon it - all these things pretty much the same as they had been two hundred years before and all capable of sending ones thoughts back over the years. That the gull on the chimney pot! Can there be any truth in the old belief that sea gulls are the reincarnation of dead seaman?
But the house to me means much more than a flight of fancy into the realms of the unknown because it was here that I was born and bred during a snow storm and a heavy gale of wind from the North East! A chilly welcome indeed! Whatever the weather had to inflict outside, even if the wind did make the windows rattle and the sea did its level best to tear down the harbour breach water, inside the house itself all was calm, bright, and warm or at least, so I was informed afterwards. By "Brightness" one must assume that the source of light came from the fire and the candles, electricity not yet having made its debut in the more humble dwelling places. Nor did it do so for a good many years afterwards.
From the point of view of adventurous growing youngsters however the house was exciting. There were tales of smuggling (there always are tales of smuggling where an old harbour side house is involved), tales of daring do on the high seas and dastardly deeds committed elsewhere, not to mention ghosts. This was told with obvious relish by my grandfather from his usual chair in the corner beside the roaring fire.
The fireplace itself was one of those massive black leaded affairs with a capacious, over to one side with a small boiler with a brass tap to the other and a warm oven plate on top which could be used for virtually anything of a small nature, from drying kindling to airing socks or keeping food warm. A great iron kettle seemed to be a permanent fixture singing away contently upon its hook over the fire. Brass work abounded, war relics, small items from ships and ships wrecks and other items too numerous to mention, which were all of great interest to a youngster, but a plague to my youngsters aunt whose duty it was to clean the lot .
Around the walls of the half submerged (cellar) street level apartment as it was named in those day's were ship models in cases, pictures of a Victorian nature, a brass weather glass and a fascinating clock (to a juvenile) of German origin with a long pendulum and two weights suspended on chains which grandfather adjusted once a week in order to keep the thing operating. Beside the clock a faded photograph of a presentable young man who was lost at sea during the war. Beneath the clock an ammonium.
Evenly spaced around the kitchen were four cavernous and mysterious cupboards, one of which was a pantry the rest being used to the house implements of all kinds. The furniture of this apartment was simple and solid, a chest of drawers, a square table which was covered with a cloth displaying large red roses, four small chairs, grandpas high backed chair in the corner and a black horse hair sofa which prickled ones bare legs wherever you sat on it.
Illumination was provided by a curious gas bracket in brass, curious because the thing was arranged so that it could be raised or lowered at will. A doorway beside the fireplace led into the black dungeon of a scullery complete with a flat sink and a huge brick built hopper, an even bleaker dungeon led off this hell hole and was the coal hole. A curious tale is associated with the coal hole for it was in this black grimy place that impromptu magic lantern shows were arranged by younger members of the family and other children from round about.
Being younger still I personally had the doubtful honour of attending one of these performances at the conclusion of which the audience must have emerged as black as the coal upon which they were seated, but I did at least see the equipment which was used, an old bed sheet for a screen, the lantern itself powered by a smelly old oil lamp and a host of slides mainly of quite horrific religious scenes, two or three of "what the butler saw" and two of the "wild west", two of the latter subjects being by far the most popular.
A rather curious feature of the house as a whole was the fact that at some time in the dim past it had been married to the one behind it, number one, up the yard by an enterprising landlord who had walls partly demolished and doorways constructed. The development however did but little to relieve the gloomy aspect of number one up the yard which still received but little daylight and no sunshine whatsoever.
This natural gloom was rendered all the more gloomy by a particularly ghastly framed print hanging upon the wall which left nothing to the imagination in all its stark gory reality. One had the impression that the artist, whoever they were, had really let him 'go' over THAT production.
Not even grandma's passion for red roses on the wall paper dispelled the chills of that particular room. Perhaps the most exciting part of the house from the point of view of a juvenile was the attic. Cobwebby and spooky with dark corners from which at any moment some horrid creature of the supernatural might emerge and strike terror into ones heart. There were noises too, indescribable noises which grandma said was only wind under the tiles but which youthful imagination decide it could have been anything of a spooky nature. Up here though, looking out of the little dormer window one could see far out over the harbour and as far in the distance as Flamboro' Head when the weather was clear enough.
A veritable treasure house was the attic. Discarded bits of furniture, a rickety chair, an old sewing machine, two or three lobster pots, pictures, one of a Victorian lady riding a bicycle up a summery country lane, a duplicate of the horrific picture from downstairs mercifully placed with its face to the wall, other odds and ends too numerous to mention and, wonder of wonders, a most beautiful model yacht under full sail and over four feet in length. There was only one major drawback to further exploration of this intriguing apartment, access, unless escorted by a senior was barred to younger members of the family, strictly forbidden.
Grandfather, in particular, had a horror of fire and candles and were the rule in the darker corners of that house. It is as well to record at this point that the house is on the harbour side was not strictly speaking my own home. Father was a highly respected and successful sea captain who spent long periods away from home and mother, in consequence, spent much time with her own parents and family at number thirty two. Close proximity to the harbour and its attractions meaning that in later years I too, in later years, spent much leisure time in and around that house on the harbour front.
As I observed the house in its semi derelict state with its boarded up windows from the opposite side of the road my mind travelled back through time and I thought of social activity which went on in there many years ago. The kitchen was the focal point of this activity especially during the long dark winter evenings when the family would gather around the fire, grandfather in his usual chair in the corner puffing away on his pipe and perhaps 'braiding' a miniature lobster pot a perfect replica of a real one, and grandma sat in the opposite corner knitting away on a Fisherman's Jersey (known as Gansies), or sea boot socks, even woollen drawers! Between the two, the family.
Sometimes the little gathering would be augmented by friends from outside dropping in for a yarn (mostly fisherman like grandpa) or their wives who swapped local gossip with grandma. All of these people were looked upon by us juveniles as being incredibly old and wise beyond belief! Actually most of them were in the virile prime of their lives (including grandma and grandpa). Always the tea pot would be hard at work. This was a strictly temperate household rarely if ever did the party disperse without some powerful voice being raised in thanksgiving to the good lord with a rousing hymn of the sea in which all joined in.
The favourites being 'Does your anchor hold? Or 'Throw out a lifeline'. How wonderful it was! So simple, so concise and oh so intimate, a closely knit community united by the common bond of the sea in all its moods. There were variations on the social get together, the variations that would make the modern Miss, or young man, raise their dainty hands in horror.
The winter line fishing bought about a dramatic change in the domestic aspect. One half of the kitchen table augmented by planks and trestles was given over to baiting of long lines ready to be taken to sea the following morning, whilst in the scullery or the "back spot", as it was known, the ladies of the house were busy steaming the mussels, that were used for bait, by candle light. They sang at their work, the women and men alike, lusty voices carried the very breath of the sea itself beyond the confines of the house.
Songs of praise, all of them an acknowledgement of their love and trust of the lord above in whatever should befall. How vividly do I remember when I was a child of tender years I was led by the hand into the dark fastness of the "black spot" there to witness what to me was one of the miracles of the age, in reality a simple natural phenomenon, but how was I to know that at that tender age. The magical tiny lights of "phosphorescence" upon a fishing line fresh from the sea and waiting to be cleaned and baited up again ready for the boat "going off" next morning, although most of the fishing cobles were motor driven there were still a few which relied on the power of oar or sails for their propulsion.
These were usually owned by sea faring veterans who clung steadfastly to the old traditions and resisted any kind of modern development as far as their livelihood was concerned with the contention that "what was good enough for the old hands is plenty good enough for me"!
Grandma really took her Scots herring lasses to her heart
However to return to the house, grandma, in common with many fisherman's wives at the time, took in summer visitors as a means of supplementing the family income as a safeguard against the possibility of a hard winter later on. Before Easter there would be quite a frantic spring cleaning activity in readiness for the influx of paying guests. All the bed linen would be disinterred from the cupboard and the blanket boxes washed in the copper in the 'black spot' and then taken up to the grassy banks of the castle dyke and spread out to dry and bleach in the sun.
The house was scrubbed down from top to bottom, papered and painted where necessary, spare crockery was brought out and grandma "fagged out" before the season started and she awaited the first knock on the door to signify the first arrivals. The girls in the meantime standing by to lend a hand. A sideline also operated by grandma (where on earth did she find the time I wonder) was a little early morning service which offered cups of tea for two pence, wash and brush for two pence, toilet for a penny, lemonade by the bottle three pence. All hot water for domestic purposes was by the good grace of the big iron kettle over the fire, the boiler having sprung a leak.
The idea of the early morning service was for the benefit of the day trippers who used to arrive by train from Middlesbrough. Grandma catered, within limitations, naturally for any wayfarers who happened to pass by, considering that the fare for day trippers by rail was no more than two shillings or half a crown return from any of those stations, the influx of such travellers was pretty considerable. The railway sidings at what is now 'Colescliffe' would be packed with passenger coaches ready for the return of the trippers, tired, happy, loaded with seaside sweetmeats, postcards and what have you and usually bankrupt.
September however brought with it a certain change in activities within the house on the harbour side for this was the opening of the herring fishing season when the harbour would be packed with steam drifters and trawlers, as well as a host of smaller craft, and the air was filled with the sound of engines thumping away, the blare of ships sirens and the excited cries of myriads of the seabirds all intent upon a tasty harvest of the sea that was being unloaded by the dozens of vessels from Scotland and East Anglia.
Many of them bearing names which were familiar to every household and shop in the district, "Dick Whittington", "Ocean angler" "Welcome home", "Playmates", "Xmas morn", the latter vessel having a Christmas tree hoisted on her yellow funnel. At this time too, the Scots fisher lassies came to town following the drifter fleets as they worked their way southwards to Lowestoft and Yarmouth. For this event, grandmother always reserved accommodation for what she called "her lassies".
Here at number 32 they found a welcome greatly in excess of that accorded to normal summer visitors who were apt to be looked upon as a necessary evil. To see these girls at work amongst the herrings was an education in itself, their heavily bandaged fingers flashed with lightening speed, they sang as they worked, lilting Gaelic melodies which had their origins lost in time. Sweet, often sad and plaintive songs of home and love.
The workforce itself was divided roughly into three sections, there were the 'gippers' who cleaned and prepared the fish for packing, the "packers" themselves who filled the barrels with alternative layers of salt and herring, and there was the 'beaters' whose task it was to repair any nets that had become damaged in use, artists all, in their own way. Their work finished for the day, they cheerfully divested themselves of their oilskin aprons (known as a barmskin) and their rubber boots and they made their way homewards to their various 'foster' apartments where there was warmth and comfort and a good cooked meal awaiting them.
Despite grandmothers protests, "her lassies "insisted on doing the washing up and general tidying up after which they rested and spruced themselves up before they stepped out smartly for the evening at the pictures or at the local dance hall. Grandma really took her Scots herring lasses to her heart and it was always a moment of sadness for her when they took their leave at the close of the season. The lassies had gone but they left behind their natural warmth and goodwill.
So surely as grandma had bid them farewell and visited their vacated bedrooms then she was faced with numerous little parcels all carefully wrapped and lying upon the neatly turned back beds.
The season ended, the house on the on the harbour side settled down to its usual 'back end' routine, which does not imply boredom in any way. There was always something of interest, often excitement to be experienced. Grandpa busied himself preparing for the winter fishing. The coble had to be overhauled and the engine brought ashore for servicing. There were the 'long lines' to be made ready, lobster pots dried out in the late sunshine and stowed up the yard for the winter.
The yard itself being a most interesting feature approached by an archway past the back door of number 32 Sandside. Up the narrow cobbled alleyway were a number of old onetime fisherman's cottages, now almost derelict and 'let out' as warehouses. Old derelict and scruffy they may be but they were a veritable magnet for tourists, amongst them many Americans, who descended upon the place armed with cameras and sketch books and, often enough, artists set up their easels amidst the nets, lobster pots, ropes and spars which cluttered the place and painted away happily, apparently oblivious to the passage of time, they became as one with their surroundings and many commendable works have been produced in that dark little smelly alleyway.
Speaking of smells, these were by no means offensive, they were all smells of the sea, rope, tar, boat gear of all kinds, generously intermingled with the scent of stale tobacco smoke which reminded one immediately of a ships forecastle. What a fascinating place 'the yard' was, a fact which did not escape the notice of the juvenile population. In and out of the old houses we played at hide and seek, we captained and crewed ships on the high seas, we taught ourselves how to splice ropes, mend nets begged old lobster pots from the fishermen who used the yard so that we could take them to the rocky beaches and think maybe we could catch a crab or a lobster.
What times we had! And there was always grandma's house to pop into for a snack, perhaps to dry one's wet things in the event of having fallen in the harbour or something like that. Now as I gazed at the house in its faded glory I realised how far we had progressed along the path of life since those golden idyllic days.
One cannot stay a child for ever, like Peter Pan, one must grow up and make one's own way through life, but are we any happier by so doing? We had no cares, no worries, the risk of getting a good "clout" for some misdemeanour, such as getting soaked whilst one was wearing ones Sunday best boots, was a risk you had to take when the winter seas were running high! From where I was standing, opposite the house, the yard was only just visible over a large black and painfully new door, but that view, what there was of it, was sufficient to tell me that all the old warehouses had been swept away and that there were very obvious scents of an entirely different nature waiting there from drains, dogs and dustbins.
The wholesomeness had disappeared with the houses all in the name of 'progress' one must presume. A boarded up window on the first floor drew my attention for the room in darkness beyond was at one time my grandmother's pride and joy! Her best room no less, sitting room cum dining room when she had visitors in. A room in which was a jet black piano, which nobody ever played, a round table with substantial support in the centre, the usual assortment of other furnishings and one quite handsome small sideboard (a collector's item now) with the usual ornaments etc from the far flung corners of the world and pictures of ships upon the walls. But these items were not the subject of my thoughts. By no means.
There was an odd uncanny and chilling event which was said to have taken place in that particular room. Grandfather had been happily engaged in preparing his boat ready for the coming holiday season when he was taken suddenly ill and had to summon assistance to take him home.
Within the week the old man had succumbed. Whilst awaiting his final journey he lay in state in the "best room" with floral tokens and drawn blinds. Now I'm no great believer in the supernatural, ghosts, wraiths or whatever you wish to call them, bumps in the night if you wish, but the odd thing about it is that the lady who lived next door passing by on her way home that she had seen the window blind drawn up and grandfather standing there looking out over the harbour as had been his custom.
So un-nerved was the good lady that she sought refuge at the home of her good neighbour where she was comforted and revived with a strong cup of tea. I personally knew the lady in question very well and I can vouch for the fact that she was strictly tea total and had been all her life. So what can we suppose? It is easy enough to dismiss the whole thing as rubbish but all the same time there must remain a lingering doubt. Grandfather himself was said to be, as the Scots say, "fey" and if so, is it not also possible that the lady in the case was also of like mind and that there existed a bond between them that neither science nor religion can explain. Perhaps it is as well that we do not know the answer to such questions. I feel that it is better that way.
On a much more mundane and far less disturbing thought, also concerning a boarded-up window, the one above the best room window, used to give light to the main bedroom, the room in which I personally first saw the first light of day. This particular window was the scene of an event which, for sheer pantomime, would be hard to equal. A good many years ago when my grandparents moved into number thirty two Sandside, with the idea of taking in summer paying guests (at a modest sum of two shillings per night in those days) there wasn't enough furniture to satisfy the needs which were pretty extensive. So it fell to grandpa to eke out what bit of money he did have in visits to the local sale rooms.
One of his purchases and delivered on handcart for five shillings was an enormous wardrobe, just the thing for a large bedroom. Only thing was, how to get it up there? The first part was easy, only a short flight of stairs from the front door to the landing, so far so good, but the thing absolutely refused to negotiate the bends in the next section of the staircase. Several burly fishermen lent a hand. They huffed and they puffed, shoved, heaved and blasphemed, but it was no good.
The thing remained on the landing as if it was in silent mockery whilst grandpa and his team of helpers held a council of war. At length someone made a suggestion that the wardrobe could be hoisted up from the outside and passed through the window, but first of all the window frame would have to be removed in order to provide an uninterrupted passage inside. One of the team of helpers who apparently knew a bit about house carpentry offered to carry out this part of the work and did so successfully. All that remained now was for the hoisting tackle to be rigged. Straight away to the harbour repaired two further members of the team who returned half an hour later armed with a stout spar, a coil of rope and a pair of ships blocks. By this time it had come on to rain heavily with the wardrobe on the pavement.
The Spar secured in the attic with the outward end through the window, and the tackle and blocks attached, was all ready for the big lift when the rain turned into thunder storm and the team retired until it was over. Then carefully, methodically, the wardrobe was secured and the lifting operation began. Up went the five shilling bargain until it reached the window opening and it was only then that it was realised that no accurate measurements had been taken and the thing was too large to go through the window!
By now it was raining again and a fair number of curious onlookers had augmented the workforce offering criticism and advice whilst the wardrobe swung menacingly overhead like the sword of Damocles. Meanwhile, grandmother and the girls stood by anxiously awaiting the calamity which they felt sure was to happen sooner or later. Tempers were becoming strained and argument broke out during which the work force was depleted by two members.
The day was saved however when one still small voice which hadn't been heard before suggested that if the darn thing couldn't go into the bedroom in one piece then the only alternative would be to reduce it into two sections and that would solve the problem.
So saying, the speaker departed, whilst the wardrobe was lowered once again to the pavement, and re-appeared baring a saw. Without any further ado, and considering that it was still raining and darkness was falling, the wardrobe was neatly severed down the middle and lay there in two halves. The rest need not be told, but vividly I remember that the wardrobe in grandma's "best" bedroom survived at least until the end of my own apprenticeship with the house and it was still held together with wooden batons from the top to the bottom!
Many were the tales that were associated with number thirty two, all of them listened to with wrapt attention by young and old alike, and, let it be said that many of them I fear had gathered substance with the passage of time, but that did not affect the entertainment value thereof. These story telling sessions round the fireside on a winter's evening had a very marked Scottish flavour because, as in Scotland, and in all parts of Northern England, storytelling was one of the very few indoor entertainments in those not so distant days.
There was no radio, let alone television, there was however a gramophone which was very rarely in evidence because grandpa held very powerful views upon all such intentions of the devil. It was years before he began to realise that the radio, known as the "wireless" in those days, had its uses after all and it was only to listen to the news and weather forecast.
Social evenings were occasionally augmented with a visit to the local mission to seamen Padre. This gentleman could always be relied upon to provide the very best in conviviality. Mr Florrie, already in his seventies, a seaman born and bred and hailing from Caithness. Several times around the world, at least two of which were 'before the mast' in full rigged sailing ships. Short and Stocky, grey haired and with eyes of blue which held the very restlessness of the sea itself in their depths.
His yarns held the listeners spellbound, especially the youngsters, including myself, who hung upon his words which were pearls of wisdom. At the end, and after several cups of tea, Mr Florrie would announce his imminent departure and seat himself at the ammonium, and in his wonderfully deep strong voice, would strike up a stirring hymn of the sea in which all took part. A short prayer, a cheerful "good night" and he was away, a true friend and a true Christian.
Mr Florrie it was who comforted the family at this time of great distress when the sad news of a lost trawler was broken, and with it her entire crew, a veritable tower of strength in adversity. Despite all entreaties however, grandma refused to give up hope although she knew that her hopes were in vain.
For many hours she stood in the freezing cold, her shawl over her head and clutched to her breast gazing out over the harbour and the storm tossed sea beyond, hoping always hoping for the ship that would never again make port and it was her youngest daughter who put aside her own grief and loss and begged her to come inside, "its cold standing here mother you will catch your death-come on in where it is warm", and the reply without taking her eyes of the harbour and the ships sheltering safely there in, "its colder still where they are". Such courage in such a frail body, yet it was not all gloom and doom on the harbour side!
Many situations arose which bordered upon the hilarious at times for instance, during the German bombardment of the town in the first world war when rumours were rife that the Germans were invading. Grandfather shepherded his flock in to the blackness of the coal house and said he intended to shoot every one of them if the Germans set foot in the house.
The fact that he did not possess a gun seemed to have gone un-noticed. At the same time grandma aroused hurriedly from her bed and appeared on the scene fully dressed for any emergency but wearing her corset on top of her dress instead of it being tucked away coyly underneath.
One stormy winter's day not so long ago, when the force of the wind and sea had reached violent proportions, one of the younger members of the family found it necessary to obey the call of nature. No sooner was she ensconced in the loo across the yard when a tremendous sea struck the harbour breakwater wall and sent a miniature tidal wave along the main sea-front sewer which erupted in violence in the very toilet basin upon which the young lady was seated! Shocked and drenched she staggered back into the house and collapsed in a faint upon a settee.
I remember as a child being taken by that same aunt, then only a young girl, into one of the capacious dark cupboards of the dining room and listening to the gurgling of the harbour waters only a few inches beneath the floor boards. The sea was never far away from the house, as I stood by the harbour side railings contemplating the old house before me which held so many memories, my eyes were drawn to the solitary chimney pot upon which rested an enormous sea bird.
Nothing very startling about a chimney pot one would suppose but this particular pot had a quite a unusual experience. A German raider had paid an unwelcome visit, dropped his cargo of high explosive, which had caused much distraction and loss of life, and he then made his escape. The house on the harbour side had escaped damage apart from the chimney pot which had completely vanished. It was not until several days later when, at an exceptional low tide, the chimney pot was observed as being intact and standing upright in the harbour mud. It was salvaged and returned back to its original position on the roof of number 32 where it still is so far as I know.
A brief surreptitious glance into the one time living room, through the hole in one of the shutters, revealed a scene of chaos in the dark interior. The whole place was cluttered with ropes and items of ship's gear, the kitchen range, which once sparkled with brassware and shed its warmth far and wide, was rusted and partly destroyed. In the dim light I noticed the stone steps, which led from the back yard door down into the living room, still intact and once more memories came flooding back.
Those steps! What stories they could tell. It was upon those steps that a young man of eighteen years turned to kiss his bride of a few months only and then walked out into the night never to be seen again. Upon a happier note it was down those exact same steps, at that time neatly yellow-stoned, that I had the honour of escorting the most beautiful girl in the world on one never to be forgotten day. Oh what a welcome!
My girl and my intended! Did she realise or did she not that she was on public display? As pretty as a picture, she was smart and sophisticated; she caught the eye of the family in no uncertain manner. Cups of tea were soon forthcoming. My girl seated herself daintily and removed her gloves to reveal an engagement ring. Oh what a moment of pride. She was MINE. She was the focal point of all eyes. Surely the Mona Lisa had never attracted so much attention in so short a time. Of course, twas only to be expected that my moment of triumph were to be marred by my own clumsy departure in stumbling up on the steps on the way out. Verily pride goes before a fall.
My surreptitious peek through the hole in the shutter and into the past produced no more reminiscences and it was time to go and leave the past to its own devices but before I did so I paused at the boarded up front door with its peeling paint work and still bearing traces of the graining effect which my grandfather had so lovingly applied so many years ago. He was something of an expert at that kind of work and he was often in demand for painting up old cobles and row boats and horse drawn carts belonging to the fish merchants.
He kept his paintings in the old warehouse up the yard along with his boat's gear, where it was a constant temptation to the younger members of the family and sometimes the older ones too.
Grandfather's talents were many and various, all of them of a practical nature. Basic scholarship did not figure very highly amongst his accomplishments but towards the end of his days he was able to pick out words in the large old family bible with a little bit of outside help from the family. He never did realise his ambition of being able to write his own name.
Grandmother, a lady of at least some education, was his mainstay when it came to matters of scholarship. I looked at the old front door and visualised the many people that had passed over its threshold in the past years. Summer visitors included a woman we nicknamed Mrs Ailments because each time she came for her week's holiday her suitcase was always packed with pills medicines hot water bottles and the like. Her favourite topic of conversation was ailments.
Considering that she was a burly woman who liked her tipple it didn't always ring true. By direct contrast, her husband was a small man who spent the majority of the holiday in the pub next door to number 32, or else he was fishing on the pier. To see them together reminded one interestingly of the characters of the seaside comic postcards.
Then of course there were the Scots herring girls who had their own place in grandmother's heart as well as in her home with their banter and hauntingly beautiful Gaelic melodies. Never more shall we see their like but their spirit lives on. The old house on the harbour side is deserted now and semi derelict but nothing can destroy the startling charms it has and the heartfelt warmth and the true love that once dwelt therein.
The thought and the sadness that combined to make number 32 Sandside a haven of peace and rest for all who entered. A fisherman's home with the sea virtually on the doorstep and a refuge for many minor disasters, which befell many younger members of the family, such as falling in to the harbour or getting a fish hook into ones hand! First aid no problem. Grandfather and grandmother could be relied upon to bring a little help and comfort whenever necessary. As Mr Florrie would say peace be with you now and always. Good night all.
The name of the person who wrote this article is not known and the article does not mention his name. However, the 1920 and 1931 W.H. Smith directory of Scarborough shows that Number 32 Sandside was occupied by Mr Robert Cammish. The electoral roll for 1929 has four people living there (Robert Cammish, Lavinia Cammish, Sarah Ann Jenkinson, and Annie Cammish. Robert Cammish was married to Lavinia Cammish and so it seems that they were the grandparents of this article.
Eddie Temple, who lives in Princess Street, was married to Maggie Crawford who was one of Robert Cammish's granddaughters. Maggie's grandparents lived at 32 Sandside. He says that Maggie's father, Robert Cammish was a fish buyer for Tom Sutton. He followed the trawlers round the coast as the herrings migrated around Britain. He was one of the biggest fish buyers in Britain. Eddie probably saved his wifes sister's life. During an air raid in World war Two he picked little Florence up and took her to safety. A huge concrete set was blown into the house in the exact position where she had been.