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Discovering Saltburn's rich heritage and varied history.

The Saltburn Sand Yacht Sailing Club

Sand yachts of the Saltburn Sand Sailing Club

Round the last Boulby headland is a green crumble of cliff-top and then the high but still magnificent table-top of Huntcliff. It is one of the highest cliffs in England. It thrusts out long and rough. A hazard of red boulders at its feet runs out into a long shambles of rock.
Then the sands begin, sweeping north for over six miles. They are the 'finest in England', white, wide, empty, silken, safe. At low tide they are wet and sculpted in ridges, flashing with salt pools,glittering in places with brush-strokes of shiny black sea-coal. The wind hurtles over them and mile-long snakes of fine, stinging white sand blow like smoke just above their surface. On windless days, a bluish light reflects in them. They are the sands of the 'Walrus and the Carpenter' which Lewis Carroll is said to have written after a day here with friends during a long vacation from Oxford.
Jane Gardam, 'The Iron Coast' 1994

The miles of flat sands at Saltburn have provided the visitor with a number of different pastimes - cricket, sand sculptures and donkey riding have all played their part. In the early 1900's the more adventurous looked upon the beach with a different perspective with the pursuit of excitement and speed as their goal.

Sand Yachting

It is occasionally possible to come across postcards or photographs which feature hand built sand yachts on Saltburn beach. Very little is known about their activities.

Prior to the 1914-18 war a Mr Edwards and a German friend designed a sand yacht. Two of these were built, the wooden frames constructed by a Mr Brownless, coachbuilder, and the ironwork was handled by a Mr Lawson, blacksmith. Both of these tradesmen worked in Diamond Street. It seems the design worked well as soon there were enough yachts to form a Sand Sailing Club.

Recently an American visitor was staying at the Rose Garden Guest House whilst researching someone by the name of Stackhouse who had resided in Diamond Street.

Discussions with Saltburn's local historians, Cath and Tony Lynn, revealed that she had in her possession a set of photographs and documentation related to the founding of the Sand Sailing Club.

Sand yachts on Saltburn beach. John Foster Satckhouse owned boat number 4.

John Foster Stackhouse was living at 40 Diamond Street and was for a time the secretary of the club. The club was formed at a meeting in the Red Lodge (now Red Gables) on Tuesday May 11th 1909. The local MP, The Right Hon. Herbert Samuel became the president. The object of the club was to encourage the art of building, sailing and the improvement of sand boats.

It appears that the club had a short but exciting life. Members had to build their own sand boats and could only race boats owned and built by themselves. Sailing was not allowed between the pier and Hazelgrove during July and August, which is hardly surprising as these craft were reported to reach speeds of up to 45mph.

Ladies owning a sand boat were allowed to join the club. However it is thought the club had only one lady member. Characteristically, her boat boasted a russet sail.

Research by Rebecca Hilton. Collecting primary source materials, articles and extracts from books related to the development of both Saltburns and trying to validate them has offered conflicting information, much of which is often difficult to validate as many sources can prove to be unreliable e.g. newspapers or census data. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information on the history of the town presented here is as accurate as possible.

Lady member, Saltburn Sand Sailing Club circa 1909

Saltburn Sand Sailing Club's lady member circa 1909.