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Whitby History part 3 Henrietta Street Fortunes Kippers, the Black Horse and the White Horse and Griffin
Then we now descend down the famous 199 steps which in 1370 had Donkey Road cut into the side where Lord Mulgrave drove his coach to visit Miss Anne Elizabeth Cholmley that Abbey house, he went on to marry her in 1787. When he was descending Donkey Road it was said that the hitched two horses to act as brakes on the steep descent. Then once at the bottom of the 199 steps we turn right onto Henrietta Street, which was at one time called Haggerlythe in 1270 but it was renamed in 1761 after Nathanial Cholmley. In 1786 there was a large landslide and a great part of Henrietta Street disappeared, the last landslide was in 1923.
As you get to the end of Henrietta Street you see Fortunes smoked kipper business, the little building has a section at the back where the smoking is done. Often there are large billows of smoke rising from the rear and it has often been the case that tourists have thought the building was on fire and called out the fire brigade, who have to attend just in case, having to tak their fire truck very slowly up the small winding street, only to find there was nothing wrong becouse the smoke is coming from the kipper house.
Turning round we now go back down Church Street and there are many Whitby yards to the left and right with one of the most famous ones is Arguments yard which is often been the subject for artists.
Passing by the Market Square there are two public houses the first one being the Black Horse Inn streching back to the East Cliff. Whilst they were digging the foundations for a jet shop the remains of Abbey Kitchen midden were unearthed, with treasures like the lead buila of Archdeacon Boniface A.D. 1679. Artefacts like ivory comes, bone spoons, were found under now to be seen in the Whitby Museum.
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The next public house on the left-hand side is the White Horse and Griffin, with the griffin refers to the crest of the Cholmley family. This inn was the departure point for the Whitby to York coaches which ran twice a week. Charles Dickens stayed in White Horse and recorded there were oyster shell grotto in the back stable yard.
Turning round and doubling back we come to the Market Square, which was built in 1788 by Nathanial Cholmley on the location of a former tollbooth. The building in the centre used to have a jail on the ground floor. Under the pillars of the central building necessities like butter eggs and milk would be sold and the town stocks were located on the south side of the town hall.
There are still markets held in the Square nowadays, but thay are a fraction of the size of the markets of olden days which would stretch down Church Street. Sandgate takes you from the marketplace towards Whitby Bridge and in the days of smuggling there would be many forms of violence around this area and if a cart load of grog had its linchpins removed from its wheels and barrels would tip over spilling into the gutter and bystanders would take their fill. Sandgate takes you back up to Church Street using Ellerby Lane, which was also a quick track down to the stepping stones of the harbour across to St Anne's Staith.