Charles Dickens and Whitby

Whitby still supplies many connections with famous people from the past, Bram Stoker was inspired to write Dracula well staying in the town and Captain Cook started many of his famous sea voyages from the harbour, with his most famous ship been the Endeavour.The White Horse and Griffin public house on Church Street in Whitby

In the very centre of the old cobbled street that is called Church Street, which is incidentally the oldest street in Whitby, there is the Market Square with the clock tower. If you leave the marketplace and turn away from the famous 199 steps that lead up towards St Mary's Church in Whitby Abbey, you will find on the left-hand side the public house called the White horse and Griffin, and the griffin is the crest of a family in Whitby whose surname was Cholmley.

This particular public house as many associations with the past, and was once a meeting place for master marinas and local gentry, who could combine business with pleasure. The building is mentioned in a book by Miss Ethel Kitson who wrote a novel called Herring fleet. This is a little entry from that novel "it was market day in Herring fleet, and the High Street was busy. Carts and gigs fill the yard of the White horse, Charles Dickens visiting Whitbyand farmers wives carrying large baskets covered with white class, elbowed each other in the marketplace" It has been stated that Charles Dickens visited the house.

In 1788 the Stagecoach would run from Whitby to York and made the yard of the public house into quarters with a twice weekly run. It has been recorded that the fair was 14 shillings on the inside and 18 shillings if you sat on the outside of the coach and horses, which obviously would be a little less comfortable open to the elements on this lengthy run.

Open till this point in time the only easy way of getting in and out of Whitby was by using the sea and the boat, and to use a coach was quite a new and risky adventure.

If you look at any of the public houses on the street of Whitby their whole ad yards to the rear and another old public house is the Black horse Inn also on Church Street. This was another in which provided accommodation for people and their trusted horses.

During the 17th century there would be many taverns in Whitby, with a lot of them residing in the cellars and it has been noted that many of the keepers of the ends were frequently sent before the Sessions by constables for overcharging and asking for more than one penny for a quart.

Even though many of the buildings have since gone around this area of Whitby it is still one of the oldest parts and retains certain aspects of the past and gives a very strong sense of how things looked all those years ago.