BRIDLINGTON or Burlington as it used to be called, derives its name from an Angle named Bretel who settled in the Old Town and called it Bretelston. The town is situated in the Eastern part of the Dickering Wapentake, now known less romantically as the Borough of East Yorkshire. The county was divided into Wapentakes in 1166 in the Danelaw, and Dickering most probably derives from the Old English words dica-hring meaning dyke circle, one of which was at Paddock Hill, Thwing, where a court meeting place was thought to have been.
The town used to be in two separate sections which were not joined together as they are now. The old market town, a mile inland, built around the Priory and now called the Old Town, and Bridlington Quay, the harbour at the mouth of the Gypsey Race, a meandering stream which winds its way through the villages, and which supplied water and water power to many areas.
The cliffs of boulder clay and sand erode very quickly. It has been estimated that south of the harbour the cliffs receded 230 yards between 1805 and 1885, but north of the harbour they only receded 30 yards between 1771 and 1852 as the cliffs here become chalk towards Sewerby. The 20th century sea walls have prevented further erosion, but along the coast houses and roads are still disappearing into the sea, as you will see if you walk along some of the beaches to the north and south.
The Quay, named Castleburn in the Middle Ages, was settled around the Gypsey Race that enters the sea at Clough Hole, with the Moor separating it from the Old Town. Bridlington Quay began to be the place to go for sea bathing when a spring was discovered in 1738 in the area now covered by the Spa buildings. By 1765 a new road had been built to allow entry to the south sands. A new assembly rooms was opened at the Ship Inn in 1766 and before long people began to stay for the whole summer, with the Sykes family from Sledmere building a large summer residence on the south side near Wilsthorpe. The area grew rapidly in the 1800s and the arrival of the railway in 1846 made it possible for many more people to come, so that by 1850 the Old Town and the Quay began to join along Quay Road, with the railway station about halfway between the two communities.
Before we start our walk we should consider two properties at the end of South Marine Drive where it joins Kingston Road. Using the Traffic Light Junction between Cardigan Road and Kingston Road as a reference point we can pin point each property.
One is 31, Kingston Road, a former seaside villa built in 1924 by a trawlerman for his daughter, that
subsequently became a hotel before being turned back into a house with a studio by the artist David
Hockney. It is from here that he took his Jeep Pick Up truck, with a sheet of board roped across the
cab roof on which he and his assistants could photograph and paint a series of pictures of the
Yorkshire Wolds. The pictures were produced in the house studio prior to being sold for millions of
pounds. He then sold his house, acquired in the 1990s, on the 15th of November, 2013, disappearing
back to America after the death at this house of his studio assistant Dominic Elliott, aged 23, on
the 18th March, 2013.
On the other corner diagonally opposite is the semi detached house at 156, Cardigan Road where
aviator Amy Johnsons parents John and Amy lived from 1931 after leaving Hull.
We will now start our walk in South Marine Drive with the SPA  building complex on the right. Named the New Spa and Gardens this was built, together with the adjoining sea wall, in 1896 by Whitaker Brothers of Horsforth, Leeds, who also built the estate of houses opposite stretching as far as Cardigan Road. After paying at the turnstile people could enter five acres of flower beds, walks and grassed areas, have meals in the refreshment rooms, go to the theatre or a concert, or just sit and listen to the band playing in the glass domed bandstand. Children would sail boats in the lake that was kept filled by the iron rich water of a chalybeate spring. Lit at night by multi coloured electric lights the spa had 80,000 visitors in one month. The theatre burnt down in October 1906, but was renovated and reopened in 1907 as the New Spa Opera House.
In September, 1914 within weeks of the declaration of World War 1 a Royal Naval Service spotter seaplane made an unannounced landing and was temporarily stationed at Bridlington from the 23rd September until the 27th September. The unarmed observation Short S.41 No 20 biplane fitted with twin floats and optional wheels was piloted by Lieutenant Courtney for reconnaissance patrols over the North Sea. A temporary wooden ramp had to be built in order to man handle it from the promenade to the beach.
The complex was bought by the Corporation in 1919 and people could stay all day for sixpence. It was decided to replace the old buildings in 1925 and the Spa Royal Hall was built at a cost of £50,000. This became the most popular place along the East coast to go for dancing and concerts, with Herman Darewski and his Radio Band playing there from 1926 until 1937. Another fire in January 1932 destroyed the hall, but once again it was rebuilt in the record time of 52 days and reopened in July 1932. This time there were two cafes, a Palm Court, a solarium and a dance hall. There was a charge at the turnstiles until the 1950s to enter the gardens. The sea wall was extended and built 25 metres away from the eroding cliffs in 1928 and named Princess Mary Promenade. At the same time a slipway was built by Levitts of Hull from South Marine Drive to the beach, named Levitts Hill, giving easy access to the beach for the lifeboat. The Spa closed in 2005 for extensive renovation and reopened in May, 2008.
Walking along towards South Cliff Road you are approaching the harbour, once used by the Romans. From early times the bay was a centre for shipping and fishing, with Irish gold crossing the Pennines to be shipped to the continent. Herring was an important industry with herring houses here in 1530. Fishing is still important; so watch the unloading early in the morning.
For centuries shipping was also an important part of Bridlingtons livelihood. The Priory exported wool in the 1300s, and by the 1500s regular shipments of coal were brought in. In the 1700s London and the Continent were big markets for the malt, grain and vegetables grown in the area. There was a ship building yard on the seafront and the last locally built ship was launched in 1834.
There were two timber framed piers in 1554 and to help with the maintenance of these a toll was collected on goods shipped or landed. New stone piers were built between 1816 and 1848.
Continuing along South Cliff Road to the left is Pembroke Terrace built in the 1870s, fronted by Pembroke Gardens which had a cannon as a feature in 1910. Below, on the right, at the landward end of the South Pier, rebuilt in 1848, is GUMMERS LANDING . In the 1800s and early 1900s this would have been full of activity when the herring boats came in with their catches to be auctioned. The Lawrence Complex on the harbour side was built in 1993 on the site of the workshops of no. 21 Air Sea Rescue Unit.
Go down the steps and across to the walkway leading to Spring Pump Slipway. A plaque records the discovery by Benjamin Milne in 1811 of a TIDAL SPRING  which supplied water to the area.
CRANE WHARF  was used as a fish market until 1915 when it became too small and larger ships began to use the South Pier, which was rebuilt between 1843 and 1848. Before 1890, when there were very few buildings except cottages, a road ran from the wharf to Prince Street. The Crane Wharf development of shops was given the Civic Society Award in 1986.
During alterations in 1986 traces of a lockup and mortuary were found on the site. These were in use until 1844 when a new police station was built in the Old Town.
The original North Pier was built in wood before 1793 and at very low tide it is
possible to see stone from the Priory which was used at the seaward end in the
rebuilding of the Pier between 1816 and 1843, and also its extension in 1866. In
the 1700s and 1800s the piers would be crowded with people walking up and down
whatever the weather.
On the North Pier see where the Steve Carvill bronze sculpture of the Gansey Girl, cast by the Mckinney foundry at Testerton in Norfork, arrived in October, 2015. It depicts a woman knitting a fishermans jumper, as she awaited the return of her loved one and shows the Walkington family pattern, knitted in navy blue colour for work and grey for best. The name Gansey derives from a combination of the names of the two English Channel Islands, Guernsey and Jersey, from where the name originates. The sculpture was erected at the harbour on the 30th October, 2015 and commemorates the names of local fishing families on the bronze fish shaped plaques displayed on the plinth.
Look above the shops and you will see the remains of the merchants houses which lined Prince Street and King Street in the 1600s and 1700s. John Bower built a mansion in Prince Street, left, which later became the Ship Inn where the first assembly rooms were situated, and then the Britannia Hotel in 1812, destroyed by a bomb in 1940. Gradually the houses were replaced by shops, inns and lodging houses for the visitors. The Rickaby mansion was on the right from the 1700s until 1860 when it became a shop and later Shaws Arcade.
Next to Spring Pump Slipway, left, Montagu Burton the tailor built a marble fronted shop in 1932 on the site of a petrol station, and this is now a restaurant. Marks and Spencer and Woolworths took over existing shops in the 1930s.
King Street also had several large houses with long gardens at the back. Halfway along, left, was the three storey, five bay house built for John Pitt in the late 1700s. This became a shop in 1870 and in 1906 the Royal Arcade was built in the centre. Note the date stone above. Hull Co-op took this over in 1938 and it is now Superdrug.
The shape of things to come.
As you walk along look at the cliffs in the distance. The clay cliffs extend as far as Sewerby and it is worth walking along there and spending a day in Sewerby Park with its many attractions. Past Sewerby the cliffs become chalk and sweep round to Flamborough Head which stretches 6 miles out to sea. You can see the regular flashing of the lighthouse over the headland, four flashes and then a pause, signifying that this is Flamborough, each lighthouse having a different sequence of flashes.
Past BEACONSFIELD GARDENS,  with the Bowling Green pavilion standing on the edge of the car park which was once the bowling green.
You will now reach TRINITY CUT  which
was the slipway down which the lifeboat was towed when horses were used.
Turn left and walk up to HOLY TRINITY CHURCH  built at the end of the Promenade in 1871 in 13th century style, to designs by Smith and Brodrick of Hull, to minister to the increasing population in this area. Reverent T.G. Lloyd Greame of Sewerby paid for much of the building.
Pass into Wellington Road then turn right into Victoria Road, built in 1886. The ROMAN CATHLIC CHURCH  on the left has some elaborate stonework over the doorway and was built in 1893, to designs by Smith, Brodrick, Lowther and Walker of Hull.
Further along on the left, number 20 is FIELD HOUSE.  This was built as a country house by John Pitt in the early 1800s. An iron rich Chalybeate spring was found beneath it, and in the 1890s the house was used as a massage and hydropathic establishment because of the health giving properties of the spring, now covered by floorboards. The building is now used as a doctors surgery.
Turn right into Quay road and walk to the Railway Station to visit the award winning Refreshment Rooms. It is like stepping back in time, right into the film "Brief Encounter" with Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. Savor what has been preserved from the past age of the steam railway. Return along Quay road.
At the end of the road is the main POST OFFICE  rebuilt in typical 1950s style after being destroyed in 1940. It was the first post office in the country to be purpose built and fully automatic.
Walk between the shops down the paved alley leading to Palace Avenue. Here is an area renovated in 1985 by the Manpower Services Commission to open up the GIPSEY RACE.  Follow the paved way into Palace Avenue and turn left up Beck Hill. A wooden bridge at the bottom was replaced in 1882 by a permanent bridge over the Gypsey Race.
As you reach the top of the hill look upwards to the left across the road and you will see a lookout tower on top of one of the buildings.
Cross the road into Chapel Street, originally North Back Street. Until the 1700s this was part of the moor surrounding Bridlington, then warehouses and timber yards were established, with a granary on the corner, left, next to the present North Street. A Primitive Methodist chapel, built on the site in 1873 to designs by William Freeman, was demolished in 1969 and replaced by a frozen food shop. Past Marshall Avenue a rope walk ran alongside the Methodist Chapel built in 1795, and in 1805 William Smedley performed in the Georgian Theatre along the Rope Walk. The chapel became too small and was enlarged in 1818, then rebuilt in 1873 to designs by William Botterill. Eventually congregations dwindled and the building was too large to upkeep. Weather and the pigeons did their worst and the roof fell in. Despite protests the building was demolished in 2000 and has been replaced by newly built shops in the Promenades shopping centre. The jewellers shop on the corner of the Promenade, left, was the site of the first lifeboat house in 1805.
Turn right into Cross Street, passing King Street, and right along Queen Street  originally South Back Street. Named after Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles 1, who stayed at a house here in 1643 after being forced to take shelter from a storm. She had sold her Jewels in Holland in exchange for arms and ammunition for the Civil Wars, transporting them by ship. The Parliamentarians found out that she was in the town and fired on them from the harbour. The Queen and her entourage took shelter under the banks of the Gypsey Race. The enemy ships were driven off, the Queen went to stay in the Old Town and the arms were loaded onto carts and taken to the Priory for safe keeping. After two weeks she journeyed to York with the arms on carts guarded by the army. It is rumoured that she stole the gold plate from Boynton Hall, whose owner, Sir William Strickland, was a Parliamentarian but this is probably a myth, however a portrait of the queen still hangs in the Hall. Off Queens Square, left, was an alley called Ship Hill which had two inns and a swimming baths.
At the end of the street look right along Manor Street. The Brunswick Hotel on the corner was used by the coastguard in 1823, and became a Temperence Hotel in 1846. The alley further along leads to Sawmill Yard with VICTORIA MILL  at the bottom, just one of the many watermills which was served by the Gypsey Race.
Turning left into South Cliff Road you are once more back at the Harbour and have circled the town. © GMH