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Whitby Harbour
Whitby, North Yorkshire, UK
associated engineer
date  circa 1500 onwards
UK era  Tudor  |  category  Harbour  |  reference  NZ898109
ICE reference number  HEW 2020
Whitby Harbour on the River Esk in North Yorkshire is both a base for the local fishing fleet and a haven for ships during storms. It was originally administered by the monks of Whitby Abbey.
The harbour dates back a long time, with fishing from the 12th century onwards. By 1541, the two oak piers (east and west) protecting the harbour were already in ruins and their timber framing filled only with loose stones. The piers were replaced in masonry during the reign of Charles I, with further work circa 1640.
From 1702, duties were levied on the Newcastle coal that was shipped through the harbour, and the money raised was used to pay for both piers to be extended to 183m in length. Both piers were rebuilt in 1735. The west pier was extended to 309m by 1814. The drawbridge over the River Esk, which separates the upper and lower harbours, was replaced by a swing bridge of 13.7m span around 1835.
Two new piers were built from the ends of the existing piers in 1905, each was 152m long. A 213m long fish quay was constructed on the west side of the lower harbour and the entrance channel was dredged to increase its depth.
The swing bridge was rebuilt in 1908, and these days opens on request at the hour and half hour, for two hours either side of high water. The fish quay and part of the harbour wall were rebuilt in 1957. The new fish quay is 214m long by 18.3m wide. Endeavour Wharf, on the west side of the upper harbour, was completed in 1964.
In 1979, work to dredge the upper harbour and form a small marina was completed. This included the reclamation of 2.4 hectares of adjacent land. The marina features 251.5m of floating pontoons and 122m of drying pontoons. Further pontoons were added in 1991 and 1995.
The harbour has been owned and managed by Scarborough Borough Council since1905, and now occupies 32.4 hectares. There are lighthouses now disused on each pier, two beacons at the harbour entrance and a fog horn on the west pier. The West Lighthouse was built in 1835 and is 25.3m tall while the East lighthouse was built in 1855 and is 16.5m tall.
Supervising engineer (1781-1812): Jonathan Pickernell
Supervising engineer (1812 onwards): James Peacock
Supervising engineer (to 1861): Francis Pickernell
Supervising engineer (1905): John Watt Sandeman & Son
Main contractor (circa 1835): Hiram Craven & Sons
Research: ECPK
reference sources   CEH North

Whitby Harbour