Dear Whitby peeps (and wonderful people of the world)
A couple of months ago when I announced what was happening it was purely to let you know that there were moves afoot to restore me.
It followed a picture and a note from someone who expressed their concern regarding my condition. They asked why I was being allowed to deteriorate and, as I explained in the first post, it wasn’t out of abandonment or deliberate neglect but out of love and the impossibility of being able to return to a place of happy memories following the loss of a loved one.
I have many happy memories of my own regarding the sometimes misguided attempts to care for me by previous owners. My last ones did try to keep me in good condition but prior to them, before the realisation that old properties had immense value and needed to be protected, I had concrete used as plaster, plastic sheeting used to keep out damp and cheap tiles and felt used for my roof.
No individual owner deliberately mistreated me, the work that was carried out was done in an attempt to keep me maintained. There wasn’t the knowledge of building materials and the potential for degenerative interaction between modern and ancient techniques and products so what was done, was always with positive intentions; however, there is no permanent damage and now the roof is watertight and the majority of the concrete and plastic sheeting removed my walls are breathing again and I’m smiling.
The forms are being submitted for permission to replace rotten or damaged wood including some floorboards. I’m going to have new ceilings and they will be constructed using the traditional lath and lime-based plaster. Some of my walls will also be re-plastered using a similar mix; however, it may also have horse or goat hair added depending on the opinion of the conservation guy who has been very helpful with guidance and advice.
If I look back to when I was quite young in the late 1700’s there were hard times. Cholera was rife due to lack of sanitation and they would transport the dead bodies over the harbour to Tate Hill Pier, a little too close for my owners. Church Street was beginning to fill out and be rather more continuous; however, the view of the river and harbour was obscured by boatyards and warehouses for much of its length. On the harbour side of the road there is still a vibrant boatyard further south and a pub, sailors rest gardens and a car park further north.
Tate Hill Pier is interesting in as much as it was first recorded in 1190 but is thought to be much older than that, in fact, it is widely accepted that it is the oldest pier in the world, a wonderful claim and not even I, at my great age, can challenge it?
I remember rumours of Lewis Carol causing a stir as he holidayed here in Whitby, in fact, they say he started his poem ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’ inspired by a visit to Sandsend and who wouldn’t be?
Charles Dickens was also reputed to be a visitor and letters to his friend Wilkie Collins are evidence of the fact but the content seems to indicate a degree of ambiguity as he mentions “…oyster-shell like grottoes from the best private room”, pretty good if you like oyster-shells, not so good if you don’t!
There’ll be some minor bouts of action during the waiting period for permissions to be granted. I’m hoping that repairs to the door and windows can be achieved but the replacement or repair of internal features will need to be put on hold for the official consent.
Give the boys and girls a wave if you see them as you pass.
I’ve more to tell you but it’ll be towards the end of next week.
Yours with love,
The Little Yellow Cottage
Justin Waring’s team is Lee Waring, Ashley Waring, Danny Grady, Mike Brown and John White.
Electrical is Steve Parking.
PAS Scaffolding ltd team is Paul McClure Steven McClure & James McClure
Joiner is Mike Brown
Conservation Officer is Stephen Gandolfi