Saltburn by the Sea – East Coast Joys


Here come the Yarn Stormers!

Never mind Banksy, have you heard of the Saltburn Yarn Stormers? They come secretly in the middle of the night and decorate Saltburn’s Victorian Pier with a sleeve of amazing colorful knitted creations. When we were there this week the figures were a celebration of all things sea-sidey. Mermaids, starfish, lobsters, lighthouses, seaweed, swimmers, sun bathers and even seaside donkeys (Knit and Purl).

Beach Donkeys – Knit and Purl!

In the past the mysterious knitters have yarn stormed the pier with figures from the Jubilee and the Olympics. They are beautifully crafted, and the kind of street (or should that be Pier art) art that everyone can enjoy. No one knows who the ‘Yarn Stormers’ are, or where they come from, but they are very popular with the locals. One particularly funny sunburnt man in a deckchair was knit-napped from the pier by a callous thief, (maybe he will turn up at Sothebys.) A photo of him had been left in his place with the message ‘I was stolen by a fool, but I will regenerate!’
Guerilla knitting appears around the world often transforming unattractive urban environments but no one does it quite like the Saltburn Crew.

Woolly Watcher

Saltburn also boasts a genuine Victorian water balanced cliff lift to get you to the top or the bottom of the hill without the bother of the walk. It is probably the oldest working model in the world. Each of its two cars is fitted with a water tank and run on parallel tracks. The car at the top of the 71% incline has its tank filled with water until it overbalances the weight of the car below.

What goes up must come down

It then proceeds in a stately fashion down the steep hill under the weight of its own specific gravity. When the car reaches the bottom the water is pumped back up to the top.The entire operation is controlled by the brake man from his little cabin at the top of the lift. In my view the ride is worth £1 of anybody’s money.
Another unique feature is a group of 20 original Art Deco beach huts. Built of brick with slate roofs in 1935 they have survived totally unaltered and are good examples of architectural design from the time between the two World Wars. They are looking a  little bit shabby now and I can’t help thinking that if they had been on Brighton Beach they would have been jazzed up and on sale for a hundred grand or so each…

In need of some updating..

Here you can rent one from the council for £700 a year although now beach huts are back in fashion there is some dispute about who gets them when, as some people have been on the waiting list for over 10 years. Apparently another block were completely demolished a few years ago as no one wanted them at all! I spoke to a chap who said he has had one of the huts for thirty years and used to come down to the beach with his wife and the children they fostered. ‘Some of them had never seen the sea,’ she said ‘They loved it here.’

The British beach is BACK!

Saltburn is one of our gorgeous English East Coast seaside towns once awash with visitors every summer but now struggling to compete with cheap package holidays abroad. This summer has been different. The sun has had its hat on, and the beach is a great big party of wind breaks, buckets and spades, packed lunches and families enjoying themselves in the old fashioned way. Saltburn, with its picturesque setting under the shadow of Hunt Cliff still retains a certain Victorian charm. It has it’s pier, its cliff lift, a pristine beach, a thriving surfing community and of course, a cracking fish and chip emporium.

Top scoff!

Many of our seaside towns still have a dilapidated feel to them but Saltburn doesn’t feel that way all. I adore the vintage posters produced by the London and North East Railway in the 1930’s to promote rail travel to the East Coast. Perhaps its time we had some new ones. Maybe they could feature a bit of Yarn Storming



  1. Great article. Do you mind making a correction? It's Saltburn Yarn Stormers. The Yarn Stormers don't like being called Yarn Bombers. Thanks

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