• LOCATION 39 | Essential Whitby: A Guide to the Town’s Legends, Treasures and Main Sites

    Henrietta Street

    Henrietta Street on Whitby audio tour Essential Whitby: A Guide to the Town’s Legends, Treasures and Main Sites

    You're now on Henrietta Street. The, mostly holiday cottages, on your left hand side boast some of the finest views here in Whitby.

    Henrietta Street is named after the wife of Nathaniel Chomley and up until 1761 it was called the Haggerlythe. It perhaps doesn't have the same ring to it.

    Haggerlythe comes from Old Norse and means 'sloping area of land on cliffs'. Why this area was called the Haggerlythe should therefore be pretty self-explanatory.

    The views are wonderful but for a long time the properties on this street were modestly priced. That is because this area is prone to land slippages In one such landslide in 1787 a large part of the street disappeared. This event occurred on Christmas Eve and it was only good fortune that meant no lives were lost.

    The last notable landslide occurred in 1923.

    You should be able to smell something - something smoky.

    You are approaching Fortune's kipper house and what you're smelling is the smokehouse. Make a stop to enjoy the aroma.

    The same smokehouse has been used since Fortunes opened for business in 1872 and today it is run by the fifth generation of the Fortune family.

    Like its fish and chips and jet, Whitby's kippers are noted across the world and you'll regularly hear the likes of James Martin speaking about them on daytime television.

    A kipper of course is a smoked herring - there is no such fish as a kipper. A local might try and catch you out on this so be warned.

    Here at Fortunes the fish are smoked over a series of fires made from a mixture of oak, beech and softwood, the fragrant oak and beech smoke add flavour and colour naturally. It usually takes about 3 fires and 18 hours to complete the smoking process in order to achieve the oaky smoked flavour and the distinctive golden brown colour of Fortune’s kippers.

    It is also a local custom to eat them for breakfast followed by bread and jam. This means the fish can be enjoyed and then the sweetness of the jam will neutralise the smokiness on the palate afterwards.

    Keep walking on.

    Next to Fortune's you should see a small car-park and above this a number of walls in the cliff face. This area used to be a builders yard and during quiet periods the owner would send apprentices up to construct supporting walls in the cliff and prevent large sections destroying his yard area.

    On your right also will be Tipple Cottage - you might have to stand away from it to get the full effect of the slant. I am told that the floorboards are equally slanted and this means a bed, for example, must have two legs sawed to ensure it stands flat on the ground. Or maybe someone was jesting with me... I don't know.

    Keep on going and and follow the path when it forks right - we are not going down onto the East Pier.

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Essential Whitby: A Guide to the Town’s Legends, Treasures and Main Sites