Some history on Harlow Cottage
In present form c1970
The whole of Sandsend village was originally owned by the Marquis of Normanby and indeed, even today, it is still virtually an ‘Estate Village’.
Sandsend, now a picturesque rural village, has had four main industries. On the present site of the car park there was an extensive Alum Works and later a large Tannery. These two industries created great wealth and the alum process also supplied the main ingredient for the third industry, which was the manufacture of a form of cement called ‘Roman Cement’. Harlow Cottage was built by the estate for a servant of the Marquis who oversaw the fourth important industry here, namely that of fishing.
When built, Harlow Cottage was a very different structure to what we see today. The modern entrance was then reached by an exterior stone stairway and the modern yard some eight to ten feet lower and in fact not a yard at all but the main road. This climbed over the shoulder of the hill to connect with the main street of the village in the valley. Jasmine House and Harlow Cottage were most likely built at the same time, the imposing Jasmine House possibly for the manager of the Alum Works and the smaller Harlow Cottage for the overseer of fishing.
The cellar today is not accessible but it still contains a large 1740’s inglenook fireplace and a stone sink, its floor being covered with expensive stone flags. It would have been entered by a small doorway under the exterior staircase to the first floor. When the railway was built in 1883 the yard was no longer the roadway it had once been over a hundred years before and Harlow Cottage had apparently lost its lofty status in the village. The railway embankment cut right through the roadway, which had been replaced anyway by by the present road. The kitchen became a cellar but was furnished with a window in a little ‘area’ to the front and would have remained in use, being connected to upstairs by a stair that came up in the modern kitchen area of the first floor. Perhaps the yard was raised in level to both aid drainage and defend it from the wild seas but, for whatever reason, at the same time it was given the slope which has been steadily increased in pitch over the years.
The first floor (the modern ground floor) would have functioned as a reception room and office and still retains its fine, early eighteenth century beams. In its heyday it would, without doubt, would have been panelled and the panelling painted in the fashionable blue-grey Normanby Estate colours which are still used to this day on estate farms in the area.
The modern first floor contained the master bedroom and a child’s bedroom or a dressing room at the rear where the modern bathroom is situated. In the nineteenth century alterations there is some evidence that this room was rented out, a small window being inserted into it from the staircase to enable the chief tenants to check exactly who was in there!
As built in the 1740’s, the master bedroom was a relatively grand affair, like the lower floor also being panelled out in what is know locally as “Shipwright’s panelling”. The door to the stairs still retains this pattern, with the plain, austere square section panelling to the staircase and the chamfered panels inside. The whole room would have followed this patterning and, with its fine carved beams, would have been a most upmarket apartment in 1740. The top attic floor would have been open as it is today and used either for servants and/or apprentices to live in.