Special places to sit, rest and take in the view
Most seaside towns have benches and seats dotted around the town for people to stop for a rest or simply to enjoy the view. This of course is the case in Whitby; but did you know that we have a few rather special benches and seats around the town?
Bram Stoker Memorial Seat.
Back in April 1980 this bench was erected to mark the 68th Anniversary of the death of Bram Stoker, the creator of Dracula. During his holiday in Whitby Stoker is said to have sat in this spot gazing over at the imposing Abbey ruins the church and the cliffs. This is where he was inspired to write his novel Dracula. The cliffs were to be where his fictional ship, The Demeter, came ashore with Dracula on board. His story then recounts the tale of Dracula, in the guise of a black dog, running up the 199 steps to the graveyard of St Mary’s church.
The bench can be found near the Whalebones up on West Cliff overlooking the town. When you visit Whitby you can sit on the bench to admire the view, but don’t forget that you are sitting in the place where Bram Stoker created his most famous character Dracula back in the 1890’s.
To read more about Bram Stoker’s story of Dracula take a look at our Blog page https://shoreline-cottages.com/whitby-life-blog/bram-stoker-whitby/
199 Steps Coffin Benches.
If you are taking a walk up the famous 199 steps you will see that there are benches to take a rest during the climb. A perfect opportunity to get your breath and admire the view but these are not really what they seem! The ‘benches’ were originally put there for the use of Pallbearers who had to carry coffins up the steps to St Mary’s church and the graveyard. As you can imagine, it is quite a climb to the top if carrying such a heavy load and the ‘benches’ would have been a welcome sight for the Pallbearers knowing that they were just the right size to place the coffins and take a rest before working their way up to the top.
The Wishing Chair.
The Wishing Chair is not found in the centre of town so you would need to search for it. You can find it on the junction of Love Lane and Stakesby Road on the outskirts of town.
The ‘chair’ is a sandstone block which back in Medieval times formed the base of mile marker cross along the route to the Abbey. The block originally had four sides which served as a support base for the stone cross. The stone cross is no longer there and one of the edges of the base has broken away which has made the stone into a ‘chair’.
It’s said that if you can sit in the chair and silently make a wish it will come true. Just one problem…the seat is rather small so not everyone can sit in it. Probably best suited to children!
Whitby’s Horse Mounting Blocks
Not strictly speaking a seat or a bench but nevertheless somewhere to perch and take a rest when exploring the streets around Whitby.
During the 18th century stone mounting blocks could be found along the mail routes where the deliveries were made either on horseback or by carriage. More often than not the mounting blocks were strategically placed outside a local tavern where the riders and drivers would take a break, give their horses a rest and partake of an ale or two and something to eat.
When ready to continue their journey, the mounting blocks aided the rider or driver to mount their horse or carriage. It’s easy to imagine that some of them were possibly a little worse for wear after their stop and would need some help in mounting their steed!
Two mounting blocks can be found in Whitby. One outside The Little Angel pub on Flowergate and the other near the St John’s Ambulance on St Hilda’s Gardens.