Fears of further landslide at Whitby as church land crumbles

COMING DOWN: The houses in Aelfleda Terrace are demolished

COMING DOWN: The houses in Aelfleda Terrace are demolished

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

AN HISTORIC kipper smokehouse considered closing for the first time in 140 years over further fears of a landslide – when human bones and debris crumbled from a cliff.

Fortune’s Kippers, on Henrietta Street in Whitby, has been on the same site since 1872 and is famous for its smoked fish, which it sells to a range of top restaurants and high profile customers.

But there were concerns it would become the latest casualty of Whitby’s crumbling cliff face when a broken drainage pipe was damaged, leaving a stream of water flowing down the cliff face and sending mud sliding towards the historic building.

The smokehouse is just yards away from Aelfleda Terrace, where five homes are currently being dismantled after a landslide left the buildings hanging over a sheer drop.

Barry Brown, who co-owns the Fortune’s Kippers with his brother Derek, said he had spent the past few days nervously surveying debris falling away from the cliff, including human bones from St Mary’s churchyard.

The Northern Echo: AT WORK: Barry Fortune's grandfather, William Fortune

The graveyard has been closed since the early 18th century and the bones were returned to the church to be reinterred elsewhere.

Mr Brown said: “It was a burst pipe and the water was coming down the cliff in two to three different places. There was a lot of mud and a few bricks and boulders. Some human bones came down last week. They’ve been returned to the canon who will reinter them.

“There’s quite an accumulation of mud behind the shreds which are the other side of the yard from the smokehouse and shop, about five to six metres away from where we are now.”

Mr Brown, whose great, great grandfather William Fortune established the smokehouse, added: “I don’t remember anything ever happening like this since the smokehouse has been here. We’ve never had to close.”

The Northern Echo: HOTTING UP: Barry Fortune lights a fire in the smokehouse

St Mary’s Church, which owns the land above Fortune’s Kippers, has taken measures to fix the leaking pipe.

Gabrielle Jandzio, Scarborough Borough Council's communications officer said: "Our engineers met with the rector of St Mary's Church and the owner of Fortune’s Kippers to discuss the slip that occurred last week on church-owned land above Henrietta Street.

“We have subsequently agreed to put up a new section of fence between two and three metres back from the cliff edge near the clock tower, the cost of which will be met by the council with a contribution from the church.”

The Northern Echo: REPAIRS CARRIED OUT: The broken drainpipe

Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:45pm Tue 4 Dec 12

Colcat says...

Why is the council paying the bill "with a contribution from the church” to erect a fence on church land? Shouldn't the church be paying it all?
.
Also, "The smokehouse is just yards away from Aelfleda Terrace." So is it 5 yards? 50yards? Try 350yards. Reporting like that may as well say that it happened mere yards from the Echo offices, "just" 67,000 yards!
Why is the council paying the bill "with a contribution from the church” to erect a fence on church land? Shouldn't the church be paying it all? . Also, "The smokehouse is just yards away from Aelfleda Terrace." So is it 5 yards? 50yards? Try 350yards. Reporting like that may as well say that it happened mere yards from the Echo offices, "just" 67,000 yards! Colcat
  • Score: 0

7:29am Wed 5 Dec 12

annbalou says...

What good is a fence, it's the pipe that needs attention, a fence won't stop the land slipping down the cliff.
What good is a fence, it's the pipe that needs attention, a fence won't stop the land slipping down the cliff. annbalou
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree