FOR some, the thrill of Saltburn is the steep descent to the beach. For others, the cliff is an enormous obstacle to them dipping their toes in the sea.

In the early days of this Victorian railway resort, enterprising boys carried buckets of water up from the beach at 2d a time so visitors on the clifftop could bathe their toes.

In 1891, the local MP, Arthur Pease of Hummersknott in Darlington, opened a £7,000 brine baths which had been built – by Blacketts of Bishop Auckland – opposite the entrance to the railway station.

Seawater was pumped from underneath the pier to the baths so that visitors could enjoy the health-giving brine whatever the weather and without having to go all the way down to the beach.

Despite the involvement of the Peases, the baths never made a penny so on June 20, 1913 – the day the women suffragists were wending their way through south Durham – Saltburn council bought them for a knockdown price of £2,500 and reopened them under its control.

Doing the honours, Cleveland MP Herbert Samuel – who had nearly drowned in the sea three years earlier – spoke of the “valuable medicinal properties” of the baths.

Still they struggled financially, and by the 1960s were derelict. In 1976, this extraordinary piece of late Victorian architecture was demolished, and now houses are on its site.