Today’s Object of the Week is the signature of the author behind one of the most famous novels ever written.

IN late July 1890, Bram Stoker made the train journey from London King’s Cross to Whitby and proceeded to Mrs Veazey’s lodging house at 6 Royal Crescent.

As the business manager of actor Henry Irving, Stoker had just completed a theatrical tour of Scotland – it was Irving who recommended Whitby, where he’d once run a circus, as a place to stay.

Stoker was working on a new story, set in Styria in Austria, with a central character called Count Wampy – and he drew on Whitby for inspiration.

The Northern Echo: Bram StokerBram Stoker

The West Cliff would have looked a little different then, with no Captain Cook monument – it was built in 1913.

But the steps to the ‘Khyber Pass’ road had recently been constructed so he may well have walked down them before proceeding over the old ‘drawbridge’ and making his way along Church Street to the 199 steps.

There would have been no Caedmon’s Cross (1898) when he reached the summit and as he looked out to sea, the piers would have been minus their extensions (built 1911-1913).

During his stay he walked around the graveyard, transcribing more than 90 of the gravestones.

A week later Bram was joined by his wife, Florence, and son, Noel.

They are known to have visited Mulgrave Woods and Robin Hoods Bay and watched the second annual Water Fete organised by Alderman Pannett.

On August 8, Stoker walked down to what was known as the Coffee House End of the Quay and entered the public library.

There, he found a book published in 1820, recording the experiences of British consul William Wilkinson in Bucharest, in the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia – now in Romania.

Wilkinson’s history mentioned a 15th-century prince called Vlad Tepes who was said to have impaled his enemies on wooden stakes. He was known as Dracula – the ‘son of the dragon’.

In the last week of their holiday on August 19, Stoker visited Whitby Museum – then on Pier Road – where he signed the visitor’s book.

He also visited the Subscription Library on the floor below and consulted several books in both libraries – which were to influence his work on Dracula.

Although Stoker was to spend six more years on his novel before it was published, some of the its most dramatic scenes were inspired by his holiday in Whitby.

The town’s picturesque harbour, abbey ruins, windswept churchyard and salty seafaring tales he was told all feature in chapters 6, 7 and 8 of Dracula.

* Whitby Museum is presently closed due to lockdown restrictions. Visit for more details.