Saltburn was founded in 1861 by the entrepreneur Henry Pease — a member of the Pease family of Darlington that also founded the Stockton & Darlington Railway and the town of Middlesbrough nearby — apparently after he had seen a vision of a heavenly city reminiscent of the description of Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation in the Bible. The group of so-called "jewel streets" along the seafront (Coral, Garnet, Ruby, Emerald, Pearl, Diamond and Amber Streets) is said to be a legacy of this vision. Another mark of the founding family is the "Pease brick" in many of the homes in Saltburn, with the name "Pease" set into the brick.
The jewel in Henry Pease's crown is said to have been The Zetland Hotel, one of the world's earliest purpose-built railway hotels, with its own private platform.
The Pease family also built a residence at the junction of Marine Parade and Milton Street, and lived there until Sir Joseph W Pease died in 1903. The house was later sold to the Working Men's Club and Institute Union ("the CIU"), which converted it into a convalescent home for club members, one of several around the country. Its "residents" usually came, from all the major working-class areas of the UK, for subsidised two-week breaks. They were easy to recognise from the yellow button badges they were issued by the "Superintendent" on arrival. The Milton Street Club, located right next door to their home-from-home, was understandably very popular among the Clubmen.
Malcolm Campbell set his first record (138.08 mph-unofficial) while driving Blue Bird on Saltburn Sands on 17 June 1922
David Coverdale of Deep Purple and Whitesnake was born here and grew up in the Red Lodge, now Red Gables, on Marine Parade George Hardwick the footballer was born in Saltburn
Tony Mowbray (ex-Middlesbrough, Celtic and Ipswich footballer, current Celtic manager and ex-West Bromwich Albion and Hibernian manager) was born here
Nicholas James MacDonald Patrick - Astronaut born 22 March 1964 Saltburn
The railway station is at the end of the line from Middlesbrough and Darlington. The Redcar to Saltburn Railway, opened in 1861, was an extension of the Middlesbrough to Redcar Railway of 1846. A freight line continues to the potash mine at nearby Boulby. This line used to continue to Whitby as part of the Whitby Redcar and Middlesbrough Union Railway.
From Marine Parade you can look out over the pier which points just east of north. The coastline at Saltburn lies practically east west. To the north east of the town is the imposing Hunt Cliff, topped by Warsett Hill at 166m. Skelton Beck runs through the wooded Valley Gardens in Saltburn, then alongside Saltburn Miniature Railway before being joined by Saltburn Gill and entering the North Sea.
Teddy's Nook is a house built in 1862 by Henry Pease (MP) a director of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, for his own occupation. Peas was responsible for the foundation of the seaside resort and the sturdy sandstone house was first named "The Cottage". The following stories, whether fact or fiction is debatable, all relate to this house.
When Saltburn Bank was only a track, two eccentric ladies who lived in the house allegedly kept a lion for a pet. They are sid to have exercised it on the beach daily and it is said to be buried somewhere in the garden.
Mrs Lillie Langtry (the Jersey Lily) stayed at the house at sometime between 1877 and 1880. She was often visited by Edward Prince of Wales (late Edward VII of the United Kingdom) who had a suite of rooms at the Zetland Hotel. The cottage, consequently, became known as Teddy's Nook. In wartime German spies are thought to have contacted ships out at sea by means of flashing lights from Teddy's Nook.
The Kelly family, who leased the house in later years, were cousins of Jimmy Savile who visited regularly.
"The Cottage" was the only one built of what were intended to be one of four similar houses to be called "Clifton Villas". It was the family home of Audrey Collins MBE, who served as Mayor of Saltburn and chair of the South Tees Health Authority. Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital has named a teaching unit in her honour.
Saltburn's attractions include a recently renovated pier, plenty of Victorian buildings, the Valley Gardens, accessible via a forest walk and on the shore, a smugglers' museum. Saltburn is also on the Cleveland Way. The coastline is popular with surfers and national surfing events are held during the autumn and winter months, attracting competitors from all corners of England, Scotland and Wales.
Annual events include Saltburn Victorian Celebrations (once known as Victorian Week), the Saltburn Swashbuckle (a beach event for children based on a piratical theme), the Saltburn Custom Classic Car Show (a lower prom display of mostly American cars) and the annual Folk festival. Saltburn has been host to a number of beach parties organised by local dance music lovers. There is also a thriving local theatre, The 53 Society, and a public library.
Sports played in Saltburn include cricket, bowls and tennis played at the Club in Marske Mill Lane. The Club has been in existence for over 100 years and is nearly as old as the town itself. New facilities were provided in 2002 with financial help from the Lottery.
The North Riding Duck Race is held each year on 1 August to celebrate Yorkshire Day. The winner receives the "Colin Holt Cup", named in honour of the late Colin Holt, for many years the Chairman of the Yorkshire Ridings Society. A prize is given also for the duck with the most original name.
As a town founded and dominated by Quakers, Saltburn originally had no public houses. Alcohol was served in the local hotels and the bars attached to them. The public houses on the lower promenade were part of Old Saltburn. In addition to The Ship Inn there was The Pelican and others. Vista Mar was first opened as tea rooms and later a fish and chip cafe.
Today the following public houses exist in Saltburn: Alexandra Vaults ("Back Alex"), Marine, Ship Inn, The Spa, Victoria, Vista Mar (formerly Bankside, previously Rosie O'Grady's) and Windsors (formerly Queens). There are also several members' clubs: Conservative Club, Lune Street CIU, Masonic Lodge, Saltburn Golf Club, Saltburn Cricket Tennis and Bowls Club, Saltburn House (former CIU convalescent home) and Swingdoors (Queens Club).