I’ve probably hiked up High Street in Bridlingtons Old Town more times than I can count over the years. It is the most complete Georgian Street in all of England.
My Nanna lived in a flat next door to the Old Corn Exchange in Bridlington’s Old Town, and daily trips up and down High Street were a regular occurrence. You see Mum, myself and my brother walked everywhere in Bridlington, rain, hail or shine, we pounded the pavements of Bridlington on a daily basis, and I think this is why I could easily find my way around 20 years on when I visited Bridlington last year.
I have to confess that I love High Street so much. I remember the shops on High Street back in the 1970s and 80s. Old fashioned bakeries like Higgins, selling those peculiar marshmallow ice-cream look-a-likes in bright orange rice paper cones (remember those?), or Vanilla Slices that towered so high and were the trickiest thing to eat elegantly, jam tarts and other cream cake delights all baked in that old fashioned English bakery style.
I also remember the old-fashioned Chemist shop that was like stepping back in time. My brother worked on this property a couple of years ago, he said it still had the old chemist counter full of all the bizarre potions and blocks of chemicals that they sold for weird remedies along with the old glass bottles full of all kinds of toxic liquids. Downstairs retains most of the original wooden panelling but upstairs was just like it was all those years ago.
I also remember the Convent at No. 22, and seeing the Nuns in their old fashioned looking habits wonder in and out of the building.
It was always a treat to have something from the bakery on our way back home from Nannas. We got to choose what we wanted, and the hardest thing was to decide.
High Street back then looks very much how it presents itself today. The gorgeous Georgian architecture, cute little High Street shops and cobbled road were and are still such a delight.
As a local, I’m super pleased that not much tampering has gone on and that the street and its exteriors are protected and preserved.
My brother works a bit for the Lords Feoffees, they were the original business men of Bridlington way back when Old Town was the only part of Bridlington that existed along with the Priory, They were the lords of the manor of Bridlington and between them aranged the building of the harbour, then as time went by the Old Town and the harbour eventually became Bridlington as it is today.
They also own the Bayle museum near the Priory which is the historical museum for the town. I know at one point some of my Grandads items where there on display. At the Lord Feoffees offices, they have a few books on the complete history of Bridlington and the surrounding area along with many pictures and artefacts.
My brother helps repair and mend a lot of the High Street properties, which is a fantastic contribution by my family. The exteriors are now listed to protect the street and its historic appeal, as its now known as Bridlington’s heritage centre.
He also makes replacement sash windows as the old ones are mainly rotten, fixes the Georgian doors, and many more repairs inside these amazing buildings. These buildings date back 3-400 years old so they need a little TLC from time to time.
I often imagine the buildings are like Old Dames sitting in a row up the street, like something out of a Hogarth drawing. Each one has its own personality as the shops are individual and this is all part of its incredible charm.
The biggest surprise and probably a good explanation as to why I absolutely love this iconic street so much and feel very much at home here, is the fact that I only discovered last month that I was born in Old Town, on Westgate in the Avenue Maternity Hospital in the 1970s, so I can proudly announce that I was born and bred in Bridlington Old Town.
David, is the Yorkshire Society’s Town Crier. He set a new world record as the loudest Town Crier in 2013, knocking out a whopping 114.8 decibels at Sewerby Hall. A Town Crier brings formality to an event as well as a bit of colour and drama to an occasion. I think David looks very much the part and I remember most Towns in the UK have Town Criers, it is a bit of an English thing, but it’s great fun too.
In 2016 Universal Studios filmed a new version of Dad’s Army (I’m sure locals will remember this event), and they used High Street as their set. Lots of shops where transformed into 1940s Britain, and are still there today. A 1940s festival is also held each year in the Old Town, transporting it to a time my Nanna & Grandad would have recognised it, as they lived in Bridlington at that time running a Bed & Breakfast.
In 2013 HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visited Bridlington Priory to celebrate its 900 year old anniversary.
If you love local history, like I do, Bridlington Old Town is an absolute must see place. It’s like walking back in time in a bygone era. I love the Antique shops on High Street too, and Bargain Hunt paid a visit to these delightful shops a few years ago, I bet the experts picked up some favourable bargains for themselves whilst filming.
At the top of High Street we also have the cutest chocolate shop in town, Tiffin, and what a wonderful place to finish your visit with a little bit of a treat to end your visit.
Finally if you love vintage and retro, Bridlington Old Town will be holding their annual 1940s festival Sunday 14th June as part of its Summer Festival, a great event and day out and not to be missed, see Bridlington Old Town transformed again into the 1940s.