The History of Bridlington Old Town

Bollington is a very old name for Bridlington Long ago when the old Priory was being built or repaired, some workmen (possibly from out of town, but probably not) were contemplating how to shift a long roof beam sideways through the west door, its length being greater than the doors width! “Should we saw it in half, take bits off the ends or enlarge the door,” they said to each other. Fortunately, one of them glanced up at the Priory tower and saw a nesting jackdaw pulling a straw lengthways through a thin hole in the masonry. “Lets see if the beam will go in the same way,” they all agreed; needless to say their effort met with success and the beam went through the door as easily as the Jackdaws straw! Ever after that, Bridlington folk were called “Bolliton”, “Bollington” and later “Burlington Jackdaws” We welcome everyone to Bridlington’s historic Old Town... and if in the course of your life you ever need to fit long roof beams through narrow doorways please think of our clever Jackdaw.

The Town

The present town of Bridlington was once two separate towns that have now grown together. The original Bridlington was about a mile from the sea, and this part is now referred to as the Old Town. Bridlington Quay was the name of the port area. Trade in corn was once substantial, and the site of the 1826 Corn Exchange building can still be found in the old Market Place. There were windmills and water mills for corn grinding, and in 1837 a steam mill was erected at the Quay. This trade in corn led to malt and beer production in the 19th century, but this declined. Nowadays, there is still some fishing carried out from the harbour at Bridlington, and the surrounding villages still produce corn, some of which is malted locally. During the 20th century, tourism developed into the principal trade of the town, as workers from the industrial towns of Yorkshire began to seek holidays at the seaside. Much of this trade continues now though it has declined in parallel with the decline in industry.

William Hustler founded the town's Grammar School around 1637. It was refounded in its current location by Thomas Harland in 1899. It is now Bridlington School Sports College, one of two large schools in the town, the other being Headlands School and Community Science College.

The harbour was originally a wooden structure, which gradually gave way to stonework. Several acts of parliament have been obtained through the centuries to improve it. New and longer North and South piers were constructed in the 1840's. Only recently, urgent repairs have had to be carried out to prevent wave damage to the North pier. The harbour is nearly dry at low tide, but still offers some shelter in bad weather. It is used by fishing boats, pleasure boats that visit the seabird colonies on nearby cliffs, and by the yacht club. Bridlington Bay itself is a comparatively safe place in high winds, and for centuries ships have sought its shelter.



, Film & Literature

The world’s paparazzi flocked to Bridlington in late 2014 to spot the stars of one of the biggest UK movies in years – the big-screen version of the much-loved Dad’s Army, which was mainly filmed in the Bridlington Old Town High Street and Market Place and the Flamborough Heritage Coast. Tom Courtenay (born in nearby Hull), Bill Nighy, Michael Gambon, Catherine Zeta Jones and Toby Jones are amongst the glittering cast of the movie, due for release on 5th February  2016.

TV dramas The Brides in the Bath and The Royal also featured Bridlington, and the BBC’s flagship rural magazine programme, Countryfile, has visited on more than one occasion, as has the long-running Coast.

Our Partners

Bridlington Coat of Arms
Bridlington Town Council
Bridlington Old Town Association
Welcome To Yorkshire
Visit Hull and East Yorkshire
Bridlington Renaissance Partnership