Ces.Mowthorpe. (Copyright 2005)

On the Ordanance Survey 'One-inch Map of Great Britain' (Seventh Series) Sheet 93, you will see that on Speeton Cliffs (Map Ref. TA168750) is the name Dulcey Dock. This was a brick-built man-made dock, right at the base of the mighty Speeton Cliffs and built sometime during the later 19th. century. Who on earth would wish to dock a ship at such an outlandish spot.

Apparently a ship 'from the Humber' (could this be a 'Humber Keel - a photograph exists of a Humber Keel in Bridlington harbour and Dulcey dock is only a few miles north ?) with the name of DULCEY was engaged in the regular shipment of chalk from Speeton Cliffs to the Hessle windmill. This must have been a substantial business to go to the trouble of building a brick dock which withstood the many storms associated with these cliffs.

Speeton and Bempton cliffs are better-known in the Filey area as 'white rocks' because of their colour and are a known graveyard of many ships.

On the stormy night of 24 September 1935 the Hull trawler SKEGNESS was lost with all hands only a few hundred yards or so south of DULCEY DOCK which gives one some idea of the pounding these cliffs undergo, yet, the remains of the dock were evident well into the late 1930's and made a convenient point for the local lads to go fishing from. There are still several of these amateur fishermen living to tell the tale.

Despite some effort I have been unable to find out details of the DULCEY. One must assume that it was a early powered vessel of some sort because of the manoeuvrability required for its docking. Never-the-less, a regular supply of chalk from these cliffs was conveyed to the Hessle windmill which today still stands beside the Humber bridge.

Consider the labour required to fill such a vessel. The chalk rocks in that area are very big indeed so they must have been broken down into small pieces. Whilst this area is accessible along the shoreline, this can only occur under certain tidal conditions so this too had to be taken into consideration. Whilst local labour was available it must have been on a very organised basis. Sadly, in 2002 there are few, if any, people left who can give accurate detail.

These high cliffs rise to 400ft further south at Bempton where today the excellent RSPB visitor centre stands and herebye stems another interesting story. During WW2 a radar station (RDF Low) in 1940's parlace, was built on the high ground behind the centre, the remains of which can still be seen. Airmen at this station found the remains of steps cut into the 400ft chalk cliff-face but these steps had almost eroded away.

In their spare time daring young men re-cut the aforementioned steps until they were again usable and during warm summer days enabled those with a head for heights to get onto the rocks below and bathe in the abundant rock pools. It must raise the question of what the original purpose of these steps was ? To cut them originally must have been a formidable task and such work would not be done for pleasure. Smuggling is one suggestion, specially as the writer has definite confirmation of a tunnel from Buckton Hall to the cliffs.

During the summers of 1944-45, training was carried-out with two twin-Browning machine-guns on mountings, almost where the RSPB visitor centre today stands. These were serviced by a Sergeant Armourer and seven airmen who 'lived-out' under canvas close by. As an ATC cadet the writer fired these guns several times at drogues towed across the bay by a Miles Martinet aircraft from R.A.F.Catfoss. Whilst waiting around I was horrified to see a young airman casually running up the aforementioned steps, which exited close to the present viewing platform on the cliff edge. Such is the recklessness of youth.