'DULCEY' DOCK. SPEETON CLIFFS.
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
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.