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Sewerby Road Clearance, 1956

Mike Wilson, Local Author and Historian

From Bridlington Free Press & Chronicle, Friday, 4th May, 1956

Work begins on clearing Sewerby Road area

369 houses to be pulled down in five years

The appearance of parts of Bridlington will be drastically altered during the next few years as many of the old houses are demolished and new ones are built on the sites. Of the 369 houses programmed for clearance in the borough within the next five years about 270 are in the Old Town.

Sewerby Road, near Priory Church, is the first section to receive attention. There, nearly 60 houses are to be pulled down.

It is expected that these will be followed by the demolition of nine houses in Queen's Yard, 14 in Beehive Terrace, and five in South Back Lane, but the compulsory purchase order for these properties has yet to be confirmed by the Minister of Housing and Local Government.

Work has started on the Sewerby Road section, which embraces practically all the property between Pinfold Street and Watson's Avenue.

The first houses to be demolished - those leading from the junction of Pinfold Street and opposite Priory Church - will be replaced by a small block of four flats, and 21 houses in two separate terraces.

Mr Francis Johnson, architect, who has designed the houses and flats for this particular section for the corporation, told the Free Press that they had been designed so as to preserve as far as possible the feeling of the old part of the town.

"They will be built in traditional Bridlington materials - warm red multi-coloured brick-work - with red pantiles," said Mr Johnson. He added that it was also hoped to use some of the old cobblestones from the present buildings.

The other old houses, further along on both sides of Sewerby Road, will be replaced by 48 dwellings, which are being designed by the staff in the Borough Engineer's department.

These will comprise two- and three-bedroom houses and old people's dwellings. Some will be terrace houses and some will be in pairs.

"We shall try to harmonise them with those designed by Mr Johnson," remarked a corporation official.

When the work is completed the whole outlook of this small part of the Old Town, which nestles within the shadow of Priory Church, will be changed completely.

Demolition works started on the old police station first. This building, which was erected about 1848, has been somewhat of a landmark in the Old Town.

There were cells in it, but they have not been used for accommodating lawbreakers for 70 or 80 years. In fact it had been used as a house for many years.

One person who greatly regrets the changing conditions is Mrs A. Langton, of 51 Sewerby Road, and this is not surprising because she is 80 years of age and has lived in the street all her life. Her home is scheduled for demolition.

Speaking to the Free Press, Mrs Langton said: "I was born next door but one to where I am living at present. I love this part of the town, and I don't want to leave it. My friends are here. I don't know why they want to pull them down because they are nice little cottages. I have brought my family up here. At one time the rent was only 1/9, and now it is 6/- a week."

Mrs Langton added: "I shall be very sorry to leave, and I shall shed a few tears when we go out."

Mrs A. Hodgson, of 26 Sewerby Road, who has two young children, expressed a different view.

"I shall not be sorry when we have to go," she said. "We have no bath, and no hot water, and it is an earth closet. I have tried to get somewhere else in the past but have not succeeded."

A man who has lived in that neighbourhood for many years spoke of some of the changes which had taken place there 

"There were buildings on both sides of the road then, but it was opened out when they were pulled down. They included two lodging houses and malt-kilns," he remarked.previously. He could remember the time when Sewerby Road opposite Priory Church was only about 15ft wide, and there were no footpaths.

He also said he had been told there used to be lock-up shops about 100 years ago at the corner of Church Walk, which used to open twice a week.

Mrs J. W. Langton, of 7 Queens Yard is another who will not be sorry when they have to move.

"It will be much better when we can get into somethiing more modern," she commented. "You see we have no gas or electricity laid on here and we have to use oil lamps. Oil lamps are used in two other houses. We have not got a bathroom and have no hot water supply. Also when you look out of the window you are gazing straight onto a large brick wall."