Staithes is a seaside village in North Yorkshire, approximately 11 miles north of Whitby. It is noted for its picturesque appearance with its sheltered harbour bounded by high cliffs and two long breakwaters.
Staithes was formerly a busy fishing port - at its peak, home to some 300 fishing boats. It is now largely a tourist destination, although one that has resisted the temptation to commercialise and remains quite unspoilt.
Village traditions are still strong. Some of the local women still wore the traditional Staithes bonnets until fairly recently. There is still a Staithes Men's Choir - formerly, but no longer, a fishermen's choir "because there's no bloody fish".
In 1745-1746 the young James Cook (Captain Cook) worked in Staithes as a grocer's apprentice before moving to nearby Whitby. William Sanderson's shop, where Cook worked, was destroyed by the sea, but parts were recovered and incorporated into "Captain Cook's Cottage". This has been the residency of a local Staithes family for several generations.
The beauty of the village has frequently attracted artists. The village was home to a group of artists known as the Staithes Group or the Northern Impressionists. The group contained renowned artists such as Fred Jackson, Robert Jobling and his wife Isa, John Spence Ingall, Joseph Bagshawe and Arthur Friedenson. Dame Laura Knight became the most famous member of the Staithes Group; she and her husband and fellow painter Harold Knight kept a studio in the village.
Paintings by members of the Staithes Group may be seen in Whitby Museum.
Contemporary artwork inspired by Staithes and the surrounding area may be seen in Staithes Gallery which is housed in an elegant Georgian building on Staithes High Street.
The quantity of fossils in this area and the spectacular exposure of the Jurassic Lias rocks makes Staithes an important site for both amateur and professional geologists.OS grid reference NZ 785 185
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