This film is part of Free

North Landing, Flamborough

Having risked the hazards of the North Sea in small rowing boats, fishermen also risk their necks abseiling down the 350ft cliffs of Bempton.

Non-Fiction 1933 10 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


This wonderful film from 1933, taken by local fish merchant George Bayes, shows fishermen landing their catch of cod and crabs on the North Landing at Flamborough and the ‘climmers’ collecting eggs from Bempton Cliffs. Grizzled fishermen, each arriving within their own coble, lay out their catch to dry, and pack baskets for the donkeys to cart up the steep incline to the top. Some then go collecting bird’s eggs from the cliffs, with one man suspended by a rope around the waist.

There were, at least, four generations of George Bayes’, three of them fish merchants. This film was presumably taken by George William Bayes (b 1884, d 1960), who played cricket for Yorkshire between 1910 and 1921. His son also took films of the lifeboat, on the South Landing, for which he sounded the alarm. ‘Climming’ or ‘Scoot-egging’ goes back to the 16th century, and was eventually banned in 1954. Most of the eggs were from the guillemot, razorbill and kittiwake nests, puffin eggs being difficult to get to. They would sell the (rather fishy tasting!) eggs at the top for threepence each, the rarer eggs being sold to collectors. The albumen in the egg whites was used by tanners and shoemakers to polish leather.