The History Anorak

The History Anorak

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Pannett Park

Representation of the Whitby whalebone arch
Robert Elliott Pannett was a Whitby philanthropist who gave much of his time and money to educational and charitable causes in the town. In 1902 he bought a tract of land to the south west of the town to prevent it being bought by speculative developers, and on his death in 1920 he bequeathed it to the people of Whitby with the proviso that a public park be created.

Pannett Park still exists today, and provides a delightful green space that is dotted with works of art. It's also where you'll find Whitby museum and art gallery.

Various areas of the gardens commemorate Whitby's history, for example, in the South Seas Garden you will find plants native to the southern hemisphere among artworks with Maori carvings. This marks the journeys of Captain James Cook, the explorer, who sailed from Whitby to make his voyages.

At the top of West Cliff stands an arch made from whalebones, a reminder of Whitby's past as a whaling port. There's a similar arch in the park, though this is a wooden structure carved with images of ships and nautical maps.

Whitby has no war memorial, so a commemorative garden has been set up with a wooden sculpture echoing the arches of Whitby Abbey, which can be seen from the park.

There's also an area called the Jurassic Garden, which marks Whitby's fascinating geological features. A pathway leads through the garden, with bands representing the different rock bands to be found in the area, and typical fossils set into the surface at relevant points. The path leads the walker through 60 million years of the Jurassic period and includes fossil casts taken from examples that can be seen in the museum at the top of the hill.  Including dinosaur footprints!


  1. This would be an interesting place to visit.


  2. Looks fascinating! I like the sound of the Jurassic and South seas gardens:)

  3. Very interesting. I used to visit Whitby quite often as a child as my great uncle had a holiday home near Filey, so sometimes we'd drive up to Whitby. Now my aunt has the holiday home, but I've not been to Whitby since I was 12! It's quite high on my 'to visit' list!


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