The Poisoner’s House

Yesterday I was offered the loan of Robin Gilbank’s book on the Life of Dr. E W Pritchard, The Prettiest Liar, and learned that the infamous quack opened a branch to his practice in Filey in 1853, on North Street. He bought a “summer residence” a short walk away from the surgery, No.8 Rutland Terrace, now 38 Rutland Street. This afternoon I photographed the house from Belle Vue Street (the old North Street), with Cliff House on the corner, bearing Charlotte Brontë’s Blue Plaque. (The Pritchard House has a Blue One Way traffic sign.)

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Called Prospect House in the 1850s, it is now Savona and, I think, a holiday let. I was asked this morning if it was once a hospital (or maybe a nursing home). Any information about this will be gratefully received and shared.

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Today’s “Old” Image of my dear pal Jude brought back a particular memory of that day eight years ago. It isn’t very clear in the photo but there was a lot of moisture in the air – Bempton and Speeton cliffs were obscured by a sea fret (of sorts) and the sea near the shore was carrying a lot of clay in suspension, usually a sign of recent heavy rain. I checked my weather records and there was very little rainfall on the 5th or the 6th – in Whitby! We may well have had a storm pass over us here in Filey to muddy the waters. There is a particular word to describe run off from clay cliffs but for most of the day I couldn’t recall it. This was most annoying – and looking online at a number of geology oriented sites didn’t help. At tea time a word beginning with ‘neph’ suddenly came to mind. The nearest dictionary to hand was my dad’s, a 14th birthday present, published in 1932. It offered ‘nepheloid’. A bell rang – the meaning ‘clouded, turbid’ in the ball park. My Concise English Dictionary, an 11th birthday present from my cousin Terry, had ‘nephology’ – the study of clouds. My dad’s dictionary wins! I searched online for ‘nepheloid flow’ and this source brought clarity (ha) – it even mentions the North Sea.

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