The Whitby Literary & Philosophical Society was established in 1823 by Reverend George Young and a group of fellow Whitby residents. Its aim was to create a museum of fossils. After opening in rooms over a shop in Baxtergate, the Museum relocated to the harbour, to the top floor of the building now known as Fusco's Quayside Fish Restaurant. The subscription library visited by Bram Stoker was on the first floor. Other famous visitors were Lewis Carroll, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell and Wilkie Collins.
In 1931, the Museum moved to Pannett Park. By now, it has a diversified collection, but stil focuses on local and regional issues, like the history of whaling and the city's development. The photographic collection holds many negatives by photographer Frank Meadow Sutcliffe (1853-1941), once the Society's secretary. His work documents much of Whitby as it looked during Stoker's days.
Papers relating to Bram Stoker's holiday stay in Whitby are also kept at the Museum and members of the Society have gone to great lengths to reconstruct details of the townscape the novelist incorporated in his famous horrror story. The Whitby chapter of our Travel Guide refers to, among others, tour intriguing discussions with Society specialist David Pybus.
Groups interested in a presentation or "guided sleepwalks" (referring to Lucy's famous sleepwalk to St. Mary's churchyard) may send an email to the keeper or the librarian of the Whitby Museum, who will pass it to the Society. Some of its members engage in such events on a volunteer basis - there is no guarantee that the requested service will be available for your preferred date. The best thing to do is to write well in advance.
Official Museum Website and contact data: www.whitbymuseum.org.uk