When I was young summer holidays were generally camping trips to the Lake District or ‘days out’. Days out were day trips to the seaside of the moors. The most popular local seaside destinations for the children of Middlesbrough were Redcar, Saltburn and Whitby.
Each seaside town had its own particular draw, Redcar had gaming arcades and a cinema, Saltburn had a cliff lift and rock pools, Whitby, my favourite, had Dracula, the 99 steps and The Hand of Glory.
The Hand was, and still is, kept in a display cabinet in the Whitby Museum at Pannett Park. The museum remains one of my favourite places. It’s a lovely place that rejects the need for modern push-button interactivity and focuses on stimulating our natural curiosity by presenting us with strange, beautiful, bizarre and exotic objects.
The Museum also houses one the best collection of marine fossils outside of the Natural History Museum in London.
For further reading on the Hand of Glory I’d recommend a two-part essay by Robin Wilson entitled A Blaze of Glory published in the excellent quarterly magazine Northern Earth (issues 140 & 141).