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Whitby Jet

Whitby Jet has a long and illustrious history


This genuine Victorian jet workshop was discovered by chance in the attic of a derelict property in Burns Yard, Whitby. A local builder had purchased the property and during the course of renovation work he knocked a wall down, discovering the workshop which has been completely sealed in the building. We feel privileged to be the custodians of this unique and historic piece of Whitby's Heritage. The workshop was carefully removed and set up at our premises shortly after it's discovery so that many people may view the only remaining example of a Victorian jet workshop..


The workshop was first registered in 1867 in White's industrial directory of North Yorkshire. It was one of approximately two hundred similar workshops employing fourteen hundred men. It would have produced a variety of ornately carved jewellery and decorative items. Jet jewellery was the major industry for Victorian Whitby and a strong economic force for a small North Yorkshire harbour town. Given the tools of the time the quality and standard of work the Whitby men achieved was and still is outstanding. This workshop would have been functioning at the height of Whitby jet's popularity and would have also witnessed it's tragic and rapid decline from favour. 


The discovery of the workshop heralded an unprecedented amount of primary source evidence of the Victorian Whitby jet industry. It is the only complete workshop to be discovered and gives us a unique insight into the working conditions and methods of the day. We can see the order of work, the tools and compounds that were used as well as gaining an insight in to the social history through the artifacts present in the workshop. Due to the lack of academic education many jet workers could not read or write and because of this there is little documented evidence of the processes involved. However with the discovery of the workshop enabled us to "fill in the blanks" and we know have a much fuller picture of the process as a whole.

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