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Filey, with the headland in the distance known as Filey Brigg - - 2975997.jpg
Promenade with Filey Brigg in the background
Filey is located in North Yorkshire
Location within North Yorkshire
Area3.29 sq mi (8.5 km2)
Population6,981 (2011 census)[1]
• Density2,122/sq mi (819/km2)
OS grid referenceTA115807
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townFILEY
Postcode districtYO14
Dialling code01723
PoliceNorth Yorkshire
FireNorth Yorkshire
UK Parliament
List of places
54°12′36″N 0°17′21″W / 54.2101°N 0.2893°W / 54.2101; -0.2893Coordinates: 54°12′36″N 0°17′21″W / 54.2101°N 0.2893°W / 54.2101; -0.2893

Filey (/ˈfli/) is a seaside town and civil parish in the Borough of Scarborough in North Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the East Riding of Yorkshire, it is located between Scarborough and Bridlington on Filey Bay. Although it was a fishing village, it has a large beach and became a popular tourist resort. According to the 2011 UK census, Filey parish had a population of 6,981,[1] in comparison to the 2001 UK census population figure of 6,819,[2] and a population of 6,870 in 1991.[3]


Filey Beach

Filey is at the eastern end of the Cleveland Way, a long-distance footpath; it starts at Helmsley and skirts the North York Moors.[4] It was the second National Trail to be opened (1969). The town is at the northern end of the Yorkshire Wolds Way National Trail which starts at Hessle and crosses the Yorkshire Wolds.[5] Filey is the finishing point for Great Yorkshire Bike Ride. The 70-mile (110 km) ride begins at Wetherby Racecourse.[6]

Fishing boats on the Sea-front

Filey has a railway station on the Yorkshire Coast Line. A second station at Filey Holiday Camp railway station to the south of the town served the former Butlins holiday camp.[7] The camp has since been re-developed into a 600-home holiday housing development, The Bay Filey.[8] It is one of the largest coastal developments of this kind in the UK and the first homes were completed in 2007.[9]

In July 2007 Filey was hit by flash floods which caused major problems.[clarification needed][10][11]


In 1857 the foundations of a 4th-century Roman signal station were discovered at the Carr Naze cliff edge at the northern end of Filey Bay. The structure is 50 metres long with a square tower 14 metres wide, a defensive ditch and ramparts from a later era. Excavations at the time of the find and subsequently in the 1920s and 1990s uncovered Roman pottery and hoards of coins. The site is a protected Scheduled Monument. The find of Roman remains supports the case for Filey being the Roman settlement of Portus Felix.[12][13]

The 12th century parish church dedicated to St Oswald, on Church Hill in the north of the town, is a Grade I listed building.[14] It is the oldest building in Filey[15] and Nicholas Pevsner wrote "This is easily the finest church in the NE corner of the East Riding" (Buildings of England).[16] St Oswald's has nearly 1,500 pieces of well-preserved medieval graffiti on the roof of the tower, ranging from initials up to complicated images of fully rigged sailing vessels, including one known as a Whitby Cat. The graffiti covers around 400 years of Filey's history, and maps out identifiable people, their occupations, changes in literacy and coastal shipping, the start of tourism in the area, and even a possible record of 17th century plague. The graffiti was recorded and analysed by Historic England in 2016.[17]

Filey was a small village until the 18th century when visitors from Scarborough arrived seeking the peace and quiet that Filey then offered. In 1835 a Birmingham solicitor called John Wilkes Unett bought 7 acres (2.8 ha) of land and built the Crescent, later known as the Royal Crescent, which was opened in the 1850s.[18] On several occasions in the mid-19th century, the novelist Charlotte Brontë visited Filey with the aim of recovering her faltering health. In June 1852 she wrote to her father: "The Sea is very grand. Yesterday it was a somewhat unusually high tide - and I stood about an hour on the cliffs yesterday afternoon - watching the tumbling in of great tawny turbid waves - that make the whole shore white with foam and filled the air with a sound hollower and deeper than thunder.[19]

The Lobster sculpture

Fishing at Filey has been tradition, going on for a multitude of centuries, with most of those undertaking it coming from a long line of fishermen and women in their families. The fishing boats at Filey are cobles, like most of the others along the Yorkshire and North East coasts, and the catch is mostly sea trout. Limitations have been placed upon how and where they use their nets which also trap salmon; some fear this may lead to the end of the fishing industry in Filey.[20] In 1804, a lifeboat was procured for the town and it became a Royal National Lifeboat Institution asset in 1852. Filey Lifeboat Station is still in existence and has an inshore and an all-weather boat on station.[21] The all-weather lifeboat was replaced in early 2021 with an Atlantic 85 vessel.[22]

English composer Frederick Delius stayed as a boy on the Crescent with his family at Miss Hurd's boarding house (number 24) in 1876 and 1877, and then at Mrs Colley's (number 24) in 1897.[23][24]

In 1931 the spire of a church was damaged by the Dogger Bank earthquake.[25]

The Station Pub

For more than 40 years Butlin's Filey Holiday Camp was a major factor in Filey's economy. Building began in 1939 and continued during the Second World War when it became an air force station known as RAF Hunmanby Moor. In 1945 it became a popular holiday resort and a new LNER branch line with station was constructed to serve the camp despite the topographical challenges involved. It opened on 10 May 1947 with a performance by the London International Orchestra conducted by Anatole Fistoulari with a performance by acclaimed pianist Solomon. British boxer Bruce Woodcock was convalescing at the Butlin's camp around the same time following his punishing defeat at the hands of Joe Baksi a month earlier.[26] By the late 1950s it could cater for 10,000 holiday makers but closed in 1984, causing a decrease in the holiday makers visiting Filey.[27]

Filey was historically split between the North Riding of Yorkshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire, with the boundary running along Filey Beck. When County Councils were formed by the Local Government Act 1888, the whole of Filey was placed in the East Riding.[28]

Filey also boasts the Grade II listed Langford Villa on The Crescent (c. 1830)[29] which was often chosen by the famous chocolatier Sir Joseph Terry as his place to "summer";[30] it is situated next door but one to The White Lodge Hotel.

In 2018, the town was featured in the Tour de Yorkshire for the first time.[31]


Filey Town Council
Filey Town Arms.png
Jacqui Houlden-Banks
David Liddle
Seats13 Councillors
12 / 13
1 / 13
Last election
7 May 2019
Next election
2 May 2023
Meeting place
Council Offices, Filey

At the lowest level of governance is Filey Town Council, electing a total of 13 councillors. These councillors are responsible for burial grounds, allotments, play areas and some street lighting. Elections to the town council are held every four years and the most recent elections were held in May 2019. The Mayor of Filey is elected annually by the members of the town council.

At district level, the town is part of the Scarborough Borough Council area. The town is represented by three councillors on the Borough Council. On the North Yorkshire County Council the town elects one representative.

Parliamentary representation[edit]

Filey was in the Ryedale constituency until the 2010 general election when it became part of the newly formed Thirsk and Malton constituency.[32] Proposed boundary changes to the constituencies, would see Filey be moved from Thirsk and Malton into the Scarborough and Whitby constituency.[33]


Coast & Country Housing Limited plan to build 300 houses in Filey. Scarborough council has approved plans for the £45 million housing project off Muston Road by Coast & Country. Independent councillor Sam Cross, who represents Filey on the borough council, said: "The infrastructure of the town can't cope with it."[34] Coast and Country replied to the concerns by stating that the houses are being built to meet a pent-up latent demand for affordable housing and other housing within the town.[34]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Filey Parish (1170217336)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  2. ^ UK Census (2001). "Local Area Report – Filey Parish (36UG016)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  3. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus (1995). Hutchinson, John; Neave, David; Neave, Susan (eds.). Yorkshire : York and the East Riding (2 ed.). London: Yale University Press. p. 415. ISBN 0-300-09593-7.
  4. ^ "Route Description & Downloads | National Trails". Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Signing the Yorkshire Wolds Way through Filey | News from the Yorkshire Wolds Way | National Trails". Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  6. ^ "GYBR | Route details". Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Disused Stations: Filey Holiday Camp Station". Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  8. ^ Greenwood, Lynne (26 October 2006). "Hi de Hi for a holiday home". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 22 December 2007. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  9. ^ "Home page". The Bay Filey. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  10. ^ "Floods Hit". Filey & Hunmanby Mercury. 18 July 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  11. ^ "Flash floods hit east coast town". BBC. BBC News Online. 18 July 2007. Retrieved 29 February 2008.
  12. ^ Historic England. "Roman signal station, Carr Naze (1004187)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  13. ^ Historic England. "FILEY ROMAN SIGNAL STATION (81380)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  14. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Oswald (1316455)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  15. ^ "Filey Town Council". Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  16. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus; Neave, David (2002) [1972]. Yorkshire: York and the East Riding: The Buildings of England (2nd ed.). Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09593-7.
  17. ^ Buglass, J (2016). "Historic Graffiti on the Tower of St. Oswald's Church, Filey, North Yorkshire: recording and Interpretation. Historic England Research Report 62/2016". Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  18. ^ "Filey Conservation Area" (PDF). pp. 9–10. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  19. ^ Brontë, Charlotte (9 September 2010). Selected Letters. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-161287-9. Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  20. ^ Ponter, Richard (3 March 2018). "Why Filey's fishermen fear they may be the last generation to cast their nets". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  21. ^ Chrystal, Paul (2012). Lifeboat stations of North East England through time : from Sunderland to the Humber. Stroud: Amberley. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-4456-1376-5.
  22. ^ "Filey Looks Set to Lose it's All Weather Lifeboat Next Year". This is The Coast. 30 October 2020. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  23. ^ Hastings, Sheena (3 September 2012). "'Why Filey's not getting fair shares'". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  24. ^ "The Filey Files". The Yorkshire Post. 9 August 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  25. ^ Boyle, Danny (23 September 2015). "Rutland earthquake: 'We will rebuild', say locals as they mock 2.8-magnitude tremor". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  26. ^ "Bruce Woodcock to Visit Filey Holiday Camp". Driffield Times. 3 May 1947. p. 6.
  27. ^ "Filey is an Anglican name". Filey & Hunmanby Mercury. 24 August 2005. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  28. ^ Local Government Act 1888#Towns on county boundaries
  29. ^ Historic England. "Langford Villa (1296721)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  30. ^ "Langford Villa". Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  31. ^ "Tour de Yorkshire: Filey In - Scarborough Hosts Finish". Yorkshire Coast Radio. 5 December 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  32. ^ Mackie, David (21 September 2016). "MP expresses mixed feelings about proposed constituencies changes". York Press. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  33. ^ Gavaghan, Carl (13 September 2016). "Filey to join with neighbours following boundary changes". The Scarborough News. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  34. ^ a b "Filey new homes plan approved by Scarborough council". BBC News. BBC. 21 February 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  35. ^ "Leo Blair: Barrister who began as a Conservative but followed his son into the Labour Party". The Independent. 19 November 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  36. ^ "Liverpool career stats for Ted Crawford - LFChistory - Stats galore for Liverpool FC!". Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  37. ^ "Andy CRAWFORD - Biography of his football career with The Rams. - Derby County FC". Sporting Heroes. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  38. ^ Vaughan, Dame Janet (1987). "Honor Bridget Fell. 22 May 1900-22 April 1986". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 33: 237–59. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1987.0009. JSTOR 769952. PMID 11621435.

External links[edit]