Leo Warmsley (1892 to 1966)


Over a long weekend at Scarborough I had a drive up to Whitby, stopping at Robin Hood’s Bay on the way to look for the home of novelist Leo Warsmley. This place got under his skin so much that he wrote a whole series of Bramblewick novels about it - Bramblewick being Robin Hood’s Bay.


There aren’t many houses here so I soon found the blue plaque. Leo had been born in Shipley in West Yorkshire in 1892 and was two when his family moved to this narrow terraced house. If he hadn’t written about the bay he might have painted it as his dad Ulric was a painter. In 1912 the 20-year-old Leo got a job as caretaker of the Robin Hood's Bay Marine Laboratory at five shillings a week but World War One soon disrupted normal life. He was called up and served as an observer with the Royal Flying Corps in East Africa. A writer needs a boring life so their imagination is fired but Leo didn’t have one: there was much fighting, he was mentioned in dispatches four times and was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry. It was only after he survived a plane crash that he was sent home.


That early life in Robin Hood’s bay had bled into his soul and he loved to live near the sea. He settled in Fowey in Cornwall where writer Daphne du Maurier was a friend. It was here – in the 1930’s - he penned his famous Bramblewick series of novels along with 200 short stories. Along the way he married three times. Aged 74 he died in his beloved Fowey on 8th June 1966 and his home at 21 Passage Street was named “Bramblewick” in his honour.


There’s a wee bit of footage on Youtube about him here...






About to head down to Robin Hood’s Bay…


Wandering around looking for Leo’s blue plaque…






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