Thousands flock to Whitby Steampunk Weekend as planning for next year's event gets underway

Thousands of Steampunk fans were drawn to the historic and quaint cobbled streets of Whitby this weekend to celebrate what is one of the largest events of its kind in the country.

Monday, 25th July 2022, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 25th July 2022, 9:53 am

From metal clocks, dials, goggles, flying hats, big skirts, stripes and hats - it really is a case of more is more for fans of a genre inspired by Victorian science, creativity and industry.

The festival in Whitby has been running in the town since 2017 and has been influenced by the now world-famous Whitby Goth Weekend that started more than 20 years ago and attracts several thousands of people from all walks of life looking to indulge in fanciful extravagance and decadent dressing up.

Taking place over Saturday and Sunday, Steampunk fans and spectators were treated to a talk by Tim Maltin a British author, historian and TV presenter as well as being one of the world’s leading experts on the Titanic, a ‘pavement perambulation parade’ with about 500 people willing to be photographed along the West Cliff, talks on Whitby Ghosts and Victorian violence, sea shanties, bands and trade stalls selling everything from gin to clothes at a packed out Steampunk Retail Emporium in Whitby Pavilion.

Steampunks in the sea. Pictured from the left are Mark Worley, Dawn Moss and Neil Perry on Whitby beach while they attend Whitby Steampunk Weekend ..Picture by Simon Hulme 23rd July 2022

It is the second Whitby Steampunk Weekend so far this year, with one having taken place in February, and even as the last few events were taking place last night, organiser Andy Dolan was already looking ahead to plans for next year.

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“Steampunk is a future that never was and it explodes people’s imaginations and the only limit is your own. It gives people a new lease of life.

“It is a great thing to be involved in, people come for the weekend, forget every day troubles, let their hair down and be who they want to be.

Isabella Hayton with her brother Matthew, aged 5, are pictured with the Abbey in the background at the second Whitby Steampunk Weekend of 2022. Picture by Simon Hulme 23rd July 2022

“They embrace this wonderful, strange, eccentric but good thing. It is such a creative environment and I am astonished by the costumes that people produce.”

The Steampunk trend is hugely popular in New Zealand and America but is celebrated in smaller pockets in the UK and in particular, the north of England.

The Whitby event was started by Mr Dolan and his wife Michelle who were regulars at the Whitby Goth Weekend in its early years.

He said: “We attended the first Goth weekends 20 years ago and were on the fringes and enjoyed the vibe, the scene, the music.

Kev Havercroft is pictured with his wife Emma reflected in his glasses. The couple were at the Whitby Steampunk Weekend which attracted thousands to the sea-side town. Picture by Simon Hulme 23rd July 2022

“It came about there was nothing for Steampunk and I have organised a few events previously so we put something on that was a few drinks, similar to how The Goth Weekend started in the 90s.

“It was a small thing, I started to get calls, then approached by traders and it developed from that. I love what I do. It is a friendly event and a lot of the Steampunks go to The Goth Weekend and vice-versa then for a lot of people if you see the costumes you will get the shock of your life.”

Freckles Lamour and Monsieur Lamour over-look the historic town of Whitby as they are pictured at this weekend's Whitby Steampunk Weekend.