Little-known story of station cat: were you the artist?

Nell the sheepdog.
Nell the sheepdog.

The uncovering of Arthur’s Gravestone at Whitby Station has delighted local film-maker, Graeme Aldous, whose late sheepdog Nell told the gravestone story in a video.

The little-known story of Arthur, the Station Cat, was told to Graeme in the late 70s when he was making a documentary on the Esk Valley Railway. The station goods manager, a Mr Cana, told Graeme how Arthur was much-loved, and when he died in August 1975, an art student, working at the station, carved a little stone, which was placed on his grave under the buffers of the bay platform where the excursion trains used to wait.

But when the new Co-Op was built, it was on the site of the (now-redundant) bay platform. The stone was saved and was incorporated in the wall overlooking the rail tracks.

This story was included in Nell’s Curious Yorkshire and Nell was filmed looking at the stone. A couple of years ago, platform two was refurbished for the North York Moors Railway to use, some fancy decorative woodwork covered up the gravestone. Luckily, thanks to Whitby Civic Society, the panel has since been removed to show the stone, and there are plans to put an explanatory plaque alongside it.

Graeme will be telling the story (with the help of Nell on video) at the civic society’s meeting at the Coliseum on Monday at 2pm.

Graeme would love to track down the student who did the carving and invite them to be a guest of honour at the presentation. Call the Whitby Gazette on 829910 if you are the artist or know who they are.