It is hard to imagine a Whitby without Dracula. It was after he had visited the traditional fishing town that Bram Stoker was inspired to feature Whitby in his 1897 novel, even selecting the town as the first place in which his eponymous vampire was to set foot in England. Now, Whitby is keen to exploit this connection through its tourism. As much as the novel is tied to the genuine locations of Whitby, so too Whitby, and in particular the locations of Whitby Abbey, St. Mary’s Church, and the viaduct (from which Mina Murray gains her first view of the town), are tied to the novel. Our project aims to explore this connection through both the fictional pages of Dracula and these real locations, focusing on how this connection had influenced and inspired tourism. Whitby is little changed since the days of Stoker’s visit, and yet the increase of Dracula-based tourism, such as the creation of Dracula tours and the Goth weekend, paradoxically marks this change. Using visual media, we aim to explore how the fictional representations and the real spaces of Whitby interact, and in turn influence, its attraction as a Gothic space and tourist destination.
Collaborators (MA students and PhD candidates at the University of Sheffield):
Ellie Waters (Creator)
This project was funded by the Petrie Watson Exhibition Fund at the University of Sheffield, without whom the project would not have been possible. We thank them for their support.