Scarborough

Satellite photo copyright Geology.com
Hand-drawn map by Kath Brunsden for Geography Cat

Using Kath’s beautifully drawn map you can see a rocky promontory jutting out to sea that divides the seafront into north and south. The headland is the location of Scarborough Castle, overlooking the original settlement formed around the natural harbour of South Bay. Tourism began here in the late 17th century when visitors came for the naturally occurring spa waters.

The limestone outcrop looking over the town and out to sea was home to a Bronze Age hill fort, and later a Roman signal station before Scarborough Castle was built in the 12th century. The headland rises to 91m above sea level and steep cliffs drop precipitously on three sides. The isthmus (thin piece of land which joins two larger ones) was cut by the castle builders to complete a moat, improving the defensive position even further. Control of the castle changed hands several times during the English Civil War and today the site is protected and managed by English Heritage.

Scarborough Castle seen from the north
Scarborough Harbour Postcard from the 1960s
Scarborough harbour remains an important part of town

Scarborough Pier Lighthouse, built in 1806, was damaged during the WW1 Raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby by the Imperial German Navy on 16 December 1914.

Damage to the lighthouse (Photo credit: Imperial War Museum)

The lighthouse wasn’t rebuilt until 1931, when a two second F# foghorn was added. Sadly it is no longer operational, nor open to the public.

The Diving Belle Sculpture by Craig Knowles.

The Diving Belle statue stands on the seaward side of the Lighthouse and represents the town looking towards the future. It was commissioned as part of the Scarborough Renaissance Programme. This began in 2001 and aimed to reverse some of the ill effects brought about by the decline of tourism here since the 1970s. Other aspects of the programme included neighbourhood regeneration and improvements to the harbour, the Rotunda museum, and the Woodend Creative Industries Centre. The Renaissance Programme attracted an initial £20m public sector investment, and stimulated a complementary private sector investment of £200m.

Compare this image of Scarborough Spa with the one below

Scarborough Spa is a Grade II listed building on the site of the natural spring. Visitors in the 17th and 18th centuries would have seen a variety of wooden structures surrounding the wells but Victorian architect Joseph Paxton was brought in to design the grand complex that can be seen today. It opened in 1858, at the height of tourism to Scarborough when hundred of thousands of visitors enjoyed day trips and short breaks thanks to the newly built railways.

The present day complex houses the Spa Theatre, the Grand Hall for concerts, the Ocean Room (shown above) for smaller concerts and dances, and many other rooms, cafes, bars and restaurants providing entertainment and employment.

The Scarborough Cliff Tram, built in 1875, the first funicular railway in England, provides access between the town centre and South Bay
Look carefully at this postcard of South Bay to find the Spa, the Grand Hotel and Scarborough Castle
The Grand Hotel

When it opened in 1867, the Grand Hotel was the largest hotel in Europe. The building was designed in the shape of a V in honour of Queen Victoria, and around the theme of time. It has four towers to represent the seasons, 12 floors for the months of the year, 52 chimneys for the weeks, and originally 365 bedrooms for the days of the year. Modernisation has reduced the number of bedrooms to 280, presumably making them larger to accommodate en suite bathrooms.

Postcard showing Scalby Beck joining North Bay
North Bay water chute

The North Bay of Scarborough was developed for tourism later than the rest, with Peasholm Park and oriental gardens opening in 1912, followed by the Open Air Theatre and Miniature Railway in the 1930s.

Hold onto your sandwich!
Mike enjoyed visiting the Rotunda Museum

The Rotunda Museum was built in 1829 based on design ideas of William Smith. Smith is an important character in the history of geology. his work established that geological strata could be identified and correlated using the fossils within, and he created the first geological map of Great Britain in 1815, shown below:

William Smith began work on his Geological Map of England & Wales in 1801, it was published in 1815

The collection at the Rotunda comprises of over 5,500 fossils and 3,000 minerals. Here are some photographs Mike took during his visit:

Crinoids from the Jurassic Coast of Yorkshire
Trilobite
Belemnites, gryphaea (devil’s toenails) and ammonites from the Yorkshire Jurassic Coast

Geography Cat would like to thank Kath, not only for her map of Scarborough, bit also the passion she has shared for her home town. Thank you to everyone who sent postcards from Scarborough for Geography Cat’s Project Postcard, especially Sara & Percy, Karen & Paul, Betty & Tony, Gillian & Gillian, Mary, and Kath, Neil & Rosemary.

Scarborough- Now with added Geography Cat
(Original photo credit Age UK)

One Reply to “Scarborough”

  1. Thank you for showing me Scarborough! The fossils are so interesting and the historical changes that have taken place over the decades was spectacular. I loved the ‘Wanted’ poster!

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