Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Infobox UK place
country = England
official_name = Scarborough
latitude = 54.2773
longitude = -0.4017
population = 50,135 [ [ Scarborough Borough Council, 2001 census information] ]
shire_district = Scarborough
region = Yorkshire and the Humber
shire_county = North Yorkshire
constituency_westminster = Scarborough and Whitby
post_town = SCARBOROUGH
postcode_district = YO11 - YO13
postcode_area = YO
dial_code = 01723
os_grid_reference = TA040880

static_image_caption=Aerial photograph of Scarborough
static_image_2 =
static_image_2_caption = Arms of Scarborough Town Council

Scarborough is a town on the North Sea coast of North Yorkshire, England.

The modern town lies 3 to 70 metres (10 to 230 ft) above sea level, rising steeply northward and westward from the harbour onto limestone cliffs. The older part of the town lies around the harbour and is protected by a rocky headland. Scarborough is served by Scarborough railway station, with services from York on the North TransPennine route and from Hull on the Yorkshire Coast Line.

With a population of around 50,000, Scarborough is the largest holiday resort on the Yorkshire coast. It is home to residential communities, business, fishing and service industries, plus a growing digital and creative economy.

The most striking feature of the town's geography is a high rocky promontory pointing eastward into the North Sea. The promontory supports the 11th century ruins of Scarborough Castle and separates the sea front into a North Bay and a South Bay. The South Bay was the site of the original early medieval settlement and the harbour, which form the current Old Town district. This remains the main focus for tourism, with a sandy beach, cafes, amusements, arcades, theatres and entertainment facilities. The modern commercial town centre has migrated a quarter mile north-west of the harbour area and a hundred feet above it, and contains the transport hubs, main services, shopping and nightlife. The harbour has undergone major regeneration including the new Albert Strange Pontoons, [cite web
url =
title = The Albert Strange Moorings at Scarborough
publisher = The Albert Strange Association
date = 23 July 2008
accessdate = 2008-09-12
last = Wynne
first = Dick
] a more pedestrian-friendly promenade, street lighting and seating. The North Bay has traditionally been the more peaceful end of the resort and is home to Peasholm Park which has recently (June 2007) been restored to its Japanese-themed glory, complete with reconstructed pagoda. The park still features a mock maritime battle (based on the Battle of the River Plate) re-enacted on the boating lake with large model boats and fireworks throughout the summer holiday season. The North Bay Railway is a miniature railway which runs from the park to the Sea Life Centre at Scalby Mills.

The North Bay is linked to the South Bay by the Marine Drive, an extensive Victorian promenade, built around the base of the headland. Overlooking both bays is Scarborough Castle, which was bombarded by the German warships SMS "Derfflinger" and SMS "Von der Tann" in the First World War. Both bays have popular sandy beaches and numerous rock-pools at low tide.

Slightly less well known is the South Cliff Promenade situated above the Spa and South Cliff Gardens, commanding excellent views of the South Bay and old town and from which many iconic postcard views are taken. Its splendid Regency and Victorian terraces are still intact and the mix of quality hotels and desirable apartments form a backdrop to the South Bay. The ITV television drama "The Royal" and its recent spin-off series, "The Royal Today", are filmed in the area. The South Bay has the largest illuminated "Star Disk" anywhere in the UK. It is convert|85|ft|m across and is fitted with subterranean lights representing the 42 brightest stars and major constellations that can be seen from Scarborough in the northern skies.

To the south west-of the town, beside the York to Scarborough railway line, is an ornamental lake known as Scarborough Mere. During the 20th century, the Mere was a popular park, with rowing boats, canoes and a miniature pirate ship – the "Hispaniola" – on which passengers were taken to "Treasure Island" to dig for doubloons. Since the late 1990s the emphasis has been on nature, with "Treasure Island" being paved over to form a new pier area. The lake is now part of the Oliver's Mount Country Park and the "Hispaniola" now sails out of the South Bay.


The town was founded around 966 AD as "Skarðaborg" by Thorgils Skarthi, a Viking raider, though in the 4th century there had briefly been a Roman signal station on Scarborough headland, and there is evidence of much earlier Stone Age and Bronze Age settlements. However, the new settlement was soon burned to the ground by a rival band of Vikings under Tosti (Tostig Godwinson), Lord of Falsgrave, and Harald III of Norway. The destruction and massacre meant that very little remained to be recorded in the Domesday survey of 1085. Scarborough recovered under King Henry II, who built a stone castle on the headland, and granted charters in 1155 and 1163, permitting a market on the sands, and establishing rule by burgesses. [ [ History timeline of Scarborough] ]

Edward II gave Scarborough Castle to his favourite, Piers Gaveston. In his castle at Scarborough, Gaveston was besieged by the barons, captured and carried to Oxford for execution.

In the Middle Ages, Scarborough Fair, permitted in a royal charter of 1253, held a six-week trading festival attracting merchants from all over Europe. It ran from Assumption Day, 15 August, until Michaelmas Day, 29 September. The fair continued to be held for 500 years, from the 11th century to the 18th century, and is commemorated in the song "Scarborough Fair"::"Are you going to Scarborough Fair?":"—parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme...".

Scarborough and its castle changed hands seven times between Royalists and Parliamentarians during the English Civil War of the 1640s, enduring two lengthy and violent sieges. Following the civil war, much of the town lay in ruins.

In 1626, Mrs Elizabeth Farrow discovered a stream of acidic water running from one of the cliffs to the south of the town. This gave birth to Scarborough Spa, and Dr Wittie's book about the spa waters published in 1660 attracted a flood of visitors to the town. Scarborough Spa became Britain's first seaside resort, though the first rolling bathing machines were not noted on the sands until 1735. The coming of the Scarborough–York railway in 1845 increased the tide of visitors.

This influx of visitors convinced a young architect (John Gibson) with an eye to the future to open Scarborough's first purpose-built hotel. In 1841 a railway link between York and Scarborough was being talked of and he decided that the area above the popular Spa building could be developed. He designed and laid the foundations of a ‘hotel’. (This was a new name derived from the word ‘hostel’ which would serve the same purpose but would be bigger and finer than the traditional inns). Gibson then passed the construction of this hotel to the newly-formed South Cliff Building Company. On Tuesday, 10 June 1845 Scarborough's first hotel was opened—a marketing coup at the time, as the Grand Hotel, soon to be Europe's largest, was not yet finished. When John Fairgray Sharpin came to visit Scarborough in 1845, he was charmed at first sight.

When the Grand Hotel was completed in 1867 it was one of the largest hotels in the world and one of the first giant purpose-built hotels in Europe. Four towers represent the seasons, 12 floors represent the months, 52 chimneys represent the weeks and originally 365 bedrooms represented the days of the year. A blue plaque outside marks where the novelist Anne Brontë died in 1849.

During World War I, the town was bombarded by German warships of the High Seas Fleet, an act which shocked the British (see Raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby).

In June 1993 Scarborough made headlines around the world when a landslip caused part of the Holbeck Hall Hotel, along with its gardens, to fall into the sea. Although the slip was shored up with rocks and the land has long since grassed over, evidence of the cliff's collapse remains clearly visible from The Esplanade, near Shuttleworth Gardens.

Scarborough is one of Yorkshire's 'renaissance towns', having been granted government support for securing a vibrant future. As a result there are many building projects to renovate classic Victorian buildings and quality contemporary architecture.
* [ Scarborough timeline]

Inhabitants of the town are generally referred to as "Scarborians". Natives of Whitby, call people from Scarborough, "Algerinos", the origin of this nickname comes from the sinking of a boat called 'The Algerino' not far from Scarborough. The life boat crews of several neighbouring towns, (Whitby, Robin Hoods Bay, etc.), responded while the Scarborough life boat did not, and so as a constant reminder they are referred to as 'Algerinos' and Scarborough 'Algerinoland'.


As might be expected in a significant coastal town, Scarborough's fishing industry is still active, though only a shadow of its former self. The working harbour is home to a fish market including a shop and wooden stalls where fresh, locally-caught seafood can be purchased by the public.

The tourism trade continues to be a major part of the local economy despite the current affordability of foreign holidays. While weekend and mid-week-break trade are tending to replace the traditional week-long family holiday, the beaches and attractions are always very busy throughout summer – a marked contrast to the quieter winter months when Scarborough is often seen as a peaceful bolt-hole from cities such as Leeds and Bradford. Confidence in the hospitality industry is high, evidenced by major refits in recent years, often targeted at a higher-spending clientèle. Significant amongst these is the Grand, Scarborough's biggest hotel, which overlooks the South Bay. Scarborough's town centre has major shopping chains (including Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, TK Maxx and Matalan) alongside boutique shops. As well as a main shopping centre and the Brunswick shopping centre, the town has an indoor market with a large range of antique shops and independent traders in its vaults.

The printing industry is well represented with Pindar having its main base on the business park. Pindar, which also owns the AlphaGraphics chain, is a Scarborough-born company with an international profile. The firm of Plaxtons has been building coaches and buses since 1907 and is still one of Scarborough's largest employers.

The Creative Industries have been cited as playing a vital role in the regeneration of Scarborough – a report in 2005 estimated that they comprised 19% of the town's economy. The creative industries are also a major focus of Scarborough's entry in the 2008 Enterprising Britain competition, the results of which are set to be announced in October 2008 – Scarborough have been declared Yorkshire and Humber Winners and are through to the finals to stake a claim as the most enterprising place in the UK. Thanks in part to one of the first internet computing degree courses being available at the Scarborough campus of the University of Hull, the local creative industries include a good selection of website design and development businesses.

Scarborough's recent investment in digital connectivity is significant. The town has the UK's first free Wi-Fi seafront and harbour area and one of Europe's fastest internet connections (100MB). These developments prompted the "Yorkshire Post" to comment on Scarborough's "ambitions to become the broadband capital of Europe". The Castle ward was for many years affected by significant unemployment which had, however, fallen to 7.68% [cite web|url =;jsessionid=ac1f930cce6afb7628a5d804212a432cb057020fa7b.e38Qa3mPbh4Kai0Ma3qOb3qQch0Ne6fznA5Pp7ftolbGmkTy?a=3&b=5943978&c=castle&d=14&e=16&g=476653&i=1001x1003x1004&m=0&enc=1&bhcp=1|title = Neighbourhood Statistics - Area: Castle (Ward)|accessdate = 2007-07-08|publisher = Office for National Statistics] at the time of the 2001 census.

Scarborough General Hospital is the local district general NHS hospital. It is run by the Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust, which is the largest employer in the area.


Dramatist Alan Ayckbourn is based in Scarborough where he has lived for a number of years. He has produced some sixty plays in Scarborough and is the artistic director of the famous Stephen Joseph Theatre, where almost all his plays receive their first performance. The town also plays host to the annual National Student Drama Festival, which takes place at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, the Spa Centre and other venues around the town. The Futurist Theatre is a theatre and cinema on the seafront of the South Bay.

The Grade II listed Scarborough Spa complex is home to the [ Scarborough Spa Orchestra] , the last remaining seaside orchestra in the UK. The orchestra gives 10 concerts every week during the summer months, playing music from an extensive repertoire of classical and light music with no programme repeats.

The area is also home to hundreds of "artists" working in a wide variety of media and boasts several galleries. The presence of the University of Hull's School of Arts and New Media in the town helps fuel the vibrant music and arts scene.

In recent years, arts, business and education have collaborated annually to produce Digital Scarborough – a celebration of the town's digital activities including a wide range of events from business networking to film showings and gigs with DJs and VJs.

The town is home to a significant jazz festival each September and in the summer boasts 'Beached Festival' – an eclectic rock and pop festival which takes place on the South Bay beach and features at least 50% local talent alongside internationally-known artists. In summer 2005, Scarborough played host to the Sonic Arts Network Expo featuring cutting-edge performances and installations.

'Acoustic Gathering', a free one day music festival, has been held annually in Peasholm Park since September 2006. This features over 20 bands and singer/songwriters from all parts of the UK including a number of local groups and musicians, all performing from the bandstand in the centre of the lake. [cite web
url =
title = Blast Arts 2006 - A musical treat!
accessdate = 2008-07-14
date = 16 September 2006
publisher = BBC North Yorkshire

These fairly recent developments, married to a long-established museum and visual arts facilities, hint at Scarborough's desire to re-invent itself as a creative and arts-based town. In 2006 work started on Wood End Museum — former home to the Sitwells — to convert it into a creative centre including workspace for artists and the digital cluster, plus an exhibition space. The town's Rotunda Museum has undergone a multi-million-pound redevelopment to become a national centre for geology. [cite web
url =
title = Rotunda Museum Redevelopment Begins
accessdate = 2008-03-31
date = 28 September 2006
publisher = Scarborough Borough Council
] 2006 also saw the formation of a creative industries network called 'Creative Coast' comprising artists, designers, writers and other creatives with the shared vision of a culturally vibrant economy on the North Yorkshire coast. [cite web
url =
title = Home - Creative Coast
publisher =
accessdate = 2008-10-08

Scarborough has a considerable graffiti culture, with as many as 20 'writers' currently active. There are two areas where graffiti art is legal in Scarborough, Sainsbury's basketball courts, and Falsgrave Park wall. Both have seen many collaborations and murals.

The films "Little Voice", [cite web
url =
title = Little Voice (1998) – Filming locations
publisher =
accessdate = 2008-10-08
] "Possession", and "A Chorus of Disapproval" [cite web
url =
title = A Chorus of Disapproval (1988) - Filming locations
publisher =
accessdate = 2008-10-08
] were filmed on location in Scarborough and the surrounding area. Other films that have filmed scenes in Scarborough include "Miranda" and "Beltenbros".

Scarborough is twinned with Osterode am Harz (Germany) and Cahir (Republic of Ireland).


The town has a small higher education institution, the University of Hull, Scarborough Campus, (formerly "North Riding College" and "University College Scarborough") and is home to Yorkshire Coast College and Scarborough Sixth Form College. The five main state secondary schools in Scarborough are Graham School Science College, Pindar School, Raincliffe School, Scalby School and St Augustine's Roman Catholic School, the last being rated as outstanding in a recent Ofsted report. There is currently a consultation process ongoing with staff, students and parents about the possibility of Graham School Science College and Raincliffe School forming a Federation under one Executive Headteacher. This would be the first such Federation in North Yorkshire.

Scarborough is also home to two private schools, Scarborough College (for ages 3 to 18 years) and Bramcote (ages 4 to 13 years). Scarborough College abolished A-levels and has been an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School since June 2006.

Education in Scarborough is notable for its commitment to the digital economy with 2006 seeing the formation of the University of Hull's School of Arts and New Media at the Scarborough Campus. Scarborough is one of the UK mainland's first wireless campuses. [cite web
url =
title = Scarborough Campus – A Wireless Campus
publisher = The University of Hull
accessdate = 2008-10-08
] The North Yorkshire Coast Area Learning Partnership (NYCALP) will be delivering the new Creative and Media Diploma for students aged 14–19 from September 2009, continuing the area's commitment to new technologies and the digital economy.

There is also a private international language school called "Anglolang", established in 1985, which teaches English to foreign students.


The Scarborough Amateur Rowing Club was founded in May 1869, and is the oldest surviving rowing club on the north-east coast. For more than 100 years, sea rowing has taken place on the Yorkshire coast between the Tees and the Humber. Beginning with friendly rivalry between the fishermen and the jet miners from Blyth (the German Ocean Race), the sport has progressed to what it is today. More recent successes for the club include Bob Hewitt, who now competes as a lightweight rower for the national team. In 2006 the club finally won the acclaimed Wilson Cup, until then held by rival clubs in neighbouring town Whitby for over eighty years. Rowing takes place throughout the summer months.

Scarborough is home to the Oliver's Mount racing circuit. This track is composed of twisty public roads and has played host to domestic motorcycling and rallying events for many years. Noted motorcycle racers who have raced at Oliver's Mount include Barry Sheene and Ron Haslam. The crowds for race events are known to have reached 58,000. Oliver's Mount Race circuit is the only 'pure roads' circuit in England. Throughout the year it hosts four weekends of motorcycle road racing and numerous hill climb challenges. With the Ian Watson Spring Road Races, Barry Sheen Classic Road Races, Cock 'o The North Road Races and The Gold Cup drawing Riders and spectators from all over the British Isles. The races are organised by the Auto 66 club who attract many big name riders from the current road racing scene including Guy Martin, Ryan Farquahar, Ian Louger, John McGuinness, Chris Palmer, William Dunlop and sidecar ace Nick Crowe amongst many other lesser known, but very skilled riders. The circuit itself is convert|2.43|mi|km in length and is not much more than a service road around Oliver's Mount. It is known as a technical and twisty track that requires a great deal of skill and bravery to tackle.

Scarborough Cricket Club, has won the ECB National Club Cricket Championship at Lord's on five occasions between 1972 and 1982, a record number of victories. The club also hosts the annual Scarborough Cricket Festival, and Yorkshire County Cricket Club uses North Marine Road, for a selection of home fixtures throughout the season.

The former Scarborough Football Club enjoyed a career in the Football League during the 1990s before being relegated to the Conference North in 2006 and to the Northern Premier League the following year. One of its greatest achievements was winning the FA Trophy at Wembley Stadium on three occasions. The club's best FA Cup performance was in January 2004 when matched against Chelsea in the 4th round. Chelsea narrowly won 1–0, with a John Terry header. Scarborough F.C. was wound up on 20 June 2007 with unpaid debts exceeding £2 million. [cite web
url =
title = Scarborough face winding-up order
publisher = BBC
work = BBC Sport Online
date = 7 April 2007
accessdate = 2008-10-08
] A new club, Scarborough Athletic was formed shortly afterwards. While the team is currently playing its home matches in neighbouring Bridlington, they hope to return to Scarborough in the near future.

In 2007, the town hosted the World Thundercat Championships (for inflatable powerboats), and similar events in 2008. Locally, Scarborough Rugby Union Club is moving to a new £4-million ground development on the outskirts of the town, and the nationally achieving Scarborough Gymnastics Academy has recently moved into a new specialist facility. Future redevelopment is proposed for Scarborough Sports Centre (a past venue for international tennis tournaments) and an indoor swimming pool on the opposite side of town.

Famous residents and ex-residents

*Dr. David Abrutat, Guinness World Records holder, as the first person to circumnavigate Britain (3369 miles), using a handcycle
*John Atkinson Grimshaw, artist
*Alan Ayckbourn, playwright
*Vincent Billington, international concert pianist, Radio 3
*Anne Brontë, writer, died on holiday in Scarborough
*Joy Brook, played WPC Kerry Holmes in "The Bill"
*Ian Carmichael, actor, attended Scarborough College
*Dr Henry Vandyke Carter, pathologist and illustrator of Gray's Anatomy
*Colin Challen, MP for Morley and Rothwell – born in Scarborough
*Liz Dawn, 'Vera Duckworth' in "Coronation Street" – had a holiday home in Scarborough
*Richard Dunn, former world heavyweight boxing title contender
*Roderick Deas, bass player with Showaddywaddy, was born in the town.
*Ben James-Ellis, contestant on BBC's "Any Dream Will Do" and "Link Larkin" in the West End Production of "Hairspray".
*Fred Feast, actor – formerly of "Coronation Street" (Fred Gee)
*Eric Fenby, 20th-century composer and amanuensis of Frederick Delius
*Jonathan Greening, footballer with Championship side West Bromwich Albion
*Frances Griffiths, one of the two girls involved in the Cottingley Fairies story, lived in the town, during the 1920s
*Edward James Harland, shipbuilding, co-founder of Harland and Wolff
*Malcolm Hebden, Norris Cole, in "Coronation Street"
*Tony Hewitt MBE, three times world motorcycle sidecar champion, alongside Steve Webster
*Susan Hill, author
*Robert Horwell, played Nick Neeson, in "Coronation Street"
*Peter Hough, founder of Scarborough Pottery
*Paul Ingle, former IBF featherweight boxing champion
*Elizabeth Kelly, actress, most notably in "EastEnders", resides in the town.
*Ben Kingsley, actor – born in Scarborough district, 1943
*Charles Laughton, actor and director
*Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton, painter and sculptor
*Little Angels, British rock group 1980s and 1990s
*Charles Henry Mackintosh, Plymouth Brethren evangelist and expositor lived in 1870s, 1880s
*James Martin (chef), attended Yorkshire Coast College
*Bill Nicholson, manager of Tottenham Hotspur when they completed the Football League First Division and FA Cup double in 1960–61
*Mary Nightingale, presenter of "ITV News"
*Wilfred Owen, World War I poet – convalesced in Scarborough
*Robert Palmer, singer
*Mark Richardson, musician in the rock band Feeder
*Joel Ross, one half of Virgin Radio duo JK and Joel
*Ann Louise Roswald, international fashion designer
*Sir Jimmy Savile, television and radio personality
*Oliver Sarony, Victorian era portrait photographer, brother of Napoleon Sarony
*The Sitwell family, literary circle
*William Smith, geologist and inspiration behind the Rotunda Museum, built in 1828
*Jon Snow, Channel 4 news presenter, attended Yorkshire Coast College
*J. Butler Stoney, Plymouth Brethren leader, died 1897
*Graham Taylor, writer of the "Shadowmancer" series
*Peter Taylor, former presenter of "Panorama"
*Paul Tonkinson, comedian
*Fred Trueman, celebrity Yorkshire County Cricket Club fast bowler, lived in the town for 17 years
*Craig White, Yorkshire cricketer, lives in the borough
*Ian Wilmut, embryologist, was educated at the former High School for Boys
*Michael Wilson (journalist), business editor for "Sky News"
*Penelope Wilton, actress, star of "Clockwise"

See also

*"The Scarborough Evening News"
*Scarborough railway station
*Soundwave Festival
*Scarborough Castle
*Scarborough Fair
*Beached Festival
*Scarborough North Bay Railway
*Raincliffe woods
*Opera House Casino


External links

* [ Official Website of Scarborough Borough]
* [ Scarborough Online Community Website - Including Attractions and Photos]
* [ A writer's resort (N.Y. Times)]

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