Scarborough, North Yorkshire facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsScarborough
Scarborough in September 2012
|OS grid reference|
|• London||190 mi (310 km) S|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||YO11 – YO13|
|EU Parliament||Yorkshire and the Humber|
Scarborough is a town on the North Sea coast of North Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the North Riding of Yorkshire, the town lies between 10–230 feet (3–70 m) 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.
With a population of just over 61,000, Scarborough is the largest holiday resort on the Yorkshire coast. The town has fishing and service industries, including a growing digital and creative economy, as well as being a tourist destination. Inhabitants of the town are known as Scarborians.
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 seafront into two bays, to the north and south.
The South Bay was the site of the original early-medieval settlement and harbour, which form the old town. This remains the main tourist area, with a sandy beach, cafés, amusements, arcades, theatres and entertainment facilities. The modern commercial town centre has migrated 440 yards (400 m) north-west of the harbour area and 100 feet (30 m) above it and contains the transport hubs, main services, shopping and nightlife. The harbour has undergone major regeneration including the new Albert Strange Pontoons, 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 in June 2007 was restored to its Japanese-themed glory, complete with reconstructed pagoda. For many years a mock maritime battle (based on the Battle of the River Plate) has been regularly 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 running from the park through Northstead Manor Gardens to the Sea Life Centre at Scalby Mills. The North Bay Railway has what is believed to be the oldest operational diesel-hydraulic locomotive in the world. Neptune was built in 1931 by Hudswell Clarke of Leeds and is conveniently numbered 1931.
Northstead Manor Gardens include the North Bay Railway and three other attractions: a water chute, a boating lake with boats for hire during the summer season and an open-air theatre. The Lord Mayor of London opened the theatre in 1932 and audiences flocked to see Merrie England, the first production to be staged at the outdoor venue. Productions were put on during the summer seasons until musicals ceased in 1968 after West Side Story apart from a YMCA production in 1982. In 1997 the dressing rooms and stage set building on the island were demolished and the seating removed. The last concert to be held at the open-air theatre before it closed in 1986 was James Last and his orchestra. Scarborough's open-air theatre was reopened on Friday 23 July 2010 by Queen Elizabeth II with an operatic concert starring José Carreras and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, accompanied by the Opera North Orchestra, concluding with a firework display.
North Bay and South Bay are linked by 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.
The South Cliff Promenade above the Spa and South Cliff Gardens has excellent views of the South Bay and old town. Its splendid Regency and Victorian terraces are still intact, with a mix of quality hotels and flats. The ITV television drama The Royal and its recent spin-off series, The Royal Today were both filmed in the area. The South Bay has the largest illuminated 'star disk' anywhere in the UK. It is 85 feet (26 m) across and fitted with subterranean lights representing the 42 brightest stars and major constellations that can be seen from Scarborough in the northern skies.
The "Belle" at Scarborough Lighthouse 2007
To the south-west of the town, beside the York to Scarborough railway line, is an ornamental lake known as Scarborough Mere. In 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 Mere has been redesigned as a natural space for picnics, fishing and walkers. In 2012 a new snack bar was built alongside the Mere. The lake is now part of the Oliver's Mount Country Park and the Hispaniola now sails out of Scarborough harbour during the summer season.
|Whitby, Robin Hood's Bay||North Sea||North Sea|
The town was reportedly founded around 966 AD as Skarðaborg by Thorgils Skarthi, a Viking raider, though there is no archaeological evidence to support these claims, made during the 1960s, as part of a pageant of Scarborough events. The origin of this belief is a fragment of an Icelandic Saga. 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 any 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. The original inland village of Falsgrave was also Saxon rather than Viking.
Feudal and medieval
Scarborough recovered under King Henry II, who built an Angevin stone castle on the headland and granted the town charters in 1155 and 1163, permitting a market on the sands and establishing rule by burgesses. Edward II granted Scarborough Castle to his favourite, Piers Gaveston. The castle was subsequently besieged by forces led by the barons Percy, Warenne, Clifford and Pembroke. Gaveston was captured and taken to Oxford and thence to Warwick Castle 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 13th 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, 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. It was a popular getaway destination for the wealthy of London, such as the bookseller Andrew Millar and his family. Their son Andrew junior died there in 1750.
The coming of the Scarborough–York railway in 1845 increased the tide of visitors. Scarborough railway station claims a record for the world's longest platform seat. From the 1880s until the First World War, Scarborough was one of the regular destinations for The Bass Excursions, when fifteen trains would take between 8,000 and 9,000 employees of Bass's Burton brewery on an annual trip to the seaside.
A young Malton architect, John Gibson, designed the Crown Spa Hotel, 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 before passing 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 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. She was buried in the graveyard of St Mary's Church by the castle.
The town has a fine Anglican church, St Martin-on-the-Hill, built in 1862–63 as the parish church of South Cliff. It contains works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and Ford Madox Brown.
During the First World War, 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 1929 the steam drifter Ascendent caught a 560-pound (250 kg) tunny (Atlantic bluefin tuna) and a Scarborough showman awarded the crew 50 shillings so he could exhibit it as a tourist attraction. Big-game tunny fishing off Scarborough effectively started in 1930 when Lorenzo "Lawrie" Mitchell–Henry, landed a tunny caught on rod and line weighing 560 pounds (250 kg). A gentlemen's club, the British Tunny Club, was founded in 1933 and set up its headquarters in the town at the place which is now a restaurant with the same name. Scarborough became a resort for high society. A women's world tuna challenge cup was held for many years.
Colonel (and, later, Sir) Edward Peel landed a world-record tunny of 798 pounds (362 kg), capturing the record by 40 pounds (18.1 kg) from one caught off Nova Scotia by American champion Zane Grey. The British record which still stands is for a fish weighing 851 pounds (386 kg) caught off Scarborough in 1933 by Laurie Mitchell-Henry.
On 5 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.
The climate is temperate with mild summers and cool, windy, winters. The hottest months of the year are July and August, with temperatures reaching an average high of 17 °C and falling to 11 °C at night. The average daytime temperatures in January are 4 °C, falling to 1 °C at night. The station's elevation of 110 metres (360 ft) is far above sea level compared to the immediate coastline, where the climate is likely slightly milder year round.
|Climate data for Scarborough|
|Record high °C (°F)||15.0
|Average high °C (°F)||6.4
|Average low °C (°F)||1.7
|Record low °C (°F)||-8.0
|Precipitation mm (inches)||57.3
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)||12.2||10.5||10.4||9.2||8.6||10.1||9.5||9.5||9.3||11.0||12.4||12.5||125.2|
|Source #1: Met Office|
|Source #2: Voodoo Skies (extreme temperatures)|
The population of the town (comprising Castle, Central, Eastfield, Falsgrave Park, Newby, North Bay, Northstead, Ramshill, Stepney, Weaponness and Woodlands wards) is just over 60,000. Scarborough is at the heart of an urban area of just under 100,000 residents, and the rest of the Borough of Scarborough has well over that figure; during the peak season, tourism can double the population. 7.5% of the population are aged over 60, compared with an average of 20.9% nationally. Only 21.9% of the population are aged between 20 and 39, compared to 28.1% nationally.
Scarborough has four major roads serving the town; these also link it to other major towns and cities.
- A64 – Main road that terminates in the town centre, linking Scarborough with Malton, York, Leeds, the A19 and the A1(M). This is the main tourist route to the town and is Dual Carriageway standard for some of its route (between the A1(M) and Malton).
- A165 – This is the coastal route that links the town with Filey, Bridlington and Hull. In 2008, a new road was opened to bypass Osgodby to the south of Scarborough. This now forms part of the A165.
- A170 – This links Scarborough to the North York Moors and Thirsk to the west.
- A171 – This is the coastal route to the north that links the town with Whitby and Middlesbrough.
Scarborough railway station is close to the town centre and runs services from York, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool on the North TransPennine Express route and from Hull on the Yorkshire Coast Line. It has the longest station seat in the world at 152 yards (139 m) in length. The town used to be connected to Whitby via the Scarborough and Whitby Railway along the Yorkshire coast, however this was closed down in 1965 due to the Beeching cuts. There is also a railway station in the suburb of Crossgates.
Scarborough has 25 main bus routes, operated by Scarborough and District, Arriva North East, Shoreline Suncruisers, and Yorkshire Coastliner. These link the town centre with its suburbs and local towns and cities such as Leeds, York, Hull, Middlesbrough and the North York Moors. The town is also served by two Park and Ride services, with its locations located on the A64 and A165. Buses run from each terminus to the town centre and South Bay at least every 12 minutes seven days a week, with stopping points around the town centre. Buses from the Filey Road terminus on the A165 also stop at the University. Open top tourist buses also run along the sea front and Marine Drive, linking the South and North bays.
Although the town has no ferry services, there are transport links to Hull which runs frequent services to northern Europe.
Scarborough has a wide cultural scene, spread across the town and seafront. It draws people not only from around the country, but from across the world.
Dramatist Alan Ayckbourn has lived in Scarborough for many years. He has produced seventy-five plays in Scarborough and was the artistic director of the famous Stephen Joseph Theatre, where almost all his plays receive their first performance. Chris Monks took over as artistic director in 2009. The town also hosts the annual National Student Drama Festival at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, the Spa Centre and other venues. The Open Air Theatre, seating 6,500, has been recently restored and was officially opened by The Queen on 20 May 2010. The YMCA Theatre is an amateur theatre seating 290. It is very well equipped and hosts some 35 productions a year, including musicals and dance shows.
As of 2014[update], Scarborough has two cinemas, the Hollywood Plaza and the Stephen Joseph Theatre.
A third, the Futurist Theatre, closed in January 2014 when the operator's lease expired.
Creative arts and museums
Scarborough has a long-established museum and visual-arts facilities. Wood End, the former home of The Sitwells, was converted into the Woodend museum, a creative centre including workspace for artists and the digital cluster, plus an exhibition space. The Rotunda Museum underwent a multimillion-pound redevelopment to become a national centre for geology. 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.
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 / all-weather pitch and Falsgrave Park wall. Both have seen many collaborations and murals.
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 ten concerts every week during the summer months, playing music from an extensive repertoire of classical and light music with no programme repeats.
The globally successful pop / soul singer Robert Palmer spent his teenage years in Scarborough, attending Scarborough Boys' High School.
In November 1987 the town was chosen as the venue for the first-ever Eurovision fan club convention. Members of the then fan club, Europa-UK, gathered in the Palm Court Hotel for the first such event to be held in the UK.
During the late 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, Scarborough band Little Angels were one of the most well-known hard rock bands in the UK. Their third and final studio album, Jam, peaked at #1 on the UK charts in 1992.
The town is home to the annual Scarborough Jazz Festival which takes place each September at The Spa Complex, and features internationally renowned musicians. Between 2001 and 2008 an eclectic rock and pop festival known as 'Beached' took place on the sands of South Bay. In summer 2005, Scarborough played host to the Sonic Arts Network Expo.
'Acoustic Gathering', a free one-day music festival, has been held annually in Peasholm Park since September 2005. 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. Singer-songwriter Ashley Hicklin grew up in Scarborough and recorded a music video for the song "All The Time in the World" at Scarborough's Spa Complex and in the amusement arcades. The town was the main influence behind Alternative Rock band Everyone An Army's second EP "A Coastal Dance on the Grave of Romance" who were born and raised there.
Seafest is an annual festival which takes place at West Pier and around the harbour area in July/ It celebrates the region's fishing history and hosts a large gathering of folk singers, shantymen and musicians, drawing artists from all over the U.K. and from other nations including Senegal, Sicily, Canada, Éire, Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands, Brittany and the USA. In addition there are children's entertainments and a 'Sea Fish Cookery' marquee where visiting chefs demonstrate seafood preparation.
Heroes Welcome UK
Heroes Welcome is a movement which originated in and is administered from Scarborough to encourage communities to demonstrate support to members of the armed forces. In 2008 a hand-drawn poster stating "Heroes Welcome Here" was displayed in a Scarborough seafront restaurant. From this gesture has evolved a national network of towns, cities and counties. Businesses are invited to display a sticker extending a special welcome to service personnel. Member communities are located as far north as the Oykle Valley in the Scottish Highlands to as far south as the Falkland Islands. The Rock of Gibraltar joined in February 2013.
Location for filming
The films Little Voice, Possession, and A Chorus of Disapproval were filmed on location in Scarborough and surrounds. Also filmed in the district were scenes from Miranda, Dancing Queen, Beltenbros, The Brides in the Bath and The Damned United. Television series filmed in the area include Heartbeat, its spin-off series The Royal, CBBC's All At Sea , BBC1's Rosie, and scenes from the second series of Five Days. The 2015 series of The Syndicate starring Anthony Andrews, Melanie Hill and Lenny Henry also filmed scenes in Scarborough.
Scarborough is twinned with:
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