Trail: Scarborough - Tour The Town

Add a bit of history to your time in Scarborough and use our archive images to peep into the past and see what some parts of the town looked like in years gone by.

(Always be careful of your surroundings when using the app)

A Beach Ready For Bathers

This view across South Bay is possibly one of the most iconic vistas of Scarborough.  It certainly was in 1900, when this archive image was taken, and it remains so to this day.

The Grand Hotel can be seen on the left and perhaps the most noticeable difference in the historic image are the wooden carts on the beach, known as ‘bathing machines’.  These would have been a common sight from the 18th century and lasted until the early 20th century.  They were used as portable changing rooms which were rolled out into the sea to allow the bathers to wade into the water gracefully.  How times have changed!

That’s the end of the trail!  Why not visit the Scarborough Library to find out more about the the town?  Re-trace steps back across the bridge and past The Grand Hotel.  Turn left, then right at the roundabout.  The library is just up the road and on your right.

Priceless Views

In front of you, and in our archive image of 1900, is Spa Bridge.  It opened on 19th July 1827 to great fanfare as a coach & horses galloped across the valley at full speed to mark the bridge’s opening.

Notice the buildings at the head of the bridge in our historic image.  This was a toll booth, controlling access to the bridge, Spa, and its spectacular views, all of which were so popular that you needed to buy a season ticket.  Nowadays you can cross the bridge for a bargain price of nothing at all!

Civic Centre

The town of Scarborough dates all the way back to 1163, when King Henry II founded a Royal Borough here.  This building has been in use as the town hall since 1903, but before that the site had been occupied by the house of John Woodall, who offered the land to the Corporation following the death of his father in 1879. This archive image was taken in 1905, just two years after the town hall opened, and the monument to Queen Victoria in its gardens remains the only statue in the town that depicts a public figure!

On The Tramlines

Still on Westborough, with the Brunswick Shopping Centre to the right, it’s plain to see from our archive image of 1900 that this area once bustled with trams, which have since given way to pedestrianisation.  Notice also the tower of the Bar Congregational Church on the left side of the street.  This opened in 1850 but was closed in 1962.

Running On Time

(Our trail begins on the corner of West Square, opposite the railway station car park (with arched entrance).  Use ‘View on map’ from the trail’s homepage to reach point ‘1’ and the start of the trail).

Here on Westborough, looking towards the town centre, the railway station with its impressive clock tower, has remained virtually unchanged over the years owing to its Grade II listed status.  For its opening on 7th July 1845, around 10-15,000 spectators greeted the first train on its arrival from York at 1:35pm.  This archive image shows the street scene in 1920.  The railings have since been removed, presumably to help the flow of traffic around the present day taxi rank.