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Scarborough is a town on the North Seamarker coast of North Yorkshire, Englandmarker.

Scarborough won the 2008/2009 award for the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe. This is on top of winning the most enterprising town in Britain in 2008.

The modern town lies between 3 and 70 metres (10 and 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 stationmarker, with services from Yorkmarker, Leedsmarker, Manchestermarker and Liverpoolmarker on the North TransPennine route and from Hullmarker 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 Castlemarker 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,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 Parkmarker which in June 2007 was 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 Platemarker) re-enacted on the boating lake with large model boats and fireworks throughout the summer holiday season. The North Bay Railwaymarker is a miniature railway which runs from the park to the Sea Life Centre at Scalby Mills. Until it's closure in 2000, Marvels Amusement park sat on the hill behind Atlantis and could be reached by one of two cable cars (the pylons for these are still standing). It is now derelict with the rollercoaster and other rides having been relocated to other parks.

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 Castlemarker, 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 Spamarker 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 Diskmarker" anywhere in the UK. It is 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.

The South Bay at Scarborough
The South Bay at Scarborough
The North Bay at Scarborough
Spa Bridge (footbridge), Scarborough
The "Belle" at Scarborough Lighthouse 2007
World War I recruitment poster depicting the effects of the German bombardment of Scarborough in 1915
To the south-west of the town, beside the York to Scarborough railway line, is an ornamental lake known as Scarborough Meremarker. 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.


Early history

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 burgess.

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.

Middle Ages and beyond

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 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, 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 Spamarker, 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. To this day Scarborough railway station holds the record for the longest seat in any railway station in the world.

This influx of visitors convinced a young architect (John Gibson) with an eye to the future to open Scarborough's first purpose-built hotelmarker. 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 Hotelmarker 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 Germanmarker warships of the High Seas Fleet, an act which shocked the British (see Raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby).

Modern Scarborough

In June 1993 Scarborough made headlines around the world when a landslip caused part of the Holbeck Hall Hotelmarker, 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.

Inhabitants of the town are generally referred to as Scarborians. Natives of Whitbymarker, 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 lifeboat crews of several neighbouring towns, (Whitby, Robin Hood's Baymarker, etc.), responded while the Scarborough lifeboat did not, and so as a constant reminder they are referred to as 'Algerinos' and Scarborough 'Algerinoland'.

Geography and climate

The climate is temperate with warm summers and cool, wet winters. The hottest months of the year, and the best time for hitting the beach, are from June to September, with temperatures reaching an average high of 19°C (66°F) and 11°C (52°F) at night. The average daytime temperature in winter is 9°C (48°F) and 5°C (41°F) at night.


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 Grandmarker, Scarborough's biggest hotel, which overlooks the South Bay.

In early 2009, a Travelodge opened on St Nicholas Cliff, in close proximity to the Town Centre and busy 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 pedestrianised shopping street and the Brunswick shopping centremarker, boutique stores can be found on Bar Street and St Thomas Street. The town also has an indoor market with a large range of antique shops and independent traders in its vaults, and a smaller market on the South Bay.

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.

Creative industries

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 were also a major focus of Scarborough's winning entry in the 2008 Enterprising Britain competition with a representative from Woodend Creative Workspace and scarborough-based Electric Angel Design representing the town in the Yorkshire and Humber regional heats. In the finals in London on 16 October 2008 Scarborough won the title of Britain's Most Enterprising Town, and subsequently went on to win the European Enterprise Awards as Great Britain's representative, on 13 May 2009 in Praguemarker.

A network representing and supporting the creative industries - Creative Coast - was formed in 2006 as a grass roots organisation. The network is comprised of desginers, writers, artists, film-makers, web-developers and other creatives who live and work on the North Yorkshire Coast.

Digital connectivity

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% at the time of the 2001 census. However, seasonal poverty is still an issue for many residents.


Scarborough General Hospital is the local district general NHS hospital. It is run by the Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust, which provides a range of acute hospital services for around 240,000 people living in and around Scarborough, Bridlington, Whitby and Ryedale. It is also the largest employer in the area employing over 2,400 staff.

Scarborough has a 24 Hour A+E Department, situated on the main hospital campus. GUM services are provided at Northway Clinic close to the Town Centre, and a regular bus service runs to the main hospital campus.


Scarborough has four major roads serving the town and surrounding areas.
  • A64 - Main road that terminates in the town centre, linking Scarborough with Maltonmarker, Yorkmarker, Leedsmarker, the A19 and the A1marker. This is the main tourist route to the town.
  • A165 - This is the coastal route that links the town with Fileymarker, Bridlingtonmarker and Hullmarker. 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 Moorsmarker and Thirskmarker to the west.
  • A171 - This is the coastal route to the north that links the town with Whitbymarker and Middlesbroughmarker.

Scarborough railway stationmarker is close to the town centre and runs services from Yorkmarker, Leedsmarker, Manchestermarker and Liverpoolmarker on the North TransPennine route and from Hullmarker on the Yorkshire Coast Line. In the Summer, services also run from Londonmarker. It has the longest station seat in the world at 152 yards (139 m) in length.

Scarborough has 25 main bus routes, operated by Scarborough and District, Arriva North East and Yorkshire Coastliner. These link the town centre with its suburbs and local towns, Yorkmarker, Hullmarker, Middlesbroughmarker and the North York Moorsmarker.The town is served by two Park and Ride services, 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 Universitymarker. 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 Hullmarker 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 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 Theatremarker, 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 Theatremarker is a theatre and cinema on the seafront, of the South Bay.


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.

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 Museummarker has undergone a multi-million-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.


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. It became famous during the 1950s and 1960s when concerts from the Palm Court in Scarborough were frequently featured on BBC radio, conducted by Max Jaffa. Former conductors include the composer of the waltz 'Nights of Gladness', Charles Ancliffe.

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 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.

The indie band One Night Only recorded their video for the song "Just for Tonight", on Scarborough's South Bay with the amusement arcades appearing throughout.


Seafest is an annual festival which takes place at West Pier and around the harbour area in July. It celebrates the regions connection to fishing and hosts the regions biggest gathering of folk singers, shantymen and musicians. So far the programme has included the cream of the folk song , maritime and shanty world in the United Kingdom. It has also drawn artists from other nations including Senegal, Sicily, Canada, Éire, Luxembourg, Germany, Holland, Britanny and the USA.

The festival is based around Scarboroughs West Pier and North Wharf where you will find a maritime themed exhibition, The Cropton Brewery Real Ale Bar and Children's Entertainment and our festival main stage. In addition there is the well known ‘Sea Fish Cookery’ marquee where visiting chefs demonstrate the art of sea - food preparation.

Digital Scarborough

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.

Further arts

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, Possession, and A Chorus of Disapproval were filmed on location in Scarborough and the surrounding area. Other films that have filmed scenes in Scarborough include Miranda, Beltenbros, The Brides in the Bath and The Damned United.

Innovative events are continually added to the Scarborough calendar, including in February 2009, when 'Coastival' a musical arts extravaganza was launched.

Town twinning

Scarborough is twinned with:


The town has a small higher education institution, the University of Hull, Scarborough Campusmarker, (formerly North Riding College and University College Scarborough) and is home to Yorkshire Coast College and Scarborough Sixth Form Collegemarker. The five main state secondary schools in Scarborough are Graham School Specialist Science & Arts College, Pindar Schoolmarker, Raincliffe Schoolmarker, Scalby Schoolmarker 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.

Private education

Scarborough is also home to two private schools, Scarborough Collegemarker (for ages 3 to 18 years) and Bramcote (ages 4 to 13 years). Bramcote faced closure in 2009 despite releasing equity by mortgaging the four acre site. Scarborough College abolished A-levels and has been an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School since June 2006.

There is also a private international language school called Anglolang, established in 1985, which teaches the English language to overseas students, companies, educational institutions, organised groups and individuals.

Digital innovation

An old seafront police box
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.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.


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 Teesmarker and the Humbermarker. Beginning with friendly rivalry between the fishermen and the jet miners from Blythmarker (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 Whitbymarker for over eighty years. Rowing takes place throughout the summer months.

The Blue Riband event for Scarborough Yacht Club, is the annual 210 nautical mile race, from the town, to IJmuidenmarker in the Netherlandsmarker.

Scarborough is home to the Oliver's Mountmarker 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 racing 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 Sheene 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 Farquhar, 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 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 won the ECB National Club Cricket Championship at Lord'smarker 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 Roadmarker, for a selection of home fixtures throughout the season. The club competes in the Yorkshire ECB County Premier League, in which as the Yorkshire League, the club enjoyed great success.

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 Stadiummarker 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.A new club, Scarborough Athletic, was formed shortly afterwards. While the team is currently playing its home matches in neighbouring Bridlingtonmarker, 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. Scarborough Rugby Union Football Club moved to a new £4-million ground development on the outskirts of the town in January 2009, which will also be home to Scarborough Athletic Club, and the nationally achieving Scarborough Gymnastics Academy has a highly developed, specialist facility. Future redevelopment is proposed for Scarborough Sports Centre (a past venue for international tennis tournaments). Scarborough Indoor Bowls Centre is utilized for a variety of events, throughout the year.

The town has two principal golf courses, North Cliff and South Cliff, plus some smaller ventures. Ganton Golf Clubmarker, which has hosted tournaments such as the Ryder Cup and Walker Cup, is situated approximately 8 miles to the west of Scarborough.

Pindar Schoolmarker, which is based at Eastfieldmarker, is a Sports Community College, and thus is home to Scarborough Pirates ARLFC, Scarborough Seahawks Basketball and Scarborough Hockey Club, the centre also boasts a state-of-the-art tennis facility. Scarborough Table Tennis Centre is located at Graham School.

A national martial arts organisation, The Empire Martial Arts Association, is based in Scarborough.

Famous residents and ex-residents

See also


  1. Does not show Scarborough timeline as previous title of reference indicated. Not a reliable source.
  2. Charity number: 529739.


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