Doorstep History . . .
|On 11 May '98 the Scarborough Evening News announced that a
research team from Cambridge University had uncovered evidence of an advanced community of stone age hunters at Starr Carr about 8 miles from Scarborough between Seamer and Flixton. This community is believed to be more advanced than anything else in Europe at the time and has drawn comparisons with Jericho and the Middle east – traditionally thought of as the cradle of civilisation. At this time Britain was still joined to Europe - the land to the East was mostly marsh.
|Excavations in the area of the Castle Rock headland in the 1920's found Bronze Age relics.|
|The Romans built a series of signal stations along the East Coast so that fires could be lit in the event of an invasion from the North Sea. These beacons were built at Ravenscar, Scarborough (on Castle Rock) and Filey Brigg. The Scarborough site was abandoned around AD400.|
|650||Around AD650 the present day Yorkshire area was occupied by both Picts (ancient people of Northern England) and Saxons (Germanic in origin). In AD655 King Oswy of Northumbria defeated the Picts and then ruled the East Coast from Aberdeen down to the Wash. Around AD790 the Danes began attacking Northumbria and by AD880 they had occupied much of Northern England including York which they made their capital. A Danish prince called Thorgil was nicknamed 'Scarthi' which means 'hare lip'. The settlement established in AD966 took its name from "Scarthi's Burgh" or Scarthi's stronghold – hence Scarborough.|
|1066||Earl Tosti (the younger brother of King Harold) and Hardrada (King of Norway) attacked and completely destroyed Scarborough by setting fire to tree trunks and rolling them down the Castle Rock into the town below.|
|1136||William le Gros, Earl of Albermarle, built the first Scarborough castle.
|1150||St Mary's Church built overlooking the Old Town – it had a single aisle. Holy Sepulchre Church was built at about this time on roughly the same site as the existing Quaker Meeting House. A triangular site bordered by St Sepulchre Street, Cooks Row (known then as Burgwellgate) and Springfield has been excavated by the Scarborough Archeological Society in recent years.|
|King Henry II strengthened the castle by adding the large tower and a keep.|
|1180||St Mary's enlarged by addition of west front, towers, north and south aisles.|
|1200||Dominican friars founded a house known as Friargate – a street the same name is found north of St Sepulchre Street. The present day Queen Street was then known as Black Friar's Gate.|
|1450 – 1484||St Mary's enlarged by addition of perpendicular aisles and choir.|
|King Richard III is reputed to have lived in a house on the foreshore during the summer of 1484 – though it is more likely he stayed in the castle. The house that now exists must be only a part of a much bigger mansion – and is now a restaurant.
|1480 – 1550||During the reign of the 'boy king' Edward VI from 1547 – 1553 a market was held in Princess Street. The remains of the Butter Cross (now in Princess Square, opposite the Leeds Hotel pub) dates from this time. This was originally a stone cross beside which proclamations were read.|
|1600||The timbered house at 2 Quay Street dates from about 1600 – it was renovated in 1965. The Three Mariners Inn (now a museum) at 47 Quay Street boasts the title as the earliest licensed premises in Scarborough. The building dates from the 1300's although the Quay Street facade is more likely to be around late 1600's
|1620||Elizabeth Farrer discovered a mineral spring flowing into the sea. Within twenty years the fame of the Spa had spread and rich people came from far and wide to benefit from the waters.|
|1640's||During the Civil War, Olivers Mount, the hill which overlooks the South Bay of the town, is said to have been used by Oliver Cromwell to bombard the Castle – though there is no evidence this is true. St Mary's Church was certainly used for this purpose – return fire destroyed the choir and the north transcept and their ruins can still be seen today. The steeple and bells were so weakened at this time they collapsed in 1659.|
|1730's||By 1732 the harbour pier had been extended to 1,200 feet. By this time visitors had started to come to Scarborough to drink the mineral water from the Spa and also to bathe in the sea for therapeutic reasons. In 1737 the mineral water spring was lost due to subsidence but rediscovered in 1738.
|The first Wesleyan Methodist Church was built in Church Stairs Street - today the lower half of this street is called St Mary's Street but the other half is still called Church Stairs Steps where a plaque states 'John Wesley preached 14 times in a chapel on this site 1759 – 1790.'|
|late 1700's||Some of the best examples of architecture from this time can be seen today in Princess Street and Castlegate. 'Interludes' dates from 1760 – 1785 and is now a grade II listed building.
The Theatre Royal stood in Tanner Street (now called St Thomas Street) and playbills have been found from as early as 1793.
|The Spa suffered serious storm damage in 1808, 1825 and 1836. In 1856
Sir Joseph Paxton surveyed the Spa and work started immediately to transform the building according to his plans.
The New Spa Hall was opened in 1858 but the Grand Hall was gutted by fire in 1876.
Work on the present Spa building was started in 1877 with design by Thomas Verity & Hunt of London.
|The York to Scarborough railway was officially opened on 7th July 1845 by a train consisting of 35 carriages (all first class). The journey took three and a half hours. Day trippers had arrived !
On May 24th 1849 Anne and Charlotte Bronte left their home on Haworth for a holiday in Scarborough. They stayed in the cottages which stood on the site of the present Grand Hotel. Anne was already seriously ill with consumption and died on 28th. She is buried in St Mary's churchyard
|The Victorian Era saw the opening of many of the landmarks familiar to today's visitors:-
The increasing affluence of the Scarborough, particularly in the South Bay, is typified by the building of 17 houses on Crown Crescent in 1850
|early 1900's||In 1911 Scarborough Council bought land known as 'Tuckers Field'. Using local unemployed labourers, plus the inspired imagination of the Borough Surveyor Harry Smith, Peasholm Park was created in the style of a Japanese garden. Smith also created the Italian Garden in the South Bay.
On 10th October 1940 a lone German bomber dropped a land mine on Potter Lane (now Castle Terrace) in the Old Town. Four people died and over 500 houses damaged – most of which were demolished and new houses built.