For a significant portion of my formative years, I lived by the seaside – a place that, for those who have had the privilege of growing up there, constantly beckons. However, I must admit to being unfamiliar with many of our beloved seaside resorts, a lapse I intend to rectify with time.
Back in the eighties, I had the good fortune of befriending someone at university who grew up in Scarborough, the jewel of North Yorkshire’s coast. This connection ushered in several visits to the charming town in subsequent years. It was therefore a delight to rekindle those memories with a return to the terraces of the Scarborough Cricket Festival – a place we had frequented some thirty years ago.
Very little seems to have changed. This state of inertia might be Scarborough’s double-edged sword, a narrative shared by nearly every traditional English seaside resort. I noticed many guesthouses sporting the same signage that adorned them in the eighties – a signage that wasn’t even new back then. These signs serve as a paradise for enthusiasts of period fonts. Although the town centre does now showcase the expected modern names on its storefronts, these are far from the independent, slightly pretentious names found in the chic, upmarket resorts scattered along the Suffolk or Norfolk coasts.
Despite this, Scarborough’s grandeur remains undeniable, successfully evading the neglect that clouds places like Clacton. Both the residents and the council maintain a discernible pride in the town, maintaining a sparkle with devotion. I hope this spirit continues to flourish.
The Grand Hotel in Scarborough was designed by “the most mysterious of High Victorian architects”, Cuthbert Brodrick. He was, briefly, the most celebrated architect in Britain and designed “three tours de force that are the finest secular buildings of their age.” There’s a documentary on Brodrick by Jonathan Meades which is a wonderful example of a wonderful TV presenter’s work: