An Update And An Appeal

A message from Sarah – the artist/author behind Stories From Scarborough

As some of you might know, earlier last year I moved to Scarborough to develop Stories From Scarborough – this project was part of a residency at Crescent Arts (also in Scarborough) which has now, sadly come to an end.

However, this does not mean that Stories From Scarborough has come to an end.

I still have some bits and pieces of research to sort through, and I’ve recently been contacted by new readers, with new information and pictures. There is also much more I’d like to accomplish with the archive in the months (and years?) to come. Nonetheless, given that I now live over 100 miles from Scarborough (as of January 2015), it is much more difficult for me to access local history resources.

Now I’m relying more on you, the readers, to help me out if you can. Take a look at the website, the image archive, check out the stories and pictures – do they bring up any memories? No memory is too vague, too mundane or irrelevant. Every little piece of information helps. Likewise with photographs – any pictures, news clippings or souvenirs might help.  A massive thank you to all the people who have so far contributed photographs, stories, information and comments – Stories From Scarborough would not be possible without all those who have generously supported it.

One attraction I need more information on is the Tree Walk Wonderland, so any leads on that would be hugely appreciated.

Finally, what can you expect from Stories From Scarborough? Updates will be less frequent than they were in 2014, and there will be no posts or email responses from me during February/March as I’ll have little or no internet access during those months due to another project taking place.

However, I will be posting new stories and pictures as they are sent to me (so please do send things, even in February/March – just don’t worry if I don’t respond straight away) and hope to visit Scarborough again later in the year to do some more research if I can. I also want to reorganise the site a bit, make it easier to navigate and more up-to-date.

Finally, for those on Facebook, please check out these two sites :

Past Parks

Scarborough Ghost Signs

I’m always keen to hear from other people researching Scarborough (or other history relevant to the attractions on the site) – so please do get in touch if you run a local history page or project and would like to share links, information or pictures.

Finally, sharing Stories From Scarborough is the best way you can help – the more visitors the site receives, the more likely it is that new information and pictures will be revealed.

Thank You!

 

Stories From Scarborough: So Far

Stories From Scarborough will soon be four months old. A great deal has happened during that time, including:

 

26 posts about former Scarborough attractions, with stories ranging from pirates and great crested newts, to fugitive seals and a Viking house.

A Facebook page about the project

Mentions/retweets on Twitter

Features in the Yorkshire Times, High Tide Magazine, Scarborough Evening News and Scarborough Review

Emails from readers contributing memories

Construction of artworks including a chairlift sculpture, childhood costume and much more

 

The visitor statistics also reveal some interesting trends:

 

Most Popular Attractions

1) Marvel’s

2) Kinderland

3) Atlantis

Thoughts: It makes sense that the earliest posts are the most popular, given that they’ve simply been online longer. However, these three are also the most recent of the selected attractions, which perhaps reflects a younger audience, i.e. those more likely to access social media and websites such as this.

 

Most Searched For

1) Kinderland

2) North Bay Bathing Pool

= 3) Water Chute

= 3) Hispaniola

Thoughts: Interesting to note that Marvel’s didn’t make the top three, nor did Atlantis. There is very little information or pictures relating to Kinderland online, which is perhaps why it is a popular search choice. For many of the selected attractions there are few comprehensive resources online (although no doubt there are books, articles or other researchers out there), so hopefully Stories From Scarborough can provide some answers for curious Google-ers.

 

Referrers

1) Search engines

2) Facebook

3) Twitter

Thoughts: Once again, few surprises here. The project is selective, therefore it makes sense that those who visit are most likely to be seeking out the specific information it contains. Social media has provided an excellent way to showcase the project, and will continue to be a key part of sharing new developments.

 

So, to summarise:

 

Pros

The site is getting lots of visits, and it seems that those who visit, read widely (i.e. visit different pages). It has rapidly climbed the Google search results and appears in lots of image searches, even those with only a tenuous link to Scarborough. Several people have got in touch with stories, and all feedback so far has been positive (although criticism is equally welcome).

Cons

Readers seem reluctant to comment on the posts, which would be greatly enriched by the contribution of memories/opinions etc. There have been multiple shares and likes on Facebook and Twitter, but conversations and comments would be even better. However, given the organic nature of the project, it is impossible to predict how and to what extent people will want to engage with it.

Indeed, Stories From Scarborough could develop in any number of directions – new attractions could (and already have) been incorporated at the request of readers; performances and artworks could be made collaboratively with individuals and organisations; the planned exhibition could take place in an unconventional space. It could be a small project or a large one. A short one or a long term one.

Not knowing is kind of exciting. One thing is certain, however – there are some exciting new posts in the pipeline, and plenty of plans for the future.

Current/Future Plans

1) Successfully relocate to Scarborough (due to the move Stories From Scarborough may be relatively quiet until July)

2) Showcase the project at the 2014 Create@Salford Festival in June (last exhibition opportunity before the move)

3) Make more links with interested individuals and organisations (both in Scarborough and elsewhere)

4) Further promotional activities to assist with research and contribution of memories

5) An online questionnaire to encourage further engagement with the site

6) Events/meetings/performances in Scarborough

7) Develop art/performance ideas further

8) Research selected attractions in more depth, aided by better access to resources once in Scarborough

9) Begin work on a permanent website

10) Apply for some kind of funding for the project