The Kinderland Controversy

In the early 1980s, Dudley Wallis – former owner of the Wallis Holiday Camp at Cayton Bay – proposed a new attraction for children in Scarborough.

Kinderland was to be an adventure playground for youngsters, and plans were made to transform local allotments on Burniston Road into a thrilling play area for tourists and locals alike. However, for those who lived in the nearby area, the North Side’s status as a peaceful residential location, was under threat.

A protest group, consisting of local residents, and led by Major Ron Soper, objected strongly to proposals concerning both Kinderland and the new water slides at the North Bay Bathing Pool – part of a larger scale development that would transform the venue into Waterscene later that year (subsequently known as Water Splash World and then, in 1995, Atlantis). Protestors were concerned about noise levels, and the effect that the attraction would have on the area.

Above: Waterscene’s slides were impressive, but not everyone welcomed them (Stories From Scarborough Image Archive)

In spite of these concerns, a leaflet campaign (around 2000 were distributed locally) and a petition to stop Kinderland being built, Scarborough Council approved the proposal and granted permission for the development of the site. Construction began in October, 1984. C. B. Booth Ltd was the Beverley-based contractor overseeing the work, and a Leeds firm known as Architectural Design Partnership designed the park.


Above: Kinderland was designed to facilitate old-fashioned outdoor play and games (from the author’s collection)

Accepting that Kinderland would be built regardless, local objectors, later known as the North Side Action Group, turned their attention towards other matters. Firstly they sought out an old statute (the Sunday Entertainments Act of 1932), to prevent the proposed park from opening on a Sunday. In doing so they hoped to secure some peace and quiet from the anticipated noise and commotion that Kinderland was predicted to attract. However, subsequent amendments to these regulations allowed the park to remain open all weekend; indeed, times were changing and many businesses had flouted the act for years.

Undeterred, objectors turned their attention to the size and proposed placement of attraction signs – namely those marking the two entrances on Burniston Road, and one opposite the boating lake and water chute in Northstead Manor Gardens. Chairman of the action group, Leslie Binns, made the following statement to the Scarborough Evening News in 1985:

We have written to the council objecting to the plans. We think these three signs are absolutely staggering. They will be totally out of place both in the area and in the gardens which are there for both residents and visitors alike to enjoy.

(Scarborough Evening News, 1 May 1985)

It is easy to see both sides of this argument in retrospect. On one hand, Dudley Wallis wanted to create a play area for old-fashioned fun – climbing frames and real physical play away from the slot machines and noise of the newer attractions on the South Bay. Local residents wanted a quiet place to live and were worried about the impact of yet another North Bay attraction on their doorstep. They were frustrated and felt ignored by the council, who, along with Wallis and those supporting the development appeared to have little regard for public opinion on the matter. It is understandable that they would feel compelled to voice their concerns by protesting.

Above: Kinderland advert from the early days of the attraction (Stories From Scarborough Image Archive)

Nonetheless, Wallis still hoped to create an attraction for Scarborough that would be loved by both tourists and locals. It has certainly left a legacy of memories, and it is touching to know that local residents campaigned to save it in 2001. Sadly, just as the campaign to prevent its creation ultimately failed, so too did the fight to keep it. Kinderland closed in 2007 and the site now lies dormant – a barren wasteland like the former Marvel’s site, which occupies the hill at the other side of Northstead Manor Gardens.

Now it is newer designs and planning proposals that attract disapproval and concern, as Scarborough continues to juggle its dual role as both a tourist destination and as a place to live and work. The question, as always, remains – who has the right to decide what is best for a seaside town such as Scarborough? Tourism boosts the local economy, but which types of attraction are truly best for Scarborough as a whole?  Is it possible to satisfy visitors and locals in equal measure?


The information above is based on articles in the Scarborough News (1983 – 1986), viewed in the Scarborough Room at Scarborough Library.


Memories From Atlantis

Stories From Scarborough has been fortunate to receive a number of excellent written memories from Mark, who has so far discussed his recollections of Marvel’s and Kinderland. Now it’s time for Atlantis. If you want to read more about Atlantis and its former lives (as Water Splash World, Waterscene and the North Bay Bathing Pool), please take a look at the following links:

The Blue Waters of Atlantis (brief history and introduction)

Swimming In Scarborough: Battle Of The Bathing Pools (North vs South Bay bathing pools)

Before The North Bay Bathing Pool: The Northstead Estate (more about the site of the pool)

North Bay Pool: For Bathing Or Boating? (North Bay Bathing Pool – early days)

Atlantis: A Short Film

Pictures Of Water Splash World And Atlantis

Upon opening in 1995, Atlantis inherited, amongst other features, what were once the longest slides in Europe, or as promotional material boasted, “amongst the longest in the world”. It was these slides, that initially enticed Mark into Atlantis.

My main reason for dragging mum into Atlantis, was definitely the slides… From the outside, it was difficult to see much, due to the high walls, but the slides could be seen from the hotel door!

I rode both the slides, several times, over the couple of visits – they looked like fun, till the first time you got to the top, and looked down into the blue half-tube slides – of course, you couldn’t see over the sides, and therefore the height, but they were definitely pretty scary. After the first time, the scared element became something of a thrill, I think.

But Atlantis wasn’t just about the slides – the water park had many other features:

I remember there were areas that seemed distinctly separate, pools and such. There were even fences between some of the areas, on my second visit. I remember at the Seaward end, there was an area with a large floating barrier, and something like a high powered waterfall/jet of water, coming in from the side of the pool.

I can’t remember if there was a wave pool, I’m afraid… I have a vague memory of an area with timed water fountains in a large, circular area – to run onto, and then get caught in the middle of the fountains of water. Also, something like a tall mushroom, which water poured off the edges of, and down in a curtain of water. There was an area near this, with ropes strung between two islands, however I’m not entirely sure what these were for.

Diving boards… I only remember one. There may have been others, but I only remember one. This was immediately behind, and above, the main entrance, where some sort of ‘preparation’ area for the M.A.P. is located, I believe, now. When you entered from the street, I think you had to turn left or right, to go around the pool to the changing rooms – the wall in front of you, making you turn left or right, supported the diving board, which was accessed by steps, I think from either side of the entrance. No real memory of the changing rooms, I’m afraid.

Atlantis also hosted a special guest – the Hispaniola was briefly ‘moored’ at the water park during the mid 1990s before being repaired and eventually resurrected as an attraction on the South Bay, where it still sails today. Mark remembers this strange sight from his Scarborough visits:

I remember, some time towards the mid 90’s, a boat ‘turned up’ in Atlantis – not floating, however. I believe this may have been the Hispaniola from the Mere, from what I (well, mum) was told when I was quite keen to know where this had come from – it looked like a boat capable of sailing, and this caught my curiosity. The boat was at the inland end of the site, when I remember it being there.

He also recalls the fate of Atlantis following its closure in 2007:

I seem to remember the slides outlasting the pools and changing rooms, once demolition started – the slides and the tower standing behind the glassed in building which is now the shooting range, I think – with the slides essentially stopping in mid air, nowhere to reach to. At this point, the pools had been filled in, and a small theme park/fairground of sorts was taking place there instead. I believe the base of the tower, where the slides started from, may still be there in the grass behind the M.A.P.

Indeed, remnants of Atlantis remain part of the Military Adventure Park site – many of the remaining structures date back to the days of the North Bay Bathing Pool, which initially opened as a small boating pool in 1935.

A huge thanks to Mark, who has taken the time to put these memories in writing. Words are just as powerful as images in evoking memories, so if you remember any of the attractions listed on Stories From Scarborough, please consider sending a sentence or two via email, or even leave a short comment below.

All contributions are treated with the utmost care, and can be removed at your request at any point following submission.

Pictures Of Water Splash World And Atlantis

Stories From Scarborough has so far been privileged to share a video of Atlantis, and pictures of Marvel’s, Millennium and the Hispaniola from generous reader Leonie, who has uploaded her collection to the project Flickr account.

Now it’s time for Water Splash World. This, and its other incarnations (North Bay Bathing Pool, Waterscene and Atlantis) are quickly catching up with Marvel’s, in the battle for the title of ‘most viewed’ attraction on Stories From Scarborough. To find out more about the site and its swimming history, please take a look at the following posts:

The Blue Waters of Atlantis (brief history and introduction)

Swimming In Scarborough: Battle Of The Bathing Pools (the story of the North and South Bay bathing pools)

Before The North Bay Bathing Pool: The Northstead Estate (more about the site of the pool)

North Bay Pool: For Bathing Or Boating? (the early days of the North Bay Bathing Pool)

Atlantis: A Short Film

For now it’s back to a very specific period in the site’s history – indeed, Water Splash World started out in 1987. Its predecessor, Waterscene had opened in 1984, as a dramatic new development of the longstanding North Bay Bathing Pool (an attraction dating back to the 1930s).

All of the following images are copyright protected and must not be used or reproduced without permission – see the disclaimer for details.

Above: Promotional material for Water Splash World (source)

Below: As above (source)

Water Splash World was an outdoor swimming pool with water slides, located opposite Peasholm Park near the North Bay in Scarborough. Previously known as Waterscene, the new name marked a change in ownership and a further opportunity to market the attraction’s record breaking water slides – then the longest in Europe, and amongst some of the biggest in the world at the time.

Above: Water Splash World on a glorious sunny day (source)

In spite of the new slides and slick marketing, the pool retained many of the features from the days of the North Bay Bathing Pool, including the gates, walls and changing room buildings. Indeed, the name of the water park changed more than its key features, and Atlantis was simply another opportunity to revitalise the attraction.

Above: The then new Atlantis (source)

It’s amazing what a new logo and fresh branding can do for an attraction. Indeed, Atlantis gave the pool’s themed areas sparkly new names – Cascade Kingdom, Pirate Cove and Aquamania were just a few of the jazzy titles that graced maps of the pool. Atlantis of course refers to a fictional (but legendary) island (created as an allegory by Greek philosopher Plato), which is eventually consumed by the Atlantic Ocean after its people fall out of favour with the gods. The relevance of this title to a 1990s Scarborough water park is perhaps somewhat unclear, although the word does seem to conjure up images of an exotic and mysterious world.

Above: Atlantis in 1995 (source)

Below: The famous slides (source)

Indeed, there was little evidence of any ancient civilisations here – the oldest features were, as mentioned, the white buildings and walls that remained from the North Bay Bathing Pool. These can still be seen today, housing the Military Adventure Park. Atlantis closed in 2007 and was later dismantled.

Thanks to these images, it is possible to look back on the days of blue water, thrilling slides and outdoor swimming. Do you remember swimming here? What was it like? Please share your stories before they fade away like Atlantis!

As before, Stories From Scarborough is very grateful to Leonie for sharing these pictures – please respect this generosity by abiding with the copyright regulations outlined in the disclaimer.

North Bay Pool: For Bathing or Boating?

When Tucker’s Field became Peasholm Park in 1912, the transformation of the medieval Northstead Estate had truly begun.

Above: The early days of Peasholm Park (source)

This muddy patch of farmland, and the neighbouring Rawling’s field were both eventually purchased by The Scarborough Corporation in the 1920s, eager to build on their Peasholm Park success by developing a tourist haven in and around Scarborough’s North Bay.

Above: Some of the original North Bay attractions, including the doomed pier (source)

Away from the grand hotels and seaside amusements of the South Bay, the North Bay was already becoming a draw for visitors, with multiple gardens, a short-lived pier and a revolving viewing tower. The new bathing pool, however, which opened in 1938 on the former Rawling’s Field site, was more successful, and endured for nearly seventy years under a variety of names, including Waterscene and Atlantis.

Above: Atlantis was worlds away from the humble North Bay Bathing Pool (source)

Although the North Bay Bathing Pool opened for bathers in 1938 – it operated for several years before this as a pool for tiny ‘speedboats’ – a somewhat exaggerated description given in various sources, given that both boats and pool were too small to allow for any excessive speeding.

motor boat pool

Above: Here, more aptly named as the ‘Motor Boat Pool’ (from the author’s collection)

This boating pool or pond (as it was sometimes referred to) opened in 1935, and allowed riders to step aboard miniscule two-person motor boats for a jaunty circular trip. The idea seems somewhat humorous now – indeed, this lasted less than three years before the boats were transferred to the more ample boating lake in nearby Northstead Manor Gardens. Then the swimmers moved in.

Above: There was plenty of space for the boats at Manor Gardens (source)

Before the boating (and eventual bathing) pool was built, out of service fishing vessels were frequently left on the site, either to be fixed and returned to their seafaring duties, or to be left to rot, alongside other unwanted items. In a continuation of this tradition Scarborough’s own Hispaniola spent a period ‘moored’ here, next to Water Splash World (later Atlantis) after its banishment from the Mere in 1993. Now it sails once more, along the South Bay.

Above: The Hispaniola did not remain ‘dumped’ for long (source)

The land had further uses during the early 1900s – travelling circuses would pitch up and perform there. There are also rumours of an archery range, where champion archers such as Jack Flinton would compete during the summer months. Possibly. Other sources suggest that the archery was a summer activity for novices. Perhaps there was a bit of both. If indeed it happened here, on the site of the future bathing pool.

Above: Scarborough archer Jack Flinton at a Lancaster tournament – second from right (source)

Either way, this former field (once owned by the Rawling family) and small part of the former Northstead Estate has hosted plenty of ‘fun’ since the early 1900s. From bows and arrows to miniature boats; from circus tents to water slides. And, today, military-themed adventures.

Above: One of the old bathing pool buildings in the Military Adventure Park – top right (source)

Memories of the swimming pool(s) will inevitably endure – after all, there was a pool of some sort on the site from 1935 until 2007 – over seventy years in total. Although the slides and majority of the buildings were eventually demolished, remnants of the original 1930s structure still remain. But for how much longer?

Above: One of the original gates from the 1938 bathing pool (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)


All new information in this post (see highlighted links for existing sources/information) has been retrieved from old newspaper clippings held at the  Scarborough Room at Scarborough Library. Most were from the Scarborough News (various dates), others from unnamed publications.

Please read the disclaimer to find out this project’s policies on sourcing and copyright issues.

Scarborough at The Museum of Water?

This is the ninth in a series of posts about artistic responses to Scarborough and its former attractions.

For the others, click here.

Just over a week ago I visited The Museum of Water at Somerset House in London – a temporary exhibition that features a long-term collection of water samples gathered by artist Amy Sharrocks and her team. You can find more about the museum by visiting its website, and I’ve also written a review of it here.

Above: Part of the Museum collection (source)

The basic premise of the museum surrounds re-discovering the importance and significance of water, achieved by encouraging members of the public to donate their own samples.

Above: Some of the submissions (source)

Water is a central theme in Stories From Scarborough; not just in terms of the town’s proximity to the sea, but also the role of water in its former attractions.

The murky Mere water the Hispaniola sailed through.

The blue waters of Atlantis.

The splash encountered on the water chute.

Or the Manor Gardens water – an ideal breeding ground for great crested newts.

Landscapes and their materials are imbued with memories, and water is a poignant example of this.

Above: The Manor Gardens Boating Lake – full of memories? (source)

I thought it would be great to see Scarborough represented in the Museum of Water – during my visit I made a pledge to donate some, and last week, after visiting the town for an interview, I perched on rocks on the south side – just past the Spa and near to the former open air swimming pool site – and let the sea gently wash over my hands as I filled a tiny bottle.

Above: The approximate location of the sample – minus the high tide I encountered (source)

The tide was coming in, and the waves started to pound against the rocks, splashing my boots and showering me with spray. My bottle – once containing mouthwash – refused to discard the smell of its former contents. No matter how many times I thrust it into the salty water, it still emerged with a minty aroma at the neck.

Above: Scarborough water – in a mouthwash bottle (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)

Eventually I conceded that whilst the smell might contain a hint of mouthwash, the water I’d collected still represented Scarborough. I was inspired to collect some sand and seaweed too, although had to discard the latter eventually due to the pungent smell.

Above: The reverse of my water sample – with an explanation for the minty smell! (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)

Both sand and water later became a part of this performance in Salford, enabling me to effectively bring Scarborough to a city 100 miles away – both symbolically and in terms of materials. Now it is time to donate the remaining water to the museum, and along with it, a small piece of Stories From Scarborough..

Above: Using the Scarborough water in a performance (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)

Romantic as all this sounds, you might still be wondering how, exactly, any of this truly relates to the former attractions investigated here. Well. Firstly, seawater, like sand, is part of the language of the seaside – it references Scarborough more generally as a setting for the attractions.

Above: The Hispaniola now sails on the sea – another relevant link (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)

Secondly, this water offers a starting point – for new ways in which to consider the attractions. Whilst I cannot collect water from Atlantis, Water Splash World, Waterscene or the North Bay Bathing Pool, I can collect it from elsewhere – the Manor Gardens Lake; the Mere, puddles on various former sites. All could potentially hold memories of the attractions.

Above: The Mere today – but does it ‘remember’ the Hispaniola? (source)

The landscape arguably retains memories of its histories – these might be physical (erosion, dereliction, remains of structures etc) or, according to some, even spiritual or emotional – sensations or feelings. Either way, the materials of a landscape are evocative, and water is no different. If anything it is the most pervasive vessel of all – every drop has ostensibly been drunk, swam in, washed in by a great number of people. It has travelled to the clouds and back; journeyed far out to sea, across the world and throughout history.

Above: Scarborough’s water has endured many journeys (source)

The water I am donating to the Museum could have come from, or travelled, anywhere. I just happened to pick it up at Scarborough. Some might argue it is not mine to donate. Others might question its relevance or significance. Ultimately the latter is down to us. We choose how and why particular water is important; what it means. It is at the same time both universal and personal, and as such, by acknowledging the stories we tell about it, the Museum of Water celebrates the enormity and diversity of its value.

Please note that there are plenty of historical posts about former attractions coming soon, and I’ve had some brilliant memories emailed to me. However, as I am moving to Scarborough this week there may be delays in posting, especially if I have problems getting internet access when I arrive. Thank you for your patience!


Before The North Bay Bathing Pool: The Northstead Estate

When the North Bay Bathing Pool opened in the summer of 1938, Scarborough’s North Bay was rapidly becoming a haven for holidaymakers.

Above: The North Bay Pool was also known as Scarborough Children’s Lake (source)

Across the road was the relatively new Peasholm Park, initially developed in 1912. Around the corner was a miniature railway, water chute and open air theatre, all part of the new Northstead Manor Gardens, or Pleasure Park, as it was then otherwise known.


Above: The early days of Northstead Manor Gardens (from the author’s collection)

However, only a few decades earlier, this patch of land had looked very different indeed, nor was it even ‘officially’ part of Scarborough. Part of it was purchased by the Scarborough Corporation in 1911 for the development of Peasholm Park, and the remainder of the estate was bought by the same organisation in 1921. Prior to these transactions, Scarborough legally ‘ended’ at Peasholm Beck.

Above: Bridge over Peasholm Beck, now part of Peasholm Park (source)

There were no adventure playgrounds or water slides here – the land was used for more practical matters before the twentieth century arrived. Piggeries, allotments, farming – thick boggy mud and hard work. All of this seems an antithesis for what was to follow.


Above: 1913 Northstead, in blue, before it became part of Scarborough, in pink (source)

The area in which the North Bay Bathing Pool later stood was known as Rawling’s Field. Located next to Tucker’s Field (which later became Peasholm Park), the site belonged to a Mr Rawling. A reader kindly contacted Stories From Scarborough to clarify this further:

This was a piece of land owned by my great grandfather’s brother – George Blackett Rawling (1853-1916) – who owned and managed the bathing machines on the North Bay in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  He sold the land to the then Scarborough Corporation for a few shillings (I understand).

Many thanks to Phil for getting in touch with this information, and also for sending an old newspaper article outlining the origins of the pool.

Rawling’s Field and Tucker’s Field once formed part of the sprawling Northstead Estate.

Above: Tucker’s Field, shortly before being developed into Peasholm Park began (source)

The origins of the estate are somewhat murky – some sources suggest that the area was originally named Hatterboard; the Northstead moniker emerging much later. Local friars gained permission to build a priory in the area in 1245, and the land was bestowed upon a series of noblemen before being purchased by King Richard III in the fifteenth century.King Richard reputedly favoured Scarborough and was the last known monarch to stay in the town’s castle.

Above: The earliest known portrait of Richard III (source)

At the centre of the Northstead estate stood a manor house, although few accounts describe it in any great detail:

At the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign ‘the Northstead’ had a ‘parliour,’ an old chamber reached by wooden stairs, and ‘a lowe house under it’ unfit for habitation; Sir Richard Cholmley’s shepherd dwelt in it until it fell down. Adjoining were an old decayed barn and the walls of other houses, which shortly afterwards fell, and an old chapel. Sir Richard Cholmley, lessee of Edward VI, used the timber of these decayed buildings to build ‘an hall house, adjoining it to the said parliour.’


A survey in 1650 did not record a manor house, with earlier reports suggesting that it may have fallen into disrepair. However, in spite of the lack of historical records, the construction of Peasholm Park in 1911 did reveal the remains of medieval buildings of a domestic nature, although little conclusive information could be deducted about their purpose or significance. These ruins were found in the centre of today’s Peasholm Lake.

Above: The lake at Peasholm Park (source)

Although the manor house disappeared long ago, the accompanying position – Stewardship of the Manor (of Northstead) remains an official one, bestowed upon MPs to relieve them of their duties.

Above: A plaque in Peasholm Park acknowledges the stewardship (source)

Northstead has indeed witnessed many transformations; from its early days as a medieval estate to its later manifestations as a magnet for seaside holidaymakers. Peasholm Park in particular is a lasting legacy of the latter, although its early neighbours – the North Bay Bathing Pool and the attractions located in and around the Northstead Manor Gardens, have endured mixed fortunes.


Above: The North Bay Bathing Pool at night (source)

The opening of the North Bay Bathing Pool in 1938, for instance,  was reputedly a grand affair – with a band and underwater lighting. Likewise its transformation into Waterscene in 1984, featured a visit from holiday camp legend Fred Pontin. The succession of glitzy rebrandings was followed by closure in 2007. As the site fell into disrepair, and the bright blue slides faded, a return to the boggy fields of old was no longer so unlikely. However, the birth of the Military Adventure Park continued the evolution of the area, and new investment (including the redevelopment of the old outdoor theatre, and the updating carried out by the North Bay Railway company) is preserving what was once little more than a muddy field for generations of holidaymakers to come.

It has been difficult to verify some of the information in this post – if you know anything more about Northstead’s history, or have any thoughts or corrections, please comment below.


English Heritage

British History Online


Scarborough Book of Days

The National Archives


Scarborough, Sandcastles and Stories

This is the fourth in a series of posts exploring artistic responses to former Scarborough attractions.

For the others please see the following links:

The Making of a Chairlift

Back to Childhood

A Third Hispaniola?

The humble sandcastle is emblematic of the traditional British seaside holiday. And yet, when I visited Scarborough as a child, it was not my brothers and I who were the main sandcastle builders, but my mum.


Above: No sandcastles for me – apparently I liked to draw random circles in the sand (from the author’s personal collection)

Sidenote: Can you spot the Marvel’s chairlifts in the background?

My mum’s sandcastles were elaborate affairs – a huge mountain of sand was surrounded by a fortress of small castles, and crowned with a singular form on the top. This uppermost castle usually ended up with a flag of some kind piercing its roof, and a deep moat around the outside was filled with seawater. The outer walls and entry road were painstakingly patted into place. On every seaside visit this formula was repeated to a high degree of accuracy.

But what, you might ask, has this got to do with any of the former seaside attractions investigated here?

Well, firstly, sand is part of the language of the seaside, and all of the attractions are inevitably tied to Scarborough’s status as a seaside resort. I wanted to find a way to reference more general themes  of the project. Childhood is another example – playing with sand is something many of us did as kids, whether that be at the seaside or in a sandpit.

Above: Playing with sand is more commonly a childhood pursuit (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)

Secondly, I wanted to find a material that would effectively represent the decay of the chosen attractions. Sand is malleable, but also incredibly fragile. One of the things I love about sandcastles is that, when the day ends, the sea washes them away, and the beach is smoothed out, like a fresh canvas for a new morning.

Above: A metaphor for the fading memories of former attractions? (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)

When I visited the Marvel’s site last week, I was struck by how swiftly Nature had erased many traces of the amusement park’s existence. I like the idea that no matter what we build, Nature always reclaims the land back eventually. Whilst there is a sadness to be found in the dereliction, and in some cases, redevelopment of old attractions, there is also a sense of rebirth and recovery. After all, building an attraction arguably violates the natural world, and when it fades away, plants, trees and animals return.

Enough philosophy for now.

More about the sandcastles!

Above: Experimenting with sand (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)

I began by simply experimenting with the sand, and the bucket and spade (bought from the seafront at Scarborough of course!). I also used various props to reference former attractions – such as the cardboard water chute sign above and chocolate coin wrappers as stand-ins for the Hispaniola doubloons.

Above: Signs and symbols (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)

Below: Burying Kinderland (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)

I enjoyed the lines, shapes and texture of the sand, and the process of constructing, destroying and reconstructing castles – repetitive gestures that mimicked both my mum’s methodical building processes and the ongoing history of development, redevelopment and dereliction that has characterised many of Scarborough’s attraction sites.

Above: The Marvel’s site has witnessed multiple redevelopments; and dereliction (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)

Following initial experiments I developed the idea further by creating crumbling sandcastle memorials to each attraction, complete with a handmade flag featuring a fragmented image of said attraction.

Above: A Marvel’s memorial? (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)

Below: A tribute to Waterscene? (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)

The strength of these sculptures lies in their temporary existence. In moments the sand starts to turn to dust, and slowly but surely the primitive structures cave in. They never last for a long time, like, say, a grand old painting in an art gallery. In a way they are like the memories I’m exploring – fragile, temporary and always changing.

Above: The crumbling memories of long lost attractions (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)

I plan to develop this idea further once I arrive in Scarborough, possibly on the North Bay – mainly because this is nearest to the majority of the attractions I’m researching, but also because this is the beach I always played on as a child – more often than the louder, busier South Bay.

Making sandcastle memorials with real Scarborough sand would be so much more meaningful – perhaps I could even hold a memorial service for all the long lost attractions. Perhaps.

Swimming in Scarborough: Battle of the Bathing Pools

Swimmers have always been welcome in Scarborough. Over the years the town has featured numerous pools – outdoor and indoor included. The North Bay Bathing Pool (which later became Waterscene, Water Splash World, and then Atlantis) has already been mentioned here.

Above: The early days of the North Bay Bathing Pool (source)

Following its creation in 1938, the North Bay Bathing Pool played second fiddle to the better known and older South Bay Pool – a large seawater pool located near the Spa.

Above: The South Bay Pool (source)

Built in 1915, this pool was once a glamorous hotspot complete with diving boards, swimming exhibitions and competitions.

Above: The pool featured on a 1920s rail poster (source)

The pool was also designed to function as a wave barrier, and was subject to the tempestuous moods of the sea. It opened in July 1915 not long after WWI began, and less than a year after Scarborough was attacked by German forces on December 16th, 1914.

Above: The attack on Scarborough was later used to encourage men to enlist (source)

Below: The new pool (source)

Designed by borough engineer Harry W. Smith, the pool measured 330ft by 165ft in size and featured a 32ft high diving board – it was once the largest outdoor pool in Europe. Audiences were treated to a variety of shows, exhibitions and events featuring swimming, diving and aquatic displays.


Above: South Bay Pool in 1922 (from the author’s personal collection)

In 1935 audience seating capacity was increased, diving boards and changing rooms were added and fountains were created for children. However, only three years later the pool had a new rival, albeit a smaller one. The North Bay Bathing Pool, which opened in 1938 measured 250ft by 60ft, was located not far from the quieter North Sands.


Above: North Bay Bathing Pool (source)

This second, smaller pool played a key role in enticing visitors to visit Scarborough’s North Bay, which was rapidly establishing a formidable array of new attractions. Both pools were, at various points, used by Scarborough Swimming Club.

However, in the 1980s, the North Bay Bathing Pool was given a dramatic makeover that would see it take the edge in the competition of the outdoor pools. It reopened in 1984 as Waterscene, boasting the longest water chute in the world. Subsequent re-developments modernised the pool, and the new slides and themed areas were a success in attracting tourists, especially children.


Above: An aerial view of the newly developed North Bay Pool, photographed by Michael Jaconelli (image sourced from here)

The South Bay Pool, after a heyday particularly notable in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, remained popular with visitors, but for numerous reasons (viability, local politics and problems with upkeep are all cited to varying degrees) closed in 1988. The structure stood for fifteen more years, becoming flooded and derelict until the area was finally demolished in 2003. After being filled in, the pool is now the site of a star map.

You can see a picture of the site today by clicking here. Tiny lights show star positions at night, and there is an information board also.

Whilst the North Bay Bathing Pool appears to have emerged victorious in the bathing pool battle (in terms of longevity at least), its days too were numbered. Following two rebrandings (first to Water Splash World, then to Atlantis), the pool eventually suffered the fate of many outdoor UK pools – it closed in 2007, and was subsequently demolished. It is now the site of the Military Adventure Park.

Above: The Military Adventure Park (source)

Holidaymakers can now easily visit affordable resorts abroad that boast not only extensive water parks, but also guarantees of hot sunny weather to complement the experience. Years ago visitors had fewer options, and towns such as Scarborough reaped the benefits.


Above: North Bay Bathing Pool postcard (from the author’s personal collection)

Scarborough still has an indoor pool, and many still swim in the sea. However, it is easy to forget that swimming events and exhibitions once took place across the town, from the underground pool at Gala Land, to Peasholme Park Lake and the boating lake near the Open Air Theatre. There was also Bland’s Cliff Swimming baths (now Coney Island Amusements).

Although most of the aforementioned pools are long gone, swimmers (and paddlers!) will always be drawn to the oldest pool of all – the sea itself.

Do you remember any of the swimming pools mentioned? Or perhaps you know of others? Please contribute comments, corrections, or any information below.


Scarborough Swimming Club History Page

Summarised History Page

Flickr account

David’s account

Lizz Tuckerman’s Page

The Blue Waters of Atlantis

Atlantis started out as the North Bay Bathing Pool, an outdoor swimming pool that originally opened in July 1938, only minutes away from the North Bay in Scarborough.


Above: The original North Bay Bathing Pool (from the author’s personal collection)

In 1984 the site was redeveloped and rebranded as Waterscene, and a £500,000 investment gave the pool the (then) longest water chute in the world. Like nearby Marvel’s, which also opened in 1984, the new development was pioneered by businessman Don Robinson, director of Kunick.


Above: Waterscene postcard (source)

The opening was reputedly a grand affair, with Fred Pontin (of Pontins Holiday Camps fame) unveiling a plaque. The pool was apparently the first large scale waterpark in Europe.

Fred Pontin

Above: Fred Pontin (source)

In 1987 the site was sold to Kirkpool Ltd, headed by Tommy Hanson. The name changed to Water Splash World before being resold to Edencorpleisure in the following year. The lease was then bought by Scarborough Council in 1992. The site didn’t became known as Atlantis until 1995.

Water Splash World

Above: Water Splash World (source)

Atlantis, like Water Splash World, was arguably more of a rebranding of the original Waterscene attraction.

Unfortunately my only encounter with Atlantis (and its predecessor Water Splash World) came from the outside. We used to pass it on the way to Peasholme Park, Manor Gardens and Kinderland, and I remember how blue it always looked. I was jealous of the children who got to ride the long winding slides and splash around in the outdoor pool. Even though I never went inside, I’m still curious to know about what it was like, and it remains a vivid part of my Scarborough memories.

The reputation of Atlantis was severely undermined by the death of a swimmer in 2001, and following years of financial difficulties, closed in 2007. The site was later redeveloped into the Military Adventure Park, which continues to operate today.

This blog post is only a short introduction to Atlantis and its history, based on limited sources – more details will be added as the research progresses.

See any mistakes in this post? Want to share any additional information or memories? Please comment below – all contributions are very welcome!

Below are some further sources:

28 Days Later features images of Atlantis and its demolition.
Scarborough Hotel and Tourist Information Blog has a short article about the site.
This video shows Atlantis during its heyday, and this video features the original bathing pool (1950s).
Various articles about the site and its predecessors are available online from Scarborough News.