The Story of the South Bay Pool

Beyond the Spa and the South Bay bathing huts in Scarborough, is a large expanse of concrete. Now a star map, it covers what was once the South Bay Bathing Pool, one of the town’s most popular attractions.

South Bay Bathing Pool

Above: The South Bay Pool (source)

The pool was one of many masterpieces designed by Scarborough’s former Borough Engineer, Harry W. Smith, who was responsible for Peasholm Park, Floral Hall and Northstead Manor Gardens, to name just a few of the attractions that came to define his glittering career. Under his guidance much of the town was transformed into a haven for tourists, and his legacy can still be seen across Scarborough today.

South Bay Pool

Above: The pool was part of a large scale redevelopment of the area beyond the Spa (source)

Harry W. Smith apparently thought of the idea – for an outdoor pool – after a visit to Guernsey, which already had an open air tidal pool for bathers. The pool he proposed would be the first of its kind in Britain, and would include diving boards, water chute, different depths, changing rooms and showers etc. This would exceed existing seaside provision for bathers, which was rather meagre – the North Bay Bathing Pool would not be built until the 1930s and those who wanted to swim often headed for the sea, accompanied by a cumbersome bathing machine.

North Bay Bathing Pool

Above: The North Bay Pool did not open until the 1930s (source)

Construction began shortly before the outbreak of WWI, and was taking place in December 1914, when Scarborough was bombarded by German ships. Workers were able to shelter, coincidentally, behind the new wall they had recently constructed for the pool.

South Bay Pool

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

The pool was part of a larger development including the Clock Cafe, gardens, cliffside paths and beach bungalows that had enjoyed such popularity when they were introduced along the North Sands earlier in 1910. This newly developed area in the south, just beyond the Spa, helped accommodate the growing crowds of holidaymakers, and the pool in particular was vast. Built in the Art Deco style, it measured 330ft long and 167 ft wide, and was filled naturally by fresh sea water, propelled into the pool by the tide each day. Officially opened in 1915, the pool later hosted national competitions, such as the Amateur Swimming Association championships, and provided a training ground for more serious swimmers, some of whom would go on to swim the Channel – more on this to come in a future post!

 

South Bay Bathing Pool
 
Above: One of the original diving boards at the pool (source)
 
It has also been reported that the pool may have been designed in such a way as to protect against coastal erosion . Either way, it provided a picturesque, family friendly spot, where visitors of all ages – bathers and non-bathers, could enjoy themselves.
 
South Bay Pool
 
Above: Many visitors simply came to admire the displays of swimming and diving (source)
 
In 1935, due to popular demand, the pool was subject to a number of improvements, which included additional seating for audiences, who enjoyed the many competitions and aquatic displays hosted at the venue, better changing facilities and new fountains for children.
 
South Bay Pool
 
Above: The pool provided substantial seating areas for visitors (source)
 
There are several videos online that offer tantalising glimpses of the pool at various stages in its history – some examples are included below:
 
Video 1 (1939) 1:33 onwards
 
Video 2 (1957) 5:19 onwards
 
Video 3 (1980s)
 
Video 4 (2000) shortly before demolition
 
Visitors to the Stories From Scarborough Facebook Page have shared some lovely memories of the pool.
 
From Fee:
 

Ah, many a day was spent during the summer hols in this pool. Who remembers being able to take inflatable’s into the pool; the Victorian changing rooms and the mangle to wring out your cossie?

 
From Tony:
 

I spent wonderful summers here, swimming all day and chatting with friends, leaning over the outer wall at high tide and watching enormous eels swim by…

 
From Dave:
 

Picture this, a foggy morning, the fog horn monotonous ghostly call and a crocodile fashion of school boys winding their way down the ‘south cliff’, the pool down in the distance, looking about as welcoming as the North Sea itself……The lighter green area is where we had to do 2 lengths in order to satisfy the teachers that all new boys could swim. So long ago, but the memory of chattering teeth and hyperventilation during the test (mid May 1969) and over active imagination….and this is before Peter Benchley’s Jaws!!… This picture is a fine example of how people wanted it to be like, but in reality…shhhhivvvvver!

 

From Gary:
 

I did the top board ! I remember sitting on the edge and slipping off ! I remember it was so cold ! My mother took me to the open pool every day in our summer holidays ! I also remember they may of had a small board around the pool apart from the main three !! Happy days I was only a very young man !

 
Check out the album for this attraction on the Stories From Scarborough Facebook Page for more memories and comments – there were too many brilliant ones to include them all here.
 
South Bay Pool
 
Above: The pool in its heyday (source)
 
The pool closed in 1989 – the diving boards were taken down, although the fountains remained and the facilities slowly fell into dereliction and decay. Attempts were made to save it from being filled in – the Twentieth Century Society, for instance, put forward some strong arguments for its historical value, but in the early 2000s it was redeveloped, and all traces of the pool, except for its distinctive outline, have since disappeared.
 
Sources
 
Scarborough Civic Society
 
The Twentieth Century Society
 
Scarborough News
 
Materials held at the Scarborough Room at Scarborough Library

King Richard III House in Scarborough: Part II

This is the second installment of an article originally published in the Yorkshire Journal (Issue no. 4, 2015) by Jeremy Clark. He has kindly contributed his work to be republished here.

For Part I of this article, please click here.

Article Summary:

A comprehensive investigation of the history and characteristics of the house, as well as the popular belief that King Richard III stayed here during the summer of 1484.

As mentioned in Part I of this article, King Richard III House in Scarborough was purchased by a Mr E. Booth Jones in 1914. However, he sadly died in the Lusitana disaster of 1915, after which his relative Mr. Edgar Burrows took over the lease.

Burrows decided to rebuild the bay windows at the front, which were removed in the mid-1800s, when the house was repaired and modernised, and to uncover the stone walls. The replica bay windows he installed were based on an early drawing of the house by a Miss Wharton, published in the Scarborough Philosophical Society Reports of 1846-1865.

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Above: Miss Wharton’s drawing of the house, dating from about 1835 – before the bay windows at the front were removed. There are steps leading up to the front door of the house and another set of steps with a banister on the sides leading to the entrance to the building on the left. The ground level is much lower compared with more recent photographs of the building, and the projecting boards and plinth indicate that the sea was in closer reach of the building during the early 1800s (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

Miss Wharton also made a drawing of what has been called the King’s Bedchamber, on the second floor, in about 1808. It was then furnished with an elegant heavy legged table, a cupboard and a four poster bed.

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Above: Miss Wharton’s drawing of the ‘King’s Bedchamber’ illustrating the
furniture, decorated plastered ceiling and pattern on the chimney breast. To the
right of the fireplace is the entrance door to the room, and further to the right are the steps leading to the attic door (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

This furniture was disposed of by former owners – the Tindalls – in about 1808. The table went to Troutsdale Manor House and later acquired by John Wharton. It was passed on to Mr Roberts, late curator of the Scarborough Museum, who sold it to Mr William Flounders – an antique dealer. He in turn sold it to Major Brooke of Leeds

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Above: Detailed drawing of the table by Miss Wharton, illustrating its scrolling foliage front frieze, adored with what appear to be lion faces. In style and design it is likely to be Dutch and dates to about 1600-1650 (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

The four poster bed and cupboard went to Joseph Taylor, who presented them to the Duchess of Leeds before his death in 1810. They were reported to be in Hornby Castle in 1879. When the Hornby Castle estate was broken up in 1930, the furniture was sold off at auction.

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Above: Drawing of the four poster bed by John W. Whaley, illustrating the beautiful design with its intricately carved head board (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

Miss Wharton’s original drawings of the house also depict the steeply-gabled roof, which had a decorated plastered ceiling below the attic. There is also decorative plasterwork on the chimney breast.

Furthermore, the drawings completed by Miss Wharton and John W. Whaley suggest that the furniture examples in the King’s Bedchamber were genuine seventeenth century pieces. The four poster bed is typically English in style, dating to approximately 1560-1620. The cupboard is probably later, perhaps 1600-1650,  but more Dutch than English in style and design.

The table is about the same date – 1600-1650 – and again, is of a type more typically found in Holland than England. The Dutch connection with the furniture may have something to do with the Cockerill and Tindall families being shipbuilders in the seventeenth century and possibly trading with the Netherlands. It also seems likely that the furniture was installed in the house when it was owned by the Cockerills in the seventeenth century.

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Above: This is the earliest plan of Scarborough – drawn in 1538 for Henry VIII as part of a military survey of the coast. It clearly shows the town wall with two gates and the harbour beneath the castle on the headland. This plan was drawn at the time the original house was standing, where Richard is reputed to have stayed in 1484. There is a tall building illustrated near the harbour and in design and style it looks remarkably like the King Richard III house (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

When Mr. Burrows began restoring the interior in 1915, he discovered blocked-up old stone doorways on one side of the building, and on the other side, early windows (also filled in), showing that it was once part of a much larger, detached house. The earliest detailed illustration of this is in John Setterington’s pictorial engraving of Scarborough dated 1735 (see below).

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Above: Setterington’s engraving (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

Here the building features a two storey hall and extended west-wing. These extensions, shown on this engraving, do not remain today, but the accurate portrayal of St. Mary’s Church on the same image suggest that King Richard III house was fairly represented. Between 1780 and 1800 the adjoining two storey hall and the rear west-wing of the building were demolished, leaving, in part, the original fifteenth century house which remains today, with the surrounding area redeveloped. To the east side a lower small building was attached and to the west a larger building was constructed.

Today the King Richard III house is a Grade I listed building.

To be continued…

Sources

For a full list of acknowledgements, and to see the article in its original format, please visit the Yorkshire Journal (Issue 4, 2015). All copyright retained by the author.

Many thanks to Jeremy for sharing this article! Look out for part 3, coming soon…

King Richard III House in Scarborough: Part I

This article was originally published in the Yorkshire Journal (Issue no. 4, 2015) by Jeremy Clark. He has kindly contributed his work to be republished here.

Article Summary:

A comprehensive investigation of the history and characteristics of the house, as well as the popular belief that King Richard III stayed here during the summer of 1484.

richard1

Above: Richard III House in 1835 (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

Nowadays visitors to Scarborough walking along the seafront opposite the harbour will undoubtedly come across an unusual looking lopsided house, sandwiched between other buildings, but clearly much older. This is the King Richard III House, now a restaurant. It is so called because it is believed that King Richard III stayed here in 1484,when he was in Scarborough on naval business.

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Above: Richard III House today (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

For fifty years King Richard III House was a museum with an antique shop next door. The building was bought in 1914 by E. Booth Jones, a Manchester antique dealer. His relative Edgar H. Burrows came from Birmingham to be manager. In fact, during the First World War on December 16th, 1914, German warships fired hundreds of shells into the town of Scarborough. Many buildings were destroyed but, fortunately, King Richard III House escaped the attack, which became known as ‘The Bombardment’.

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Above: Part of a 1735 engraving of Scarborough by John Setterington. Notice the two ships on the sands reaching towards King Richard III house. The yards were still confined within the harbour piers, which provided protection from the ocean (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

The Tindall family have a long history as shipbuilders in Scarborough from the seventeenth century. When James Tindall died in 1748, the Tindall yard passed to his son John. John Tindall the elder (1722-1773) married Jane Dowker of the Salton gentry family in 1745.

They bought King Richard III house from the Cockerill family, who were also shipbuilders in the seventeenth century and owned other property in Sandside. Their ten children were born there, and when Robert Tindall was born in 1764, there were ten gallons of gin at the bed head for visitors. The house became the residence of Robert Tindall (1764-1828), then it was used has the Tindall’s office and stores, plans show the stems of ships being built on the sands opposite and reaching towards his house.

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Above: The Tindall shipyard showing one of the last vessels, the barque “Thanes”, on the stocks. From 1755 to 1807, the Tindall yard produced the largest number of ships built in Scarborough. Shipbuilding at Scarborough ended in 1863 (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

The poor documentation of families and owners from the Middle Ages onwards has made it impossible to compile a detailed and accurate history of families connected with the building. Nonetheless, in about 1801 the Tindalls moved and the building was occupied by William Purcell, a baker who made and sold ship biscuits or bread for every sailing tide. It next became an engineering shop owned by Thomas Varley. Some of the plaster ceiling was pulled down for shafting and machinery. It is also believed that the building was rented to a jet manufacturer.

In 1830 Mary Forrest is said to have lived in King Richard III house, until she died in 1850. In about 1852 the bay windows were removed and the stone walls were plastered over to modernise the house. Subsequently the building became a greengrocers shop and. until 1905, was occupied by varied tradesmen – mainly fruiters and greengrocers. However, in 1890 it was occupied by Lewis Plummer – a coble owner and trawl net maker.

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Above: This is probably the oldest photo of King Richard III house, then occupied by Lewis Plummer (a coble owner and trawl net maker) in 1890. To the right, with a long barber’s pole, is a tobacco shop. The building to the left is the Ye Old Buoy Inn, which has steps and railings leading to a landing and the entrance door. In 1890 C. Horseman was the proprietor of the inn (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

The Seaman’s Mission Institute acquired King Richard III House in about 1908. The building was used to provide recreational facilities for boys under 16 who were considered too young to attend the main Institute. In about 1912 the mission allowed visitors to be shown around the house by the caretaker for an admission fee of 2d. The junior Institute closed sometime at the beginning of 1914, when Mr. E. Booth Jones bought the property and opened it to the public as a museum with his relative Mr Edgar H. Burrows as manager.

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Above: This photograph was taken in 1892 when the proprietor was a Mr. John Wray. The steps and railing leading up to the inn have been removed and the ground levelled. It has a flat front with a sign running over the top of the ground floor window and door which reads “LATE RESIDENCE OF RICHARCH III. MAY 22nd 1484″. A table can be seen outside under the window displaying groceries and provisions with a woman sitting on a seat.

To the right is a Tobacco & Cigars Stores with a long barber’s pole. The sign along the top of the window reads “Gents Cutting & Shaving Room”. In the doorway the owner can be seen standing on the left and a fisherman on the right. To the left is the Ye Old Buoy Inn, of which C. Horseman continued to be the proprietor in 1892 (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

The three storey stone building, with an attic, overlooking the harbour, dates in part to the fifteenth century. It was extended by adjoining a two storey hall on the east side and to the north with a rear range in about 1600. The original fifteenth century building then became the west wing to the much larger stone-built house. The interior would have also been refurbished at this time. The building was considerably altered in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

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Above: This was taken a few years after the previous photo. It has a flat front with the same sign running over the top of the ground floor window and door as in the above photo. Ye Old Buoy Inn to the left remains the same. To the right the long barber’s pole has been removed, although the shop remains a tobacconist, having changed hands – the new proprietor was Joseph Sinfield in 1901. (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

Below: This photograph shows the house when it was taken over by the Seaman’s Mission Institute, and was taken in 1908, probably around the time the institute first opened. In front of the building is a group of junior boys. The flat front and sign running along to top of the ground floor window and door are the same as in the older photos. To the right is Cammis Fish and Chips shop, run by Benjamin Sanderson from 1905-1909 (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

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Sadly the then owner Mr. E. Booth Jones was drowned on the Lusitania on May 7th 1915. The business and property from the estate was then bought by his relative and manager Mr. Edgar H. Burrows.

To be continued…

Sources

For a full list of acknowledgements, and to see the article in its original format, please visit the Yorkshire Journal (Issue 4, 2015). All copyright retained by the author.

Many thanks to Jeremy for sharing this article! Look out for part 2, coming soon…