Scarborough, Yorkshire, England. Geographical and Historical information from 1834.


Geographical and Historical information from the year 1834.

"SCARBOROUGH, a celebrated watering place and corporate and borough town, in the parish of its name, and in the lythe of Pickering, North Riding, is 216 miles from London, 106 n.e. from Manchester, 40 n.e. from York, 20 s. by e. from Whitby, and 17 e. from Pickering; situate on the shore of the German ocean. It is supposed to have derived its name from Scear, a rock, and Burgh, a fortified place. The situation is peculiarly beautiful and picturesque, the town being built on the declivity of a high steep rock, near which are huge craggy cliffs and impending promontories. The streets are handsome and spacious -- the new buildings on the cliff stand almost unrivalled in extent of prospect, having in front a beautiful terrace elevated nearly 100 feet above the level of the sands. The principal object of attraction, however, is unquestionably the castle, the venerable ruins of which stand on a projecting eminence at the eastern end of the town, 300 feet high on the southern and 330 on the northern side, above the level of the sea ; presenting a vast range of perpendicular rocks, completely inaccessible ; its western aspect likewise exhibits a steep and rocky slope, commanding the town and bay. The approach to it is by a gateway on the summit of a narrow isthmus, on the western side ; and above the town, without the ditch, is an outwork, which was the ancient Barbican, and under it a very deep fosse, extending along the whole line of the wall. The keep or dungeon is a very lofty square tower, the walls of which are twelve feet thick. Upon the whole this ancient castle, before the invention of artillery, was absolutely impregnable. The situation here for bathing is delightful ; the sand is clear, smooth and level ; no considerable river dilutes the brine, and the sea in the month of August is many degrees cooler than at Brighton. The town possesses the double attraction of sea bathing and mineral waters. The spaws consist of chalybeate and saline springs ; the waters of these wells are a compound of vitriol, iron, alum, nitre and salt, and are both purgative and diuretic. For the more convenient access to the spaw, an elegant bridge has been erected, which bestrides the wide chasm through which the stream called the Mill beck flows, and connects the two lofty dissevered cliffs. The bridge is of iron, resting on stone pillars of great altitude, forming four arches : the length of the bridge, including the abutments, is 414 feet, its width in the centre 13.5 feet, and its height 75 feet ; it was opened with great pageantry on the 19th July 1827, and constitutes one of the chief ornaments of Scarborough. Tickets for a week, fortnight, month or season, are obtained of the bridge keeper, which entitle persons to the use of the waters, and to parade the bridge, walk and spaw. Amongst other improvements that this town has received of late years, has been the formation of a reservoir, capable of containing 4000 hogsheads of water ( which is covered by a dome) for the supply of the town. A company has been formed for lighting the town with gas, and the works are now in progress to be ready against the next season. A crescent of houses, of a very elegant description in a commanding situation is in course of erection ; and new buildings to a considerable extent are now being raised in other parts of the town. A railway, to join the Leeds and Selby one, is contemplated, and, if perfected, will afford great facility to the western parts of the county, in the exportation and importation of goods to and from the different ports in the Baltic and the opposite coasts. Ship building and the manufacture of sail cloth are the principal trades here ; a few coal mines are in the neighbourhood, and many stone quarries ; but Scarborough is chiefly indebted to its celebrity as a watering place for the prosperity and consequence it enjoys. A slip way, for the repair of ships upon Mr. Morton's plan, is projected, which will be a great accommodation, as there are no docks in the place ; the port is also likely to have the advantage of bonding warehouses for spirits, and a bonding yard for timber, applications having been made to the board of customs for that purpose. The number of vessels belonging to Scarborough in 1830 was 168, the tonnage 27,711, number of seamen 1,415 ; in 1831, number of vessels 167, tonnage 27,637, seamen 1,413 ; and in 1832, number of vessels 168, tonnage 27,734, seamen 1,413. The number of cargoes of timber imported in 1830 was eight ; in 1831, five ; and in 1832, nine ; principally from North America and the Baltic.

The borough received a charter of incorporation from Henry 2nd, which was ratified and extended by succeeding monarchs. The officers of the corporate body are, two bailiffs, two coroners, four chamberlains, a recorder and thirty six common councilmen, assisted by a town clerk and subordinate officers. The bailiffs are annually chosen by the common council, and are justices of the peace within the borough. Courts of session are held quarterly, by the corporation, for the trial of all offences not capital ; and a manorial court monthly, for the recovery of debts to any amount. The town hall is a commodious building, in which the several courts are held, and the public business of the borough transacted. This town has sent members to parliament since the twenty sixth year of the reign of Edward 1st : the right of election, since the passing of the Reform Bill, is in the occupiers of houses in the borough of the annual value of 10.; comprising a constituency of about 420 ; the sitting members (returned at the general election in 1832) are Sir John Vanden Bempte Johnstone, Bart. and Sir George Cayley, Bart. The limits of the borough, as defined by the new Boundary Act (an appendage to the Reform Bill), comprise the parish of Scarborough, together with the extra parochial precinct of Scarborough castle. By the same act, Scarborough is appointed one of the stations for receiving votes at the election of members for the North Riding.

The parish church of St. Mary, was formerly a spacious and magnificent pile ; the ruins in the eastern part of the church yard, the dismembered appearance of the western end, the subterraneous arches, and the great quantity of foundation stones discovered in the new burial ground, sufficiently prove that the church, in its present state, is only a small part of a vast edifice ; the living is a vicarage, in the patronage of Lord Hotham, and incumbency of the Rev. Michael Miller. There is also Christ church, erected in 1828, situated without the gate : it is in the pointed Gothic style, with a tower and pinnacles ; the stone of which it is built was the gift of Sir John V.B.Johnstone, Bart. The parliamentary commissioners granted 5000. and about 3000. more was raised by subscription. There are also places of worship for Wesleyan methodists, independents, baptists, the society of friends, and Roman catholics. The grammar school here is of obscure origin, the income but trifling, and the number of pupils but few : the Rev. Joseph Skelton is the present master. The Lancasterian schools instruct 228 boys and 106 girls, and the Amicable society have a school which educates and clothes 45 boys and 25 girls ; the latter was founded by Robert North, Esq. in 1729, since when it has been assisted by liberal benefactors, and is, at present, further supported by the contributions of 237 members. As a public charity for the promotion of knowledge among the children of the poor, this establishment reflects the highest credit upon its conductors and supporters : the present master is Mr. John Mitchell. There are other charitable institutions, an alms house and hospitals. The amusement of the inhabitants and its visiters are sought in a theatre, the public rooms, balls, public breakfasts, subscription gardens, &c. ; while the learned and scientific have institutions compatible with their taste. The museum, belonging to the Scarborough philosophical society, is a chaste and classical stone building, of a circular form ; the interior arrangement of that part of the collection comprising the fossil department is upon sloping shelves, according to stratigraphical order, by which means the study of the once intricate science of geology is greatly facilitated. The collection, upon the whole, is highly spoken of. The market is held on Thursday ; and the fairs on Holy Thursday and Old Martinmas day, principally for cattle. The parish of Scarborough (including Falsgrave, the only dependent township), contained, in 1821, 8,533 inhabitants, and in 1831, 8,760."

"FALSGRAVE, a small village and township, in the parish of Scarborough, one mile from that town, is much resorted to by the visiters and inhabitants of Scarborough in the summer, having a subscription pleasure garden, established under the auspices of the Duchess of Leeds. The township contained, in 1821, 345 inhabitants, and in 1831, 391."

[Transcribed by Steve Garton ©2000 from
Pigot's directory (Yorkshire section) 1834]