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The South Bay at Scarborough



Scarborough lies on the North Sea coast of North Yorkshire, England. The modern town lies 30 to 70 metres above sea level, on limestone cliffs. The older part of the town lies around the harbour and is protected by a rocky headland.

Modern Scarborough has a population approaching 60,000, and is the major holiday resort of the Yorkshire Coast. It is home to residential communities, business, fishing and service industries.


The twon was founded around 966 AD as Skaršaborg by Thorgils Skarthi, a Viking raider. However, the new settlement was soon burned to the ground by a rival band of Vikings under Tosti, Lord of Falsgrave, and Harald III of Norway. The destruction and massacre meant that very little remained to be recorded in the Domesday survey of 1085. Scarborough recovered under King Henry II who built a stone castle on the headland, and granted charters in 1155 and 1163, permitting a market on the sands, and establishing rule by Burgesses.

In the Middle Ages Scarborough Fair held a six week trading festival attracting merchants from all over Europe. It ran from Assumption Day, the 15th of August, until Michaelmas Day, the 29th September. The Fair continued to be held for 500 years, from the eleventh to the eighteenth century, and is referred to by the song of the same name.

Scarborough and its Castle changed hands seven times between royalists and parliamentarians during the English Civil War, of the 1640s, enduring two lengthy and violent sieges. Following this disaster much of the town lay in ruins.

In 1626, a Mrs Farrow discovered a stream of acid water running from one of the cliffs to the south of the town. This gave birth to Scarborough Spa, and attracted a flood of visitors to the town. Scarborough became Britain's first seaside resort, a position boosted with the coming of the railway in the 1840s.


Dramatist Alan Ayckbourn is based in Scarborough where he has lived for a number of years. He has produced some sixty plays in Scarborough and is the artistic director of the famous Stephen Joseph Theatre, where almost all his plays receive their first performance at the theatre.


The town has a small higher education institution, the University of Hull, Scarborough Campus, (formerly North Riding College and University College Scarborough).

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