Explore Scarborough's heritage with open days

Castle-by-the-Sea
Castle-by-the-Sea

A varied programme of unusual and fascinating places to visit, including a mortuary, the home of a famous Victorian artist, and the 18th century workshop of the man known as the ‘father of aviation’, is on offer in Scarborough next week as part of the annual Heritage Open Days festival.

The national Heritage Open Days scheme, which runs from September 8 to 11, aims to raise public awareness of the country’s architectural, built, historical and cultural heritage.

Display board at Cayley's workshop

Display board at Cayley's workshop

Buildings throughout the UK that are either not usually open to the public, or that usually charge admission, will open for free. There is also a programme of guided walks and events.

In Scarborough, the Heritage Opens Days weekend is organised by Scarborough Museums Trust, supported by the borough council, Scarborough and District Civic Society and Scarborough Archaeological and Historical Society.

Some of the venues are listed below (booking not required unless stated):

Sir George Cayley’s workshop, Brompton-by-Sawdon: The 18th century workshop of the man who invented the concept of the aeroplane. Includes a prototype model of the glider he flew across Brompton Dale in 1853.

9 and 10 September, 11am to 3pm

The Rotunda Museum: One of the first purpose-built museums in the world, opening in 1829. Now home to Gristhorpe Man, a unique Bronze Age skeleton, the Speeton plesiosaur and a new display on the internationally significant Mesolithic site Star Carr.

10 and 11 September, 10am-5pm

Scarborough Art Gallery: An Italianate villa built in the late 1840s which houses Scarborough’s permanent art collection, including works by Atkinson Grimshaw, Robert Ernest Roe and John Armstrong.

10 and 11 September, 10am-5pm

Woodend: a Grade II listed building, home to the Sitwell family from 1870. Recently refurbished, it now includes a beautiful art gallery and the carefully preserved Sitwell Library.

8 and 9 September, guided tours at 1pm, booking required

Londesborough Lodge: Built in the 1830s and in 1853 acquired by Lord Londesborough who entertained the future King Edward VII there. Now a community centre run by Buddhist charity Kagyu Samye Dzong.

9 and 10 September, guided tours at 2pm, booking required

Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre: Founded in 2004, the Centre documents the seafaring history of the town; now in a new home at 45 Eastborough.

8 to 11 September, 11am-4pm

North Bay Railway: Tours of the engine shed with a free talks, guide book and return train ride for just £2.

10 and 11 September, 10.30am, 11.30am, 2pm, 3pm.

Raincliffe Woods Archaeological Discoveries: During the recent mapping of the Woods, it’s been discovered that this is an area of significant archaeological and historical interest. This two-hour walk includes steep slopes and goes off-footpath – stout footwear required.

10 September, 10.30am and 2pm. Booking required

Masonic Hall: Converted in 1884 from a private house, and still in use today as a Masonic meeting place. Includes a display on Freemasonry.

10 September, 10am-4pm

Trinity House: Scarborough’s Grade II listed Trinity House is on of only four in the country. This is a chance to see the historical courtyard and boardroom.

10 September, 10am-4pm

Ayton Castle: A tour including rare access to the tower and undercroft – stout footwear recommended. Meet at the interpretation board on Mill Green.

11 September, 10am, 1pm, 3pm. Booking required

Scarborough Jail: A prison from 1866-1878, the interior is preserved as it would have been then. The tour includes the cells and old chapel and involves steep steps and uneven floors, so not suitable for wheelchairs or buggies.

8 and 9 September, 11am. Booking required

St Andrew’s Church: A Grade II listed church with a model of medieval Scarborough and a beautiful heritage chapel.

9 September, 10am-3pm

Castle-by-the-Sea: Home to Victorian artist John Atkinson Grimshaw from 1876 to 1879, includes hand-painted tiles designed by the artist himself.

8, 9 and 11 September, noon to 4pm

B. Bernard and Sons: A guided tour of one of Scarborough’s longest-standing funeral homes, including the workshop, chapel of rest, arranging room and mortuary.

8 September, 11am and 2pm; 10 September, 11am. Booking required

Dean Road Chapel: A refurbished chapel and ‘dead house’; includes exhibitions of WWI-themed quilts, and research on the WWI military remembered in Dean Road Cemetery.

11 September, WWI graves guided walk at 11.30am; heritage tree walk at 12.30pm. Booking required

Hollywood Plaza: The former North Bay Picture House opened in 1918, but later became a garage before being reconverted to a cinema in the 1980s.

8 and 9 September, 11am. Booking required

To book places on any of the events, call Scarborough Art Gallery on 01723 374753 between 10am and 5pm, Tuesdays to Sundays.

For further information on Heritage Open Days nationally: heritageopendays.org.uk