Tributes to former landlord

Bob Atkinson
Bob Atkinson

A FAMILIAR face from Scarborough’s pub and club scene has died aged 54.

Bob Atkinson was born in Scarborough and lived in the town all his life, working at nightspots such as the Two Bees, Showboat, Rosie O’Grady’s, the White Horse, Trafalgar and Northway.

His full name was Robert Edward Hemmingway Atkinson, with the name Hemmingway traditionally being given to the eldest male child in each generation of the family.

It should have gone to his other brother Mike, but due to a misunderstanding Bob ended up with the honour.

There were six children in the family and as a child Bob was frequently in hospital with asthma.

One summer he was in a convalescence home in Scarborough and his parents arranged for the singer Frankie Vaughan to visit him, as he was appearing in the town.

After attending Scarborough Boys’ High School, Bob went on to work for the gas board, which he enjoyed.

His partner of 12 years, Denise Skelton, said: “He actually pulled his first pint at the gas board club because there was nobody serving behind the bar. I think that set him on the road to working in pubs and clubs.”

After working at various bars he became a steward at the Railway Club and then the landlord at the Northway with his then wife, Jilly Swales.

He was also known for his dancing and was often seen on the dancefloor at the Victoria nightclub, Tiffany’s and Scene One and Two.

Denise, of Grosvenor Crescent, said: “He was a brilliant dancer and everyone always commented on this.”

Bob went on to work for one of the town’s security companies before taking the job of night porter at the Esplanade Hotel, which is where he met Denise.

She said: “He was such a character, always creating laughter wherever he went. He was laid back to the point of falling over! He loved going on holiday and loved Scarborough – he said he could never live anywhere that wasn’t near to the sea.”

He would have been 55 this month and a birthday memorial party is being held in his honour at Soba, South Cliff, on December 17. All his favourite music will be played and everyone is welcome.