Victorian shelter in Scarborough's South Cliff Gardens designed by Frank Tugwell to be restored

A Victorian era seaside shelter in Scarborough is to be restored in order to ensure that it can be enjoyed for generations to come.

The shelter to the rear of Scarborough Spa in the town’s South Bay was designed by noted architect Frank Tugwell in 1897 and gave panoramic views of the bay.

The shelter, which sits within the South Cliff Gardens, was Grade II listed in 2000 but recent inspections have found that the structure is starting to show its age.

A plan to restore and preserve the shelter has now been drawn up and will go before Scarborough Council’s planning committee on Thursday next week, with the plans recommended for approval.

Sheltered Seating, South Cliff Gardens. Picture: Alun Bull, Historic England Archive.
Sheltered Seating, South Cliff Gardens. Picture: Alun Bull, Historic England Archive.

A survey of the shelter, carried out in 2018, found “extensive structural deficiencies” and noted that the building was now leaning towards the sea as the existing columns could not cope with the weight of the roof.

A number of repairs and changes are proposed, including work to be carried out on the roof, steel support beams to be added, exterior benches to be returned to the site, brickwork and joinery repairs, new guttering and the entrance up to the structure is to be widened to allow for wheelchair access to the shelter.

The planning documents drawn up by the council, which is also the applicant, notes: “The level of intervention is high due to the extent of structural works which will be required to retain the existing structure, however, without this level of structural intervention the future of the shelter would be unclear.

“The installation of four steel frames will have a visual impact, and these have been carefully located to line up with the existing structure as much as possible. They are deliberately not concealed, as the intention is for them to exist separately from the historic structure, allowing the original form to be clearly interpreted.”

The report adds: “The reinstatement of the historic external seating design will enable the public to enjoy the seaside surroundings as intended in the original design. Works to improve the accessibility to the structure will enable more people to engage with the wider collection and group value of shelters and structures within the park.”

Historic England and the Garden Trust have raised no concerns about the proposed works.

The repairs are being carried out as part of the £7 million Lottery-funded South Cliff Gardens project which will also include the re-opening of a long-forgotten tunnel beneath the South Cliff Lift as well as work on paths and surfaces to improve drainage and accessibility.

Other works to be undertaken will see a community hub created, a putting green restored, a new play area and toilets installed, the restoration of the Italian Gardens and much more.

The council was successfully awarded a grant of £4,665,700 towards the cost of the project by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Community Fund as part of its Parks for People joint initiative, and has itself contributed £2,041,000.

Councillors will be asked to back the listed building work for the Tugwell shelter when they meet next week.