Author and broadcaster reveals his favourite things
Dublin-born author and broadcaster Charles White has lived in Scarborough for over five decades.A chiropodist by profession, he is the official biographer to rock n' roll legends Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis and has presented the Dr Rock show on BBC Radio York for the past 25 years.A leading marine conservationist, he is the co-founder of the environmental pressure group The Sons Of Neptune whose local, national and international campaign since 1983 led to fundamental changes in EU legislation in the disposal of sewage and toxic waste into UK and European inshore waters.
Working in London, I had originally intended to emigrate to Canada. Yorkshire was a place I never wanted to go to in my entire life, as in my school geography book it had described the region as a grim industrial nightmare of coal mines, steel works and dank, dismal looking moors. I was reluctantly persuaded by my future wife Ann to accompany her back to her hometown of Scarborough.
To my great surprise, I found paradise.
I love the sea and the spectacular setting of both bays which was to become one of the passions of my life in co-founding the marine conservation group The Sons of Neptune.
This group was established to prevent the irresponsible and obnoxious policy of polluting the coast with raw sewage.
Similarly, I particularly
admire the Robin Hood’s Bay and Ravenscar coastal area for its natural beauty and awe-inspiring landscape.
The Grand Hotel is an impressively opulent Victorian edifice, but I am utterly dismayed that some of our finest architectural heritage has been demolished through crass ignorance and a total lack of foresight. I remain thoroughly disappointed that Scarborough Council has not been a responsible custodian of the assets that it inherited, being completely oblivious to the detrimental impact of its moribund policies on the future prosperity of the town.
Theodore Dalrymple, commenting on Scarborough’s declining architectural legacy in The Spectator, wrote: “It is the short-term commercialism of the kind that a truly commercial nation would not display, combined with the total indifference to aesthetic considerations that years of non-discrimination have made second nature among us”.
The magnificently imposing Castle headland where, during the 1970s, I was involved in staging the Richard III Festival is a walk through significant British history of past centuries and remains the essence of Scarborough’s identity.
Sir Alan Ayckbourn, a man of quiet dignity with a great sense of satire, together with the SJT, both at Westwood and at the former Odeon, have been immense cultural assets, giving the town national and international credibility in the arts.
Cloughton Station Cafe has a charm rarely found today and in addition to being a great place for passing
walkers, is noted for its formidable salmon sandwiches to which I am greatly
Not forgetting our neighbour Whitby, which is a vibrant cultural centre all year round and having retained its character, is far more in touch with present day tourism.
Mother Nature has bestowed upon Scarborough and the surrounding area some of the most outstanding scenery to match anywhere in England.
The North York Moors with its spectacular heather-covered vistas in the summer adds to the overall unique landscape which we are all greatly privileged to live in.