Scarborough's historic Old Scalby Mills pub reopens after £110,000 refurbishment with an entirely new interior

One of Scarborough's oldest pubs has reopened after closing for nine weeks and a £110,000 refurbishment.

By George Buksmann
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 12:00 pm
Scarborough's Old Scalby Mills pub at the Sea Cut in the North Bay.
Scarborough's Old Scalby Mills pub at the Sea Cut in the North Bay.

The Old Scalby Mills pub at the Sea Cut closed on January 9 for what was supposed to be two and a half weeks and cost £30,000, before running into difficulties and the bills started piling up, said 73-year-old landlord Keith Dufton.

"We hadn't intended doing everything in the pub, but once you start doing a couple of things it points out what else is shabby. So in the end, we thought if we're gonna do it, let's do it right," he said.

The pub, which was converted from a watermill by 1854, has been completely refurbished with an entirely new interior. The seating has been replaced with high-back booths for more privacy, fresh paint and white ceilings, new lighting and a light oak-effect throughout with both bars given a distinctive theme: nautical and TV, film and theatre, in reference to Mr Dufton's former career as a film and theatre critic.

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Landlord and owner Keith Dufton pulls a pint behind the new bar.

The reopening date was delayed after the discovery that a kitchen wall was rotten and had collapsed, and needed to be replaced, in addition to rewiring the building.

It is the largest refurbishment project the pub has undergone since Mr Dufton began leasing the site in 2003, which he later bought in 2015. He has previously opted for a "piecemeal" approach to renovation work to the pub, which is not listed, as "what we didn't want to do was destroy what the charming old place does have, but we did want to take it into the 21st Century."

The rise of inflation and squeeze on the cost of living is "worrying", Mr Dufton said, but he is hopeful for a busy summer and good weather.

"Everything we do has to be geared around those two months in the summer when we take a disproportionate amount of money for the size of the place. But that's got to keep us through the winter when for a couple of months we could actually lose money.

The interior of the pub has been completely replaced with high-back booth seating.

"The first big indicator of whether we've got problems or whether we're going to be OK will be Easter. If the visitors don't come in the droves like they normally do, we're going to be in trouble, but hopefully they will," he added.

The new design of the pub was the work of co-director Samantha, without whose "tremendous" input with a "lovely eye for detail" Mr Dufton would have been unable to achieve the finish to the interior.

"I'm thrilled because it does look lovely. It's a space I personally like to be in again," Mr Dufton said. "If I'm feeling that way, hopefully, lots of other people will feel that way too.

"We're very pleased with the overall finish and virtually all of the comments we've had on Facebook have agreed."

The pub's interior has been given a new, fresh paint job with a light oak-effect throughout.