Glorious opening of the Rotunda is celebrated again

editorial image

The glorious opening of Scarborough’s famous Rotunda museum was relived with a celebration toast and cake, just as it was in August 1829.

The birthday weekend event included distribution of its strategic plan 2017-2022 and a talk by author Roger Osborne and the changing experiences offered by museums.

Scarborough's Rotunda Museum have a fossil fun day . Bertrum Buckley ventures close to the jaws of a T Rex. .pic Richard Ponter  171403d

Scarborough's Rotunda Museum have a fossil fun day . Bertrum Buckley ventures close to the jaws of a T Rex. .pic Richard Ponter 171403d

Among the guests were Lord Derwent, who supported the Rotunda’s refurbishment in 2008 and whose family gave much support to pioneering geologist William Smith, one of the museum creators who lived for a time at the corner of Bar Street.

Lord Derwent’s housekeeper Maddy Cooke made a stunning cake in the shape of the Rotunda and grounds – maintaining a link with the original opening celebration when a model measuring 2ft and 3ft was made by local confectioner Mr Gray.

On that occasion there were fine desserts, delicacies of the season and excellent wines for 62 gentleman who from 4pm to late in the night held more than 60 toasts, including those to the king, Scarborough-born aviation pioneer Sir George Cayley, inventor Samuel Cropton, William Smith himself, and the Archbishop of York.

The new cake, alongside a cake made by bakers Cooplands with a picture of the original building, was cut by Margery Pindar, whose birthday coincided with the celebration attended by trustee Professor Peter Rawson, Rotunda Geology Group, and representatives of the Field Naturalist Society, Archaeological and Historical Society and Photographic Society.

Jane Glaister, Scarborough Museums Trust interim chief executive officer, said: “Over the past 12 months the trust has developed a new strategic plan and a three-year programme of exhibitions and events.

“For the first time in 10 years we will be introducing temporary exhibitions into the Rotunda – so in September we will be dismantling the dinosaur gallery – preparing it for the installation of our first temporary exhibition, Jurassic Seas.

“We now have eight key annual events, one of which is the Rotunda birthday event which will be held every August Bank Holiday weekend to celebrate the opening as well as to acknowledge the importance of local societies in its building and development – and for Scarborough Museums Trust to reconnect with the 21st century manifestations of those groups, celebrating the work that they do today.”

Mr Osborne, who is a leading light at highly-regarded Pannett Park Museum, Whitby, and author the Floating Egg and The making of the Industrial Revolution, discussed the cultural context of museums which, he said, should now concentrate on offering rich experiences to inspire thought and creativity.