John Westgarth ready with his photographic work.John Westgarth ready with his photographic work.
John Westgarth ready with his photographic work.

IN PICTURES: Scarborough Studios transform pub into new space for artists and creatives

Here’s a selection of photos showing the transformation happening inside the Scarborough based Shakespeare pub, changing it into a welcoming environment for artists to showcase their work.

In an inspiring effort to rejuvenate communities and bolster the town’s thriving arts scene, Scarborough Studios CIO, the organisation behind the Old Parcels Office Artspace, has started a transformative initiative centred around Scarborough’s Old Town.

After nearly a year of negotiations, Scarborough Studios has secured leases from North Yorkshire Council for multiple properties, including the former Shakespeare pub.

The historic building will be repurposed as a gallery and exhibition space on the ground floor, with creative studios upstairs.

The old newsagent’s shop next door, with its unique glazed, folding wall, will become a second exhibition space and media studio.

The initiative also encompasses the long-closed sandwich shop on Newborough and the flat above it.

Both flats will be made available as affordable art studios for around 12 artists or creative practitioners, fostering an environment of support and collaboration.

These will be transformed into Scarborough Bogs; innovative installation spaces for artists’ work, offering a unique viewing experience.

By securing these leases, this initiative aims to turn town centre eyesores into vibrant cultural hubs, preserving the area’s unique character and history.

Andrew Aldis, project manager, said: “There's still a monumental amount of work ahead but we proudly unveiled the gallery at the Shakespeare on June 15. With the almost ceremonial removal of the green, heavy steel door on Friday, the original pub doors were revealed and we welcomed over 100 visitors over the weekend.

"The initial exhibitions, showcased against freshly painted walls, hinted at the potential of the space, however, a glance upward still reveals ceiling holes awaiting patches, and there are quite a few rotten floorboards around the edges. Venture towards the former pub toilets and old landlord's quarters, and there’s significant water damage that still needs addressing.

"By June 22, we aim to have the Gallery space in the old newsagent’s shop ready, and the first exhibition set to open in Scarborough Bogs, the former public toilets.

"With such a short lead-in time, we’ve focussed on making the visible parts presentable, while the hidden challenges remain. There’s much to be done, but we have enthusiasm, a fantastic cohort of artists, and encouraging support from the local community.

"Five local artists have taken up studio space, either in the Shakespeare or the former sandwich shop, eager to be part of the new creative quarter in the town. The project is rapidly gaining momentum, supporting local artists, attracting visitors, enhancing the curb appeal of St. Helen’s Square, and transforming the Old Town into a must-visit destination for tourists and townsfolk alike.

"As for completing the building’s list of outstanding jobs? We'll get there!"

Check out the photos below to the hard workers in action as they transform an unused space into something creative for the Scarborough community to utilise!