EVEN AS late as 1828, Scarborough town was still largely confined to its medieval boundaries drawn more than 600 years earlier.
Beyond Newborough Bar, Falsgrave Walk (not yet Westborough) led to open countryside, On both sides of Bull Lane (Aberdeen Walk to be) after Houson’s Hotel (the Bull) there were ploughed fields. On the east side beyond Huntriss Row, Vernon Place and Brunswick Terrace, there were closes and gardens all the way up to the Pavilion.
Both sides of St Nicholas Cliff were now occupied by terraces of numbered boarding houses, but what was soon to become the Crescent was an extensive field belonging to John Tindall, the shipbuilder. Victoria Road, then unnamed, ran through Scarborough Common.
On the North side, outside the New Dyke was the Seamen’s Hospital (now the Fire Station) on Greengate, the road to Whitby. Castle Road was still called High Tollergate. Two windmills stood on open ground: one called Albion on the North Cliff, the other called Greengate, at the end of today’s Mill Street. Two roperies ran along the line of what has become Queen’s Terrace and opposite what we know as Rutland Terrace.
The Spa Cliff footbridge had been opened the previous year, but it led only to the Spa wells and the Spa saloon, for those who could afford its tolls. Below it, the Rotunda museum, also very new, stood in conspicuous isolation, and still without wings.
In the absence of Valley Bridge, the Ramsdale was the only road to Bridlington and the south. Millbeck still ran partly above ground into South Bay. Near Plantation House in the Valley a mill dam served the motive power needs of the middle mill.
Needless to say, South Cliff was just that and made up of farmed fields such as Elriggs (Prince of Wales Terrace), Cote Green (Royal Crescent), Nightingale Closes (the Garlands), South Field and Wheatcroft, all the way to White Nab, the Liberty’s coastal boundary marker.
Yet by 1852, when the first Ordnance Survey of the town was published, Scarborough’s spread was well underway. On the North side, a long row of tall terraced houses stretched down the east side of Greengate from the Albion windmill to the Queen Hotel. They were then called North Marine Terrace. All had long gardens in front of Greengate and behind to Peasholm Lane, overlooking North Cliff.
Rutland Terrace was finished and Mulgrave Terrace in the course of construction. Wilson’s Mariners’ Asylum now stood opposite Nesfield’s brewery and the Anglican National school faced the Amicable Society’s school across Wellington Place.
Further down Castle Road, as it was now called, on one side there were working-class terraced houses in William, George and Regent Streets and in Silver, Clarence and Sussex Streets on the other. Regent was named after the Prince Regent (1810-20), George after George IV (1820-30) and William after William IV (1830-37).
The town had at last a new gaol, where women, men and boys were separately accommodated, to replace the insanitary, cramped quarters of Newborough Bar. It was built on the land opposite the Merchant Seaman’s Hospital with its back to Richard III’s wall.
Between North Street and Aberdeen Walk, another new name, rows of new houses had gone up beyond the Newborough dyke with names such as Aberdeen Terrace, St John’s Road, Union, Bedford and Albert Streets. Swan Hill had become a road when for many centuries past it had been in open country. The Aberdeen addresses were named after George Hamilton Gordon, the fourth earl (1784-1860). A Scottish-born Tory, Aberdeen had been foreign secretary in Peels’ government (1841-6) and prime minister since 1852. The Crimean war ruined his reputation and forced his retirement in 1855. As a model landlord he was said to have planted 14 million trees on his estate. Albert, the name of Queen Victoria’s German consort, was to become a familiar, much employed name in Scarborough.
Without the Bar, superior accommodation was going up on the road to Falsgrave village. York Place was finished and led straight to Belvoir Terrace and the first houses in the Crescent. And on the east side of Crescent Gardens along Villa Road there were now Wood End, Crescent Villa (later Broxholme and now the Art Gallery), Warwick House (Londesborough Lodge) and East Villa, all detached, grand mansions, each with its own extensive, private gardens, overlooking Mill Lane. And by 1852, thanks to the new railway which arrived at the same time as plentiful supplies of piped clean water from Cayton Bay in 1845, South Cliff was already becoming an exclusive suburb for the well-to-do visitor. On the cliff above the new Spa Saloon (1839) now stood the majestic Crown Terrace and at its centre the Crown Hotel. What had been Driple Cotes was now the Esplanade.
The success of the Crown’s first owner-manager, John Fairgray Sharpin (1821-95) in making it the best hotel in the north of England ensured the rapid development of South Cliff. Sharpin revived the attractions of the former Assembly Rooms and to them added modern services such as “hot, cold and shower baths” and games such as billiards. In 1853, at the age of 31, he was elected mayor of Scarborough, the youngest ever to hold that office. By then South Cliff’s Belmont Terrace, Albion Road, Alfred Street and Prince of Wales Crescent were already begun and named.