Regal Lady to be centrepiece of new Scarborough Harbour attraction with Dunkirk theme

The Regal Lady
The Regal Lady

A new Dunkirk-themed attraction is to be located in Scarborough harbour.

Scarborough Council’s cabinet member for Major Projects, Cllr Mike Cockerill, will be asked on Friday to approve the use of the harbour.

The Regal Lady took part in the Dunkirk evacuation

The Regal Lady took part in the Dunkirk evacuation

The attraction will make use of the Regal Lady, a boat which was one of the 700 Dunkirk Little Ships which made the trip across the Channel in 1940.

A second, smaller boat will also be used to take trips out of the harbour.

A report to go before Cllr Cockerill fills in what will happen with the new attraction.

It states: “Local business Scarborough Pleasure Steamers Ltd, operator of the national historic vessel Regal Lady, is for sale [and there is a] proposal from a potential new company owner.

“The potential purchaser aspires to provide a unique year-round Dunkirk-themed visitor experience to Scarborough. Suggesting it would appeal to all markets including school groups, special interest groups as well as locals and visitors to the borough.

“The proposer suggests that ‘visitors whilst wanting to enjoy the environment very much want to have experience based and hands-on activity holidays’ [and] being able to see, sense and experience a Dunkirk- themed attraction will fulfil this need.

“The attraction would also fit in with key events that are held across the borough including Seafest, Armed Forces Day, etc, similarly providing a wet weather attraction with the exhibitions, artefacts and cinema being indoors. Importantly it will provide local jobs.

“To secure the Dunkirk experience the proposer requests that following their significant capital investment, the vessel Regal Lady is permitted to remain in Scarborough Harbour.

“The enhanced/refurbished vessel would predominantly be a static display. It is also requested that to allow a ‘complete experience’ intrinsically linked to the attraction, would be an additional accompanying vessel. This would be a small historic vessel similarly themed as a Dunkirk little ship, undertaking sea trips for a maximum of 12 passengers.”

The report adds that the boat will transfer to the new owner in September and will be renamed Regal Lady/Oulton Belle, as it was called when it was part of the Dunkirk fleet.

In total, the boat made three trips to France and rescued more than 1,200 souls. It has been berthed in Scarborough since 1954. Only around 100 of the Little Ships remain.

The Regal Lady attraction, which can currently hold 150 people, will be free to board and will have a licensed cafe on board, the report adds.

Cllr Cockerill will be asked to approve the boat’s stay in the harbour while refurbishment work is undertaken.