SCARBOROUGH residents are being urged to explore the history on their doorstep on offer during this year’s Heritage Open Days, which begin tomorrow.
A total of 18 buildings in the town which normally charge for admission or which are usually closed to the public can be visited for free.
They include a masonic hall, an ice-cream factory, the art gallery, two museums and three theatres.
The events aim to raise public awareness of our architectural, built, historical or cultural heritage, and will be on until Sunday.
Heritage Open Days (HOD) was established in 1994 as England’s contribution to European Heritage Days, in which 49 countries now participate.
Most buildings are on or near the seafront – the Futurist Theatre, the Harbour Bar’s ice-cream factory, the Rotunda Museum, the Maritime Heritage Centre, the Spa Theatre and Grand Hall, the Sub Aqua Club, the Yacht Club, the lighthouse and Trinity House.
The others in town are the Masonic Hall in St Nicholas Cliff, Scarborough Art Gallery, Woodend, North Bay Railway, St Andrew’s Church, the Town Hall, St Mary’s Church, Westborough Methodist Church and the Stephen Joseph Theatre.
Several events will take place in Ravenscar. People will be able to visit Raven Hall Hotel, the former peak alum works and a local history exhibition. There will be a couple of walks, one along part of the old Scarborough to Whitby railway, the other looking at what remains of the ambitious plan to create a new town in the early 1900s.
Hunmanby will celebrate its history and culture at a heritage day on Saturday. Visitors will be able to fling wet sponges at vagabonds in stocks, see a local history exhibition, go on guided walks and look around All Saints’ Church and Wrangham House.
Foulbridge Farm, between Snainton and Yedingham, will again be open. This is a 12th century Knights Templar hall in a huge chamber three floors high.
RAF Staxton Wold, which used to be a top-secret air-defence station, will be open to the public, including any passing spies. The site has been used as an early-warning station since the third century, when a warning beacon was positioned there. It was first used as a radar station in 1937.
Other places that will open up their doors include Staintondale Church and St John the Baptist Church in Cayton.
l Booking is required for some venues (see list below); call (01723) 384503.
Foulsbridge Farm - Near Snainton, Listed Grade I
Knights Templar Hall
Friday 9, 6.30pm
This place sends shivers of excitement through anyone interested in Templar buildings, because its great hall still exists, but for a while nobody knew it was there. Maximum 30 people. Booking essential 01723 384503
Harbour Bar ice cream factory - Sandside
Famed for serving some of the best ice cream in the country. See how it’s made. Maximum of 12 per tour. 10am until 4pm Booking essential 01723 384503
Futurist Theatre - Foreshore Road
Friday 9, 11am
The fifth largest theatre in the UK outside of London. Meet in the entrance foyer for a backstage tour. Maximum of 30. Booking essential 01723 384503
Masonic Hall – St Nicholas Cliff
Saturday 10, 10am-4pm open to visit
Converted in 1884 from a private house by architect David Petch. Building possibly has an 18th century core. Legend has it that masonry was practised in Scarborough as far back as 1625.
RAF Staxton Wold, air defence station
Thursday 9 and Friday 10
RAF Staxton Wold has been used as an early warning station since the 3rd century, when it was the site of a warning beacon. It was first used as a radar station in 1937, when it was set up as part of the Chain Home system. It is the only one of the original stations still in use, so can claim to be the oldest continuously serving radar station. Maximum of 6 per tour at 10am, 11am, 1pm & 2pm Booking essential 01723 384503
Rotunda, the William Smith Museum of Geology – Vernon Road Listed Grade II*
Thursday 8 to Sunday 11, 10am to 5pm
The Rotunda is part of Scarborough’s heritage and a landmark within the town.
Saturday 10 only
Balcony tours at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm with Chris Hall, local historian. Maximum of 10 per tour. Not suitable for people with limited mobility. Length of tour 20/30 minutes. Booking essential 01723 384503
Scarborough Art Gallery - The Crescent Listed Grade II*
Thursday 8 to Sunday 11, 10am to 5pm
Friday 9 only
Free attic tours at 10am, noon and 2pm
Maximum of 10 per tour. Not suitable for people with limited mobility. Length of tour about 40 minutes Booking essential 01723 384503
Scarborough Collections – Woodend, The Crescent
Friday 9 only
Store tours at 11am, 1pm and 3pm with Karen Snowden, head of collections, Museums Trust. Maximum of 10 per tour.
Meet in reception at Woodend Creative Workspace. Mobility not a problem. Length of tour about 40 minutes. Booking essential 01723 384503
Maritime Heritage Centre 36 Eastborough
Thursday 8 to Sunday 11, 11am to 4pm open to visit
Learn about Scarborough’s rich maritime heritage
North Bay Railway
Sunday 11, 10am to noon, Tours at 10, 10.30, 11 and 11.30
Behind the scenes tour of the engine sheds of North Bay Miniature Railway.
Meet at the station booking hall in Northstead Manor Gardens. Maximum of 25 people per tour. Booking essential 01723 384503
Town Hall Listed Grade II
Guided tours by conservation officer Chris Hall, at 9.30am, 10.30am and 11.30am. Maximum 20 per tour. Tours last about 45 minutes. Built as a private house in 1852 for John Woodall to designs by architect Henry Wyatt. Greatly extended 1901-02 to form the Town Hall to designs by Harry W Smith, borough engineer. Booking essential on 01723 384503
Yacht Club/Lighthouse - Vincent’s Pier, Listed Grade II
Saturday 10th, 10am
Rebuilt after the 1914 bombardment. Maximum of 30 people. Booking essential 01723 384503
St Andrew’s Church - Ramshill Road, Listed Grade II*
Thursday 8, Friday 9 and Saturday 10, 10am to 4pm
Tours throughout the day. Rated highly by Pevsner and often referred to as the cathedral of Yorkshire congregationalism. A remarkable non-conformist church. Visit the new heritage chapel and view the model of medieval Scarborough which used to be in Woodend.
Thursday 8 only - Chris Hall to give a talk about the model at 2pm
St Mary’s Church - Castle Road, Listed Grade I
Thursday 8, open from 10am to 4pm
A guided tour at 10.30am Maximum of 20 on the tour. Booking essential 01723 384503
Stephen Joseph Theatre - Westborough, Listed Grade II Art Deco
Thursday 9 and Friday 10 1pm
Meet in the entrance foyer for a backstage tour. Booking essential 01723 370541 Maximum
of 25 per tour.
Trinity House – St Sepulchre St, Listed Grade II*
Saturday 10 10am to 4pm open to visit
Founded 1602, this building is one of only four Trinity Houses in the country. Visit the board room and courtyard garden.
Westborough Methodist Church Listed grade II
Thursday 8 to Saturday 10 from noon to 4pm Sunday 11 from 2pm to 4pm
Guides available. Mobility access good. Built in 1862, it is considered to be the best work of local architect William Baldwin Stewart.
Woodend Creative Workspace -The Crescent, Listed Grade II*
Saturday 10, 11am to 3pm open to visit
Home of the Sitwell family for many years. Visit the Sitwell library. The house was the birthplace of Edith Sitwell in 1887 and played a strong role in the literary lives of Sir George Sitwell’s children (Osbert, Edith and Sacheverell).