Scarborough was once called The Queen of Watering Places. In my great grandparents time it was a town of beautiful shops and a ‘church parade’ along the cliff top terraces after Sunday service for everyone to view the finery of the female congregation. It’s still a very beautiful place. Two sandy bays linked by a rocky cliff with an ancient castle facing the sea, but some areas are dowdy and Scarborough is no longer a place where the well-to-do visit for a summer of concerts in the bandstand and shows at The Spa.
But I would never denigrate Scarborough, there is lots to do and interesting architecture too including Woodend, the home of the Sitwell’s (Osbert, Edith and Sacheverelle) once a museum and now a ‘creative industries centre’ for artists.
The Italian Gardens sit above the south bay on wooded slopes and have always been one of my favourite places. We went about two weeks ago and sat in the sun. All you could hear was the rhythm of waves on the beach below and really there is no better place in the world to relax and recharge.
C had a treat for us when we return to family in Filey, a guidebook from the early years of the last century with the Italian Gardens looking much as they do now, except the planted urns are missing.
As we walked round the gardens one inscription on a seat resonated. It’s easy to plan ahead and never live in the moment and so it was a timely reminder of the pleasure of ‘now’.
I have just searched for family photos of the gardens but can’t find them so this photo of my family on the beach at Scarborough in the early 1930’s will have to do. They all look rather stern said B, I have it on good authority that they were actually ‘nithered’, a Yorkshire, or maybe Hull word for extremely cold. There may be Italian Gardens and Italian style sunshine in Scarborough but it’s on the north coast of Yorkshire and even in this summer photo everyone is tucked up in warm coats and hats!
All photographs: TheBigForest
Poster image: Duke University Archive