Historic Scarborough

Places in my books pt. 5

After watching British historical dramas like Poldark and Sanditon that feature scenes of England’s beautiful coastal towns, beaches, and chalky white cliffs, I wanted to write my own Regency-era story at a seaside location. Luckily, I already had the perfect setting: the seaside town of Scarborough.

Scene from Poldark, featuring Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson

Poldark and Demelza definitely gave me some inspiration for my beach scenes

Sanditon, featuring Theo James and Rose Williams.

Does my story need some romantic kissing scenes overlooking the ocean, a la Sanditon? Yes, definitely!

There is a brief mention of Scarborough in Pride and Prejudice as being the place where the Hursts and Caroline Bingley have gone on to after their visit to Pemberley. Thus, when I wrote my variation “Not In Want of a Wife”, I mention that the Hursts have an estate near Scarborough and they take Caroline with them there after Mr. Bingley’s wedding.

Ramsay, T.; Holidaymakers on Scarborough Beach (1770)

This provided the foundation for my upcoming story, “Miss Bingley and the Baron”, which is a companion to “Not In Want of a Wife.”  The story follows Caroline Bingley as she arrives in Scarborough, still disappointed to have lost Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet. However, she immediately sets her sights on the wealthy baron at the estate next to theirs. She meets a man on Lord Connally’s estate whom she presumes to be one of the gardeners, but in actuality, he’s the baron himself. Lord Connally, not wishing to be sought for his fortune and title, gives her the name of his gardener’s son– his best friend who is to become a clergyman– and he begs his friend to pose as him in return. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Scarborough's South Bay Beach, present day

View of Scarborough’s South Bay Beach, present day

In doing research from my story, I naturally had to learn all I could about Scarborough and the surrounding areas. As much as I wish I could afford to take a “research trip” to England right now, I had to settle for what I could find on the internet. Luckily, there is a wealth of information, including “virtual tours” on YouTube. 

Here is the “virtual tour” I took of the road that leads from the harbor across the South Bay beach of Scarborough.

Virtual Walking Tour of Scarborough

I was amazed how many old buildings are still standing in Scarborough including some, like the lighthouse, the spa, and The King Richard III pub, that existed back in 1812.

Another treasure I found during my research was the existence of a small waterfall several miles up the coast right where the Hayburn Wyke river empties into the ocean. Again, virtual tours provided me with the next-best-thing to visiting in person. This spot captured my imagination so fully that I just had to include some scenes where my characters visit this location!

Virtual tour- Hayburn Wyke Falls via the Cleveland Way

Virtual tour- Hayburn Wyke Falls via trail from Hayburn Wyke Inn

I’ll do another post about the real-life estates that inspired the Hursts’ and the baron’s estates, but for now, enjoy some more scenery from beautiful Scarborough.

Scarborough Spa

Scarborough Spa

Scarborough Spa, originally called “Spaw House”. Built in the early 1700s around the natural springs and was a popular place to “take the waters” for one’s health. Today it serves as a concert hall and venue.

In Miss Bingley and the Baron, Mr. Hurst’s mother comes to the spa twice a week to take the waters for her health.

Scarborough Pier Lighthouse. Copyright Allan Harris. Used with attribution. https://www.flickr.com/photos/allan_harris/37655401295/in/photolist-ZntLUP-ZnaHHV-2eGWnrf-2cQcZwL-G6trBz-25FL5Sj-24hCj2Z-MhABES-N7xeKc-EmYDc7-qqduou-23xZydm-MrbDzb-CmBJMd-ZfGsLY-9KwdZb-nW9zNr-FMpBAt-qATzAb-QpaNTS-RjuCUs-YJZXbh-23FHRGy-PyE9NN-Pye5y7-PMRJ12-PG5Q23-MkQ58d-FDgPEr-22rgAqL-27XdaHw-MmRAiZ-Dgd4xW-24KwxpN-ZXYFrD-PU5Znc-oACpC3-UG7tso-XzQYuU-YkxbpC-22Ct2st-27wKF73-YqJbNR-jHybsx-Qjo1Gg-YwX1L5-9w4j3z-e8LvpX-nvv9aV-FkpSQP

Scarborough Pier Lighthouse. Copyright Allan Harris.

The lighthouse at Scarborough Pier dates from 1806. The tower was bombed by the German attacks in 1914, during the first world war, and was subsequently rebuilt in 1931. Today, it serves as the headquarters of the Scarborough Yacht Club.

I originally wanted to write a scene where Miss Bingley and company visit the lighthouse, but in the end, in the interest of time, it got cut down to a single line mentioning the lighthouse.

King Richard III’s House

The house is said to be where King Richard III, also known as Richard Plantagenet, stayed when he came to Scarborough on business during the summer of 1484. The house changed hands several times in the subsequent centuries, serving as everything from a house to a bakery to an engineering shop. It was later converted to a museum, and finally, in 2005, it became a pub and restaurant.

The house was still a private home in 1812, but for the purposes of my story, I had an inn and pub called “The King Richard” as one of the establishments that my male characters like to frequent. Could have been this same house, or it could have been a different pub named after that famous king. Either way, it was too good a spot not to mention in the story.

Sketch showing King Richard III’s House in 1835

Scarborough Castle

Originally the site of a Roman signal station in the fourth century, a castle has stood on this site since the 1100’s, during the Norman period. Kings from Henry II through Richard III used the castle as one of their residences at various times. During the Napoleonic wars, it served as a garrison in case of attack. The castle was heavily damaged during the German bombardment in 1914.

This was another site that was reduced to a single paragraph in Miss Bingley and the Baron. Still, it is a monumental landmark of Scarborough and a lasting piece of history.

Miss Bingley and the Baron will be released on October 18, 2023 and is currently available for pre-order.

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2 responses to “Historic Scarborough”

  1. cindie snyder Avatar
    cindie snyder

    What beautiful pictures! Love the beach and the lighthouse! Can’t wait to read the book! I guess even Caroline Bingley deserves a happily ever after too!lol

  2. Barry Richman Avatar
    Barry Richman

    Outstanding article for historical fiction authors. Thank you.

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