Scarborough Civic Society

Captain Qahn's picture

CIVIC NEWS: SEPTEMBER 2016 Scarborough & District Civic Society , Chairman’s Report by Adrian Perry
"You’re receiving this Newsletter a bit earlier than usual but that is because we wanted to ensure that you got information about Heritage Open Days in good time. This year’s programme which has been organised by Scarborough Museums Trust has some very interesting new participants and it is well worth taking the time to plan how you will be able to get the most out of this exciting free event. It’s also worth remarking on how many other organisations have founder members who are also members of our society, such as Ayton Castle, Dean Road Chapel, and the Parcels Office; volunteers working along with others to make the objectives of our society a reality.

The weather station which is next to the police box on Sandside was in need of repair so we commissioned a local sign writer to work along with Roger Burnett, the council’s Community Environment Officer and bring the board back to life. The result is below and you can see it presented quite a challenge to Stephen Parnaby our photographer. The new Perspex glass is so shiny that the reflections in the photo don’t really do the object justice, so take a look next time you’re on Sandside. The Weather Station is kindly up dated by Harbour Control and is really needed now the Tourist Information Centre is closed.

The completion of the DDA access to the Anne Brontë grave is an achievement to celebrate and shows how sometimes you have to have patience and persistence to get things done. Perhaps the restoration of the Queen Victoria statue requires the same attitude and we are still hopeful of getting the required funding so watch this space.  After what seemed a very long delay the weather has improved and I hope tat you are able to enjoy what looks like being a summer to remember. I hope to see you at some of the forthcoming Civic Society events.

Planning Report by Richard Ward
It’s been rather quiet on the planning front for the last few months. Apart from the weekly clamour to replace “proper” windows with uPVC versions of course. Perhaps the evertightening of the money supply and the uncertainties of the “post-Brexit” world are having an effect in Scarborough. There is nothing new to report, so I will update on matters previously recorded. I can tell you that the mysterious shade of grey paint to be applied to the ground floor exterior of The Pickwick Inn
on the corner of Huntriss Row and Falconers Road proved to be what I call black. However, it has to be said that the building is now looking a lot nicer following its refurbishment. The shop on the opposite side of Huntriss Row is in course of refurbishment as I write and currently has a “light grey” colour scheme. There is no sign of the proposed extension to Kepwick House and the approved development on the land adjoining Seraphis Court has presumably been delayed by the negotiations required for the formation of a pre-requisite Section 106 Agreement. Planning permission was granted in April, but it was conditional on the developer entering into a formal agreement covering such matters as providing funds for “affordable development” elsewhere. The ex-Blockbuster Video Shop at 113 Falsgrave Road has now been fitted out as an “adult gaming centre” (to which we objected) and is recruiting staff ready for opening. The new Lidl store at Seamer Road is presently under construction. The new Waterpark has now opened and it is to be hoped that the Council’s confidence in it being a top UK attraction and income earner is justified. Welcome it may be in some quarters, but one cannot but sympathise with the residents of the former Burniston Barracks site who now have to live with the gaudy colour scheme, the noise and the smells on a daily basis. And finally, the Council’s Planning Department has been beavering away on the new Local Plan and the hearings into its soundness are presently being conducted at the Town Hall by a Planning Inspector called William Fieldhouse.

It has been suggested in some quarters that,  because of our over-crowded roads and the cost of maintaining cars, we will be weaned away from car ownership. Instead, when we wish to undertake a journey, we will summon a driverless vehicle to take us to our destination and deposit us there. No garage will be required at home (how will this affect our future dwelling places?); no car park will be required at our destination (what will we do with all the space vacated by car parks?). For further speculation on the future of transport, you might like to read the article “Mobility transformed: Leeds at mid-century” by the Leeds Civic Trust Futures Group in the Spring 2016 edition of the YHACS Newsletter, Society Insight, accessible on
our website on the Downloads page.  Several other civic societies in our region have now set up “Futures Groups”, small groups of members who meet to consider what their towns are likely to look like in 20 or 40 years’ time and how their civic societies should be thinking and acting now in terms of shaping our towns for the years to come. They accept that they may not be around to see it, but that as well as respecting their forbears, they also have a duty to future generations as their children and grandchildren certainly will. One or two of us are proposing to form such a group and I would be delighted to hear from you if you are interested in joining it and becoming a visionary.

Scarborough & District Civic Society aims are: To promote civic pride in the beauty, history and character of Scarborough and its surroundings. To take an active interest in maintaining those features on which the character of the town depends.
To encourage high quality developments which lead to an improved living and working environment for us to enjoy. To act as a co-ordinating body and to co-operate with the local authorities, planning committees, and persons having aims similar to those of the Society. It may come as a shock to some, but a civic society is not, primarily, a preservation body. Yes, it has a concern for the past, but that must never be its sole purpose. In another civic society with which I am involved, they have a simple mantra which states “We spend as much time looking forward as looking back”.  A civic society’s aim is to “manage” the future of its town and it cannot do this unless it considers past, present and future. If it only seeks to preserve its old buildings and its old ways, it is merely creating a museum, not a thriving modern town. If it only reacts to what is happening now, it engages in a game of “catch up” with the actions and plans of others, such as the local council. The Civic Society was a strong supporter of “The Street” located at William Street car park and providing services for the young people of the town. When we respond to proposals for development of any kind, perhaps instead of looking backwards to “how things used to be”, we should be thinking ahead. An example of this was the Society’s comment on the proposal to develop the empty site on Vernon Road where we stated the following: “Although we have some reservations about this development in a Conservation Area, on balance we applaud the applicant's intentions for a difficult site. It makes sense economically and will remove an eyesore. We feel the use of brick is sensible and the differing levels respect the adjoining properties. We were particularly impressed by the exemplary Design and Access statement and its supporting documentation”. We may not like it, but we live in a fast-changing world. Take the matter of driverless cars mentioned in the last Newsletter for example. They are talked about, we see pictures of them, and there is no doubt that eventually they will come to our roads, although not all of us will be here to see them!

Review of “The History of Seamer” - a talk by Sheila McGeown (10/5/16) by Mark Smith
Two things held me enthralled at Sheila McGeown’s talk for the Society on 10th May. First, the rich and fascinating story of Seamer itself (over 9,000 years of settlement and habitation) and - not least - the supremely capable speaker herself.
Sheila’s deep interest for the subject, her indepth knowledge and measured delivery, was a text book example of what makes a first class presentation. Few frills, no tricks – but facts, intelligent analysis and inspired interpretation: we were hooked!
The story of our hunter-gatherer forebears and neighbours was brought vividly to life, informing us that Scarborough is very much the new kid on the block… Seamer arrived first. And, like New York, they named it twice – “sea” and “mer” referring to the glacial lake whose shores shrank over time to reveal the gentle and broad valley we know today. The Vale of Pickering has been continuously inhabited “throughout most of the period of written history”, but before then (in effect pre-1066) the research is archaeology based. And Star Carr, Seamer, proved to be fertile ground for the history detectives… the soil has given up artefacts and objects in abundance, from the small sharpened flints – microliths - fashioned by the Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, to the bones of their prey (deer, elk, auroch and pig as well as smaller mammals such as beaver, fox and hare).  The sheer number of finds implies a large and thriving community. Discoveries of beads (most probably used for personal ornamentation) and stag skulls, skilfully worked and fashioned, imply that appearance and ritual were part of their sophisticated culture. And all this from 3,500 or more years ago, until the hunter-gatherers gradually became farmers and their way of life changed for ever. An artist’s reconstruction of life at Star Carr, where excavations have uncovered evidence of a thriving Mesolithic settlement These objects, and the story behind them, lay hidden through all the years of subsequent settlement and were ancient long before the birth of Christ. The written word sheds light on more recent times – but the piecing together of  the history of one of Britain’s most important Mesolithic settlements through the discovery of
seemingly disparate finds, is something in which Sheila obviously revels. She chose to end her talk not in the present, but before the entire tale was told. We were left with much to think about, and this first part clearly whetted our appetites for more. We look forward to Part Two in due course… “A History of Seamer in the County of North Yorkshire” by Sheila McGeown (2015) is published in paperback by Blackthorn Press at £12.95.

Scarborough & District Civic Society
P O Box No. 151, Scarborough, YO12 4YJ
Registered Charity No. 260615
Society Events 2016  Civic Society Meetings are in the small meeting room at the Library on Vernon Road at 2.30 p.m. (unless otherwise indicated)  There is a charge of £2 per head at Society Meetings KEEP IN TOUCH with the Society by visiting our Website"

HERITAGE OPEN DAYS : 8-11 September

9th - 10th September : Sir George Cayley's Workshop aka "the Father of Aviation" the workshop is where he conducted research into aerodynamics. High Street, Bromtpn by Sawdon. 

10th - 11th September : Scarborough Art Gallery, houses 60 years art collection situated in Crescent Gardens.

9th & 10th September : Londesborough Lodge, recently transformed by Kagyo Samye Dzong, a Buddhist charity into a communtiy centre, at Crescent Gardens.

10th September : Raincliffe Woods Archaelogical Discoveries - a two hour guided walk.

8th - 11th September : Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre, 'the seafaring history of Scarborough'   at 45 Eastborough.

10th - 11th September : North Bay Railway Engine Shed, a tour and cheap ride.

10th September : Masonic Hall, a display about Freemasonry, 14 St Nicholas Cliff.

10th September : Trinity House, 'one of only four Trinity houses in the country, Sepulchre Street.

11th September : West Ayton Castle, a walk and tour including the tower and undercroft.  (Meet at interpretation Board Mill Green)

9th September : St Andrews Church, boasts a model of medieval Scarborough with heritage Chapel.  Ramshill Road

8th, 9th,11th September: Castle by the Sea, former home of J A Grimshaw.  Mulgrave Place

8th & 9th September : Scarborough Jail, a Grade II 19th C listed jail. Dean Road

8th & 9th September : Hollywood Plazza, originally the North Bay Picture House ... where is the Wurlitzer Organ? North Marine Road.

8th September : B Bernard & Sons (Funeral directors) 'demystifying death' chapel of rest, arranging room and mortuary...

11th September : Dean Road Chapel, the refurbished chapel and dead house with WWI themed quilts. 

Kerching? Itching to retire ... one way streets or all things geeky ;-)

Oh, OK:

Long tooths...




Benefitz Betty's picture


"New evidence suggests that the famous fossilised human ancestor dubbed "Lucy" by scientists died falling from a great height - probably out of a tree.

CT scans have shown injuries to her bones similar to those suffered by modern humans in similar falls.

The 3.2 million-year-old hominin was found on a treed flood plain, making a branch her most likely final perch.

It bolsters the view that her species - Australopithecus afarensis - spent at least some of its life in the trees....

In particular they point to a crushed shoulder joint, of the sort seen when we humans reach out our arms to break a fall, as well as fractures of the ankle, leg bones, pelvis, ribs, vertebrae, arm, jaw and skull.

"We weren't there - we didn't see it - but the subset of fractures that we've identified are fully consistent with what's reported in a voluminous orthopaedic surgical literature about fall victims who have come down from height," said lead author John Kappelman from the University of Texas at Austin.

"It's tested every day in emergency rooms all around the planet."

Discovered in Ethiopia's Afar region in 1974, Lucy's 40%-complete skeleton is one of the world's best known fossils. She was around 1.1m (3ft 7in) tall and is thought to have been a young adult when she died.

Her species, Australopithecus afarensis, shows signs of having walked upright on the ground and had lost her ancestors' ape-like, grasping feet - but also had an upper body well-suited to climbing.

Window of opportunity

The bones of this well-studied skeleton are in fact laced with fractures, like most fossils. But with modern tools such as high-resolution CT scanners, researchers can start to unpick which ones were injuries and which ones happened during the intervening millennia.

"These fractures have been known since she was discovered," Prof Kappelman told BBC News. "I've looked at this fossil for 30 years and I knew that these fractures were there...

"A fatal fall also fits with the fact that Lucy's tiny first rib is broken. This bone is small and heavily protected, Prof Kappelman explained; if it's fractured, you're having a bad day.

"When you look at rib fractures, the first rib is the most rarely fractured. It take a high amount of chest trauma...

"But the shattered top of the fossilised humerus bone - Lucy's upper arm - is the most compelling piece of the puzzle.

"If our hypothesis stands up… it tells us that Lucy was conscious when she reached out her arms to break her fall," said Prof Kappelman.

The researchers even used their scans to 3D print Lucy's humerus and discuss it with orthopaedic surgeons. So far, they have all agreed.

"At this point I'm nine from nine," Prof Kappelman said of his blind tests on unsuspecting bone doctors, adding that he printed out the bones in an enlarged form so that they appeared human.

"Everybody agrees this is a fall from height."

"People die from falls. People fall off ladders and die of head injuries - it doesn't have to have been a really tall tree," she said.

"[But] we certainly think the area where she was living was treed at the time."

Prof Chris Stringer, from London's Natural History Museum, said the idea of a tree fall was a good fit with our understanding of how Australopithecus afarensis lived.

"They could have been in trees some of the time for feeding, nesting, or protection," he said.

"If Lucy had young, for example, trees would certainly have been a safer option than the ground when predators were around."



Captain Black's picture

Pickering 'A Hot Spot'


"The scheme, completed in September 2015, combines Natural Flood Management (NFM) measures such as woody debris dams, riparian tree planting, moorland management and drain blocking in the upper catchment, with a 120,000m3 flood water storage bund (dam) 1.5 miles above the town, which treats the problem at its source, rather than with intrusive and expensive walls at locations where damaging floods occur."


"This is simply a diversion tactic to mask the fallout from Mr Corbyn’s re-election. Don Valley MP Caroline Flint, a former Shadow Energy Secretary of note, said Labour simply can’t oppose policies without putting forward alternatives while Kate Hoey, another moderate voice of reason, questioned the lack of consultation.

Even those trade unions who do support Mr Corbyn were sceptical – they want Labour, supposedly the party of workers, to be doing far more to champion manufacturing and influence the Brexit debate."

Comment of the week:

"What's wrong with burning wood? Mankind survived for hundreds of thousands of years by burning wood - vote Labour and chop down a tree!"