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You are in: North Yorkshire >I Love NY > Nature > Walk Through Time > Stage 3
Scarborough's Grand Hotel
The Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel and Town Hall

Pass the Grand Hotel and follow the road as it bends to the right. Ahead is the Town Hall with a statue of Queen Victoria in the gardens. Follow the path through the gardens and along the side of the Town Hall to King Street.


Around 160 million years ago, the area you've just walked across was a massive river delta, similar in size to the Mississippi. The climate was much warmer and more humid then, lush forests lined the banks of the river. Rocks further up the coast tell geologists not only that lots of fresh water flowed here, but also that the river changed direction over time.

The landscape wouldn't be recognizable. The river stretched all the way across what is now the North Sea. Also the deposits of boulder clay, on which most of Scarborough is constructed, wouldn't have been there so most of the area would be relatively flat and, with the warmer climate, more like a Spanish resort.

You're standing next to a huge symbol of Scarborough's Victorian development. The Grand Hotel is believed to be the first large, purpose built hotel in Europe. It was built in 1863 to house the influx of relatively wealthy holiday makers. The fashion for sea bathing was reflected in the hotel's plumbing. The baths originally featured four taps for a choice of sea water or fresh water.

Statue of Queen Victoria
A statue of Queen Victoria is in the grounds of the Town Hall, but don't be fooled, she never visited the town.

Around seven million bricks went into the construction of this impressive building. The distinctive yellow bricks were made locally in Hunmanby, a few miles south of the town.

Like many large town buildings, the Grand has no shortage of pigeons perched on it's plentiful ledges.

The pigeons, that are so common today, are descended from wild rock doves that would have lived on cliff faces. Towns are full of 'artificial cliffs', buildings like the Grand Hotel, covered in ledges and crevices make perfect living accommodation for pigeons.

Scarborough beach
View of the beach from the Town Hall gardens

Scarborough's rather grand Town Hall was originally a private house owned by the Harland family.

The family were rich and influential with their name becoming known the world over.

For example the Harland of Belfast's famous Harland and Wolff ship yard, where Titanic was built, came from Scarborough.

Outside the Town Hall is a Buddleia bush. The flowers are rich with nectar, so insects like butterflies and moths can often be seen here. Occasionally sitings of humming birds are reported in the town, but in fact what people have seen is a Hummingbird Hawk Moth.

This is a medium sized moth from the continent that, like a hummingbird, beats its wings extremely quickly and is able to hover. They feed in daylight and are often confused for hummingbirds. Another smaller moth called the Silver Y also migrates from the continent and can sometimes be seen in Scarborough.

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