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.
|A statue of Queen Victoria is in
the grounds of the Town Hall, but don't be fooled, she never visited
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.
|View of the beach from the Town Hall
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.