Absorbing new book of old photos

The Blitz is most commonly associated with London but was inflicted on many other towns and cities around the country.

Horrendous damage befell large areas of Scarborough on 18 March 1941.

Between 8pm and about 10.30pm, over 1,000 incendiary bombs and 55 high-explosive parachute mines were dropped on the town by the Luftwaffe.

The raid killed 28 people, injured hundreds and destroyed or damaged 1,378 buildings.

The carnage was widespread and indiscriminate. Bombs hit St Margaret’s School in Filey Road, ETW Dennis printers in Melrose Street, Tonks furniture warehouse near the Mere and homes in North Marine Road, Commercial Street and Queens Terrace, among others.

Photos of the wholesale destruction are among the many remarkable images featured in an absorbing new book by Robin Lidster.

Scarborough, From Old Photographs draws on the author’s vast collection of thousands of old photos of the town, gathered by Robin and his family and friends over the last half century.

The book is not intended to be a history of the town, merely a series of images depicting past times, accompanied by detailed captions.

Robin’s website, magiclanternman.com, is named after his fascination with magic-lantern slides. Over a quarter of the images in the book are from his large collection and have not previously appeared in print.


After the war, many older - and some relatively recent - buildings were demolished, including the Pavilion Hotel, the Floral Hall, the Royal Opera House, Gala Land, Corner Cafe and the north-bay open-air pool. The Futurist Theatre is following suit.

Many have disappeared within living memory and are illustrated in the book in the hope that, while gone, they will not be forgotten, and that the illustrations will bring back happy memories.

The activities and events depicted include tunny fishing, Scots fisher lasses, trips by paddle steamer and charabanc, trams, aeroplane races, the WW1 bombardment and pageants and processions including the Dutch flower festival, the Festival of Norway and Benelux festival week.

The book has two photos, taken in 1974, of a long bridge for pedestrians stretching between Barrowcliff and Northstead. Traversing a broad spread of railway sidings, it was built in 1908, at the same time as the excursion station in Londesborough Road. The Scarborough to Whitby railway ran along one side of the sidings.

Every four years from 1890 to 1914, a brewery in Burton-on-Trent ran day trips by train for its workers, who disembarked at the new station. The last one had 14 trains carrying 8,000 staff.

The Walrus destroyer, commissioned eight months before the end of the first world war, served in various fleets until 1932. It was converted into an anti-aircraft escort and was being towed from Rosyth to Chatham in 1938, when a violent storm scuttled it on Mascus rocks in the north bay. Beyond repair, the vessel was scrapped.

A small herd of elephants is pictured ambling along Castle Road. They were part of a parade that advertised a pageant at the castle in 1912. The clock at the top right of the photo was above I’Anson pawnbrokers, on the corner of North Street, where the Castle Tavern pub stands today.

In the 1960s, 70s and 80s, colourful parades and carnival processions were a popular fixture in the summer; the book has images of several.

Northway was created by demolishing old buildings between Victoria Road and Westborough. Before the buildings which stand there today were erected, a temporary structure housed an aeronautical exhibition. It was timed to coincide with the Festival of Britain in 1951.

United Bus’s 114 service began at the bus station on the corner of Valley Bridge Parade and Somerset Terrace. The route took it along New Road, as Northway was then known, Columbus Ravine and Burniston Road. It terminated at Scalby, Cloughton or, on two days a week, Ravenscar.

* The book costs £14.99 and can be bought at Waterstones, the Antiques & Collectors Centre in St Nicholas Cliff and by ringing Robin on 370325.