Cliff lift, castle and old nick join heritage open days

Words and photos by Dave Barry

A cliff lift is throwing open its machine-room doors to the curious public for the 23rd annual heritage open days.

This is normally when the public can visit buildings that aren’t usually open.

Besides the cliff lift, Scarborough is offering tours of two churches, a cemetery, the old town and woodland.

Out of town, Ayton's castle and Cayton’s equally ancient parish church are complemented by several events in Hunmanby.

Only three openings involve places normally closed to the public: the cliff lift, Ayton's castle and Hunmanby’s old nick.

The machine room of the cliff lift near the town hall is operated by Central Tramways (8, 9 Sep).

Built in 1881, the lift is a Victorian funicular railway from St Nicholas Street to the seafront.

The room will be open at 10am and 11am both days.

Visits must be booked by emailing


Free guided tours of the stained glass and decorations in St Martin’s Church, often described as the town’s pre-Raphaelite gem, will be conducted on four days.

A striking artistic installation by Angela Chalmers, entitled There's Something About Mary, will be a focal point.

It’s based on Mary Craven, a well-heeled South Cliff resident who paid for the church to be built as a memorial to her father.

The church will have a display on the life and achievements of Victorian photographer Oliver Sarony, whose purpose-built studio was near the church.

The church and its cafe will be open from 10am to 5pm (7-9 Sep) and noon to 5pm (10 Sep), with tours at 10.30am and 3pm (7, 9 Sep), 11am and 3pm (8 Sep) and noon and 3pm (10 Sep). No booking is required.


Two-hour guided walks led by Trevor Pearson and Marie Woods of Scarborough Archaeological & Historical Society (SAHS) will look at archaeological discoveries in Raincliffe Woods (10 Sep, 10.30am, 2.30pm).

They will start at Dog Bark Bend carpark which is on the left just before Ox Pasture Hall when approaching from Throxenby mere.

It is being organised in conjunction with Raincliffe Woods Community Enterprise.

The route includes steep slopes and will go off footpaths so stout footwear is necessary.

Places must be booked by emailing

The Friends of Dean Road and Manor Road Cemetery are preparing for a fair (10 Sep), from 11am to 3pm.

At 1pm, a guided tour of the cemetery will highlight the stories of some of the people buried there, with an exhibition on historic funerals in the cemetery.

Three local funeral directors will display unusual coffins and various ways of transporting them.

There will be activities for children, owls and other birds of prey, craft, table-top and book stalls, a tombola and refreshments, says spokesperson Jan Cleary.

All funds raised will support the restoration of Dean Road Chapel.


A 90-minute guided tour of the old town is being organised by Scarborough Civic Society (7 Sep).

It will start at the Queen Victoria statue outside the town hall at 2pm.

Places must be booked by ringing 368913.


Chris Hall of SAHS will give a talk at St Andrew’s Church in Ramshill (8 Sep).

It will begin at 2pm by the model of medieval Scarborough.

The church, designed by Lockwood and Mawson of Bradford, has been described as a “cathedral of nonconformity”, paid for by industrialist Titus Salt.

The church will be open from 10am to 4pm. No booking is required.

Photos of the old town, before the 1930s clearances, can be seen at the Maritime Heritage Centre.

The centre, in Eastborough, boasts a huge archive of information on fishing and shipbuilding, wartime, churches, pubs, etc.

It is open from 11am to 4pm Wed-Sun. No booking is required.


One-hour tours of Ayton castle and its environs, with access to the tower and undercroft, will be led by Chris Hall (9 Sep).

Organised by SAHS and the castle’s Friends group, they will begin at 10am, 1pm and 3pm at the interpretation board on Mill Green.

Places must be booked by emailing State the time of the tour you wish to attend, the number in your party, their names and a contact telephone number.

Cayton’s 12th century Norman church bears ancient graffiti and a pendulum clock installed in 1947 in gratitude for no-one from the parish being killed as a result of enemy action in either world war (8, 9 Sep).

It will be open from 2-6pm both days. No booking is required.

Hunmanby, the largest village on the Wolds, is wholeheartedly embracing the open-days event with its own heritage day, organised by the parish council (9 Sep).

An information stall in Bayley Gardens, next to All Saints Church in the village centre, will have free programmes, a heritage-trail leaflet, a map and a quiz.

A one-hour guided walk around the village centre will start at Bayley Gardens at 1.30pm.

The White Swan is mounting a before-and-after display about the campaign to stop it closing, from 11am.

The pub was the subject of the Save Our Swan campaign when the owner, Enterprise Inns, applied for planning permission for residential development. Plans by SOS to turn it a community-run pub fell through but SOS successfully opposed the application. Then a private buyer stepped in and is renovating it as a going concern.

Three events are happening between 10am and 1pm.

1. The circular stone pinfold and two-cell Victorian lock-up, nicknamed the black hole, at the junction of Stonegate and Sheepdyke Lane, will be open.

2. The local-history group is mounting a display at Wrangham House, a former vicarage which was home to the early 19th century archdeacon, literary figure and social reformer Francis Wrangham.

3. Documents, photos, other items from the parish archives and a mid-19th century oil painting of the village will be displayed at the community centre in Stonegate.