Real ale and real art meet at the old parcels office

Looking forward to the festival are, L-R, Robert Taylor, Dawn Woollons, Peter Howgate, Les Gallienne and Dave Bamford of Camra with Jez Wilkinson and Jo Davis of Scarborough Studios Ltd (to order photos ring 353597)

Looking forward to the festival are, L-R, Robert Taylor, Dawn Woollons, Peter Howgate, Les Gallienne and Dave Bamford of Camra with Jez Wilkinson and Jo Davis of Scarborough Studios Ltd (to order photos ring 353597)

Words and photo by Dave Barry

Last year’s beer and cider festival at the railway station’s old parcels office went so well that another is on the way.

Run by the Scarborough branch of CAMRA - the Campaign for Real Ale, the second festival will run from Thursday 12 to Saturday 14 October, from noon until 11pm.

It will feature 60 real ales and 20 ciders and perries from across the country, including local ales and many making their first appearance in the town.

The festival is a great way to sample the huge range available – mild, bitter, best bitter, golden ales, old ales, strong milds, stout, porter, barley wine, strong old ale, strong bitter and speciality beers.

The festival will feature live music with an open mic and the Fuzz Junkies on the Thursday; Jesse Hutchinson and the Woolgatherers on the Friday; and Frankie Dixon and the Dirty Windows ukulele band on the Saturday.

Big screens have been hung on the walls of the music room to try and improve the sound quality.

There will be food stalls, a Camra stall and a fundraising corner in aid of local charities.

The middle room will have plenty of tables and chairs for people to sit around and browse through tasting notes for the dozens of brews on offer.

The yellow-brick walls in all three rooms will be adorned with art by artists-in-residence.

Festival chairman Stewart Campbell said: “The roof incorporates glass and timber glazing. The light and airy space houses local artists, working in a wide range of visual arts disciplines including painting, drawing and sculpture.

“Some of their work will be on show during the festival, giving an opportunity for many people to visit this great location which was much admired last year”.

Artists work in the building all year round, on a permanent or temporary basis.

During the festival, their work will be mounted under the banner of the Campaign for Real Art.

Some of the work on show will be produced by the Blueberry Academy, who support adults with learning difficulties.

Festival volunteers are needed. Application forms are available at the North Riding and Stumble Inn and online at

The building, constructed as an excursion station in 1883, was designed by North-Eastern Railway architect William Bell. It was divided into four sections. Two of the big rooms contained toilets for passengers arriving on corridor-less trains. The other large room was a waiting room and three smaller rooms nearest the station were used by guards, carriage inspectors and cabmen.

The building became a parcels office when a separate excursion station was built at Londesborough Road in 1908.

A century later, volunteers began restoring the historic building with a common vision of providing artists with a magnificent space to work and exhibit art in.

They have worked hard to secure funding from the Railway Heritage Trust, English Heritage, Arts Council England and Network Rail.

Chris Hall, who is part of the team, says: “We have maintained the integrity of the building with its three vast high elevated bays, glazed tiles and gabled skylight”.

Camra is an independent, not-for-profit voluntary organisation campaigning for real ale, community pubs and consumer rights. It was formed in 1971 by four men from the north-west who were disillusioned by the domination of the UK beer market by a handful of companies pushing products of low flavour and quality onto the consumer.

Its core aims are to promote real ale and pubs and act as the consumer's champion in relation to the UK and European beer and drinks industry.

It has 175,000 members across the world and has been described as the most successful consumer campaign in Europe.

Camra supports well-run pubs as the centres of community life, in rural and urban areas, and believes their continued existence plays a critical social role in UK culture.

It is financed by membership subscriptions, sales of books and merchandise and the proceeds from beer festivals.