Posters tell story of ‘world’s first resort’

Scarbroough as it wasScarbroough as it was
Scarbroough as it was
SPORTY and sophisticated, but also a children’s paradise – Scarborough has had to be many things to many people to attract tourists to the town.

Now the multi-faceted nature of “the world’s first seaside resort” is reflected in a new exhibition of posters from 1910 through to the 1960s advertising its many delights.

Last Stop reveals its many identities ranging from the chic to family-orientated.

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Scarborough sold itself as a children’s paradise, a safe place to bring your children, but also a sophisticated destination where you could hang out in the latest clothing looking very chic and pretending you were on the Riviera,” said Karen Snowden, head of collections for Scarborough Museums Trust.

“Now the trend is very much towards the natural beauties of the coast and also sport, cycling and surfing.

“As a social historian for me it is more about the story the posters are telling.

“Even if someone tried to reproduce the posters today they wouldn’t get it quite right, and I’m not talking about the detail, it’s just about the way people stand, the turn of their heads, the way people’s hair is. You do get a wonderful sense of place and time.

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“Holiday resorts have to reinvent themselves to survive. When taking seawaters stopped being fashionable Scarborough was lucky because they had the sea. Watering places which didn’t disappeared, while Scarborough went on to become a major seaside destination.

“When they started losing visitors in the late 50s and 60s they became a conference centre and that went and now they are very much focusing on outdoor sports as well as its antiquity and beauty.”

Ms Snowden, who intends writing a history of Scarborough as a tourism destination, added: “I think it’s getting there but I don’t think you can ever go back to the glory days when the beaches were so covered with people that you couldn’t see the sand.

“People are different nowadays – they don’t want to sit on the beach in their overcoats in June.”

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Also on show will be half a dozen of eye-catching swimsuits, including a figure-hugging emerald green number from the 1950s, and knick-knacks and souvenirs. They have been taken from the Scarborough Collections, which includes all objects collected by the borough over the years.

Last Stop can be seen at Scarborough Art Gallery from July 6 until January 5. The gallery is open every day from 10am to 5pm, except Monday.