Take a look at the following list of words:
Any of these ring a bell? All are former Scarborough attractions (with the exception of the Hispaniola – which still sails today, although a shadow of its former swashbuckling self) many of them fairly recent. Or how about Scarborough Zoo? Water Splash World? Scarborough Aquarium? The North Bay Bathing Pool?
Do you remember any of these places?
Above: Water Splash World, a former North Bay attraction in Scarborough (source)
As one of the new artists in residence at Crescent Arts, I’ve come to Scarborough in search of attractions I once visited, and also those I’ve heard about through word of mouth. Some, such as Gala Land and Scarborough Aquarium, disappeared before I was even born. Others, such as Kinderland and Marvel’s, were part of my yearly childhood holidays to Scarborough. They too, have all but vanished, leaving only sporadic traces behind.
Above: The remains of Marvel’s Amusement Park (source)
In response I’ve set up Stories From Scarborough, an archive project to document the stories of some of Scarborough’s lost attractions. Even if you’ve never heard of any of them, you might still be interested to hear about some of the fun and quirky stories that have so far been uncovered, such as the angry elephant at Scarborough Aquarium, or the Great Crested Newts that made homes at Kinderland and Marvel’s Amusement Park. You might also be surprised to hear that some of the earliest television equipment was showcased at Gala Land, or that the Water Chute in Northstead Manor Gardens is one of the oldest models of such a ride still in operation today.
Above: The Water Chute, once part of Kinderland, is now owned by the North Bay Railway Company (source)
However, this is no ordinary archive project. Alongside genuine memories, photographs and reference material, I’ve been inserting my own wacky stories; creating artwork and performances in an attempt to re-examine the process of remembering in unusual ways.
Above: Playing/performing at Marvel’s whilst dressed as a child (source)
I’ve donated water from Scarborough to the Museum of Water during its temporary stay at Somerset House in London. I’ve made a chairlift out of twigs and electrical tape. I’ve built crumbling sandcastles in a perspex box in Manchester – where I lived until recently. I’ve drawn cardboard signs, designed a costume or two and created a confusing photograph album. Soon I’ll be assembling and re-arranging my ‘archive’ at Hoard in Leeds, on August 16th, whilst dressed as a child.
Above: My chairlift – also functions as a wearable costume (source)
Below: The real things – before they closed in 2002 (source)
What I really need are more stories – pictures, memories, information, even just a sentence or two would be much appreciated. Perhaps you don’t remember the attractions, but have encountered the current day sites – the derelict Marvel’s grounds above the Open Air Theatre, the closed gates to Kinderland on Burniston Road and the Military Adventure Park that replaced the outdoor swimming pool – Atlantis. Or maybe you’ve left your car in the grim underground car park that replaced the subterranean aquarium under the Cliff Bridge? I’m just as interested in opinions on Scarborough’s current attractions as I am in the old ones, and the archive is always open to suggestions.
Above: The entrance to an underground aquarium, now car park, just opposite the Rotunda Museum (source)
The long term goal of the project is a permanent archive (online and as a physical entity), a series of events/performances and an exhibition, including the following bizarre idea for next summer.
Above: Plan for a performance at the North Sands (source)