Seating shelter and viewing terrace to front of St Nicholas Gardens


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Foreshore Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire


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Statutory Address:
Foreshore Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North Yorkshire
Scarborough (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Sheltered seating and viewing terrace, dating between 1904 and 1907 by Harry W Smith, Scarborough Borough Engineer and Surveyor.

Reasons for Designation

The sheltered seating and viewing terrace to the front of St Nicholas Gardens, Foreshore, Scarborough, dating between 1904 and 1907, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* as a decorative piece of Edwardian street furniture specifically designed for the benefit of visitors to enjoy the seaside surroundings.

Historic interest:

* as a structure associated with Scarborough’s notable and long-standing social history as an important seaside tourist resort.

Group value:

* the seating shelter and viewing terrace has group value with other nearby examples of historic infrastructure designed to entice visitors, including the Grand Hotel (Grade II*), Valley Gardens and South Cliff Gardens (Grade II), Spa (Grade II*), South Cliff Funicular Railway (Grade II), and early-C20 beach huts and café (Grade II).


In 1898 John W Woodall (1831-1905) sold St Nicholas House, his family home and private gardens, together with an exhibition hall he had built on Foreshore at the bottom of the gardens, to Scarborough Corporation. The house became Scarborough’s new Town Hall after it was enlarged and remodelled by Harry W Smith, the recently appointed Borough Engineer and Surveyor. He also redesigned the gardens as public gardens forming the setting for the Town Hall and providing a link down the cliff to the sea front. The gardens were officially opened to the public on 14 August 1900 by the Lord Mayor of London, at which time they were described as ‘Pleasure Grounds’. Smith’s design included re-grading paths, providing seats and shelters. The exhibition hall became Olympia, an all-weather tourist attraction until its destruction by fire in 1975. Smith also replaced Woodall’s boathouse with public lavatories, dated 1900. He remained Borough Engineer until 1933 and continued to be responsible for many of the improvements to the town aimed at encouraging tourists, including South Cliff Gardens of around 1910 (Registered Grade II, National Heritage List for England entry 1001528) and by 1914 was building what was reputedly the first open-air tidal bathing pool in Britain.

Whilst the exact date of construction for the sheltered seating and viewing terrace fronting Foreshore is not known, it appears to have been built between 1904 and 1907; a postcard of the view from St Nicholas Gardens does not show the viewing terrace, but does include a tram on Foreshore, which started operating in 1904; a second postcard of a similar view from St Nicholas Gardens was posted in 1907 and shows the viewing terrace. It is shown on the 1:2500 Ordnance Survey map, revised 1910, published 1912. The narrow, rectangular structure runs along the eastern boundary of St Nicholas Gardens and is divided into two sections by a central entrance with steps into the gardens from Foreshore; the sheltered seating is accessed from the road and the viewing platform is accessed from the gardens. Another early-C20 postcard shows the structure with people on the viewing terrace overlooking the crowds to views across the South Bay. It also shows a tram and so pre-dates 1931, when the tramway service closed. The people on the viewing platform are sitting on deck chairs, rather than fixed seating. A later photograph probably dates to the mid-C20 as it shows a large model of a space ship in St Nicholas Gardens. The visible left-hand side of the Foreshore entrance to the gardens shows that it was flanked by tall, square, panelled gate piers of stone with moulded caps and ball finials. The gate piers were attached to the garden retaining wall which runs behind the terrace.

St Nicholas Gardens was redesigned and remodelled in 2001 and the gardens were reopened on 12 December 2001. It is likely that the remodelling of the Foreshore entrance dates from this time. It was widened to enable curving access ramps to be inserted to each side of the central, stepped, entrance, which is flanked by the gate piers, now slightly reduced with the removal of the frieze blocks. Historic maps and the mid-C20 photograph show that the two sections of terrace were shortened to accommodate the widened entrance, although it is not apparent from their appearance. The south section has been shortened by two bays from twelve bays shown in the historic photograph to ten bays; it is likely to be the north section was also shortened by two bays. The access ramps run parallel with the rear of the viewing platforms. Two original, short flights of steps giving access the viewing platforms have been altered by turning the steps by ninety degrees to allow the ramps to pass. The south end flight of steps to the south platform have been lost due to the modern external staircase from the adjacent building. The fixed seating within the shelters has been replaced, perhaps at this time. The railings to the viewing platforms have also been replaced, differing in detail from that seen on the early-C20 postcard.


Sheltered seating and viewing terrace, dating between 1904 and 1907 by Harry W Smith, Scarborough Borough Engineer and Surveyor, partly accessed from St Nicholas Gardens, which Smith redeveloped as public gardens officially opened in 1900.

MATERIALS: cast-iron, orange brick and glazed brick, stone dressings, concrete.

PLAN: the narrow, rectangular terrace is divided in two, one structure either side of the approximately central gardens entrance, both with a seating area at road level and a viewing platform on the flat shelter roof, reached by short flights of steps in the gardens. DESCRIPTION: the sheltered seating and viewing terrace stands at the bottom of St Nicholas Gardens, bounding the west side of Foreshore and looking out over South Bay. The south (left-hand ) side of the structure is ten bays long and the north (right-hand) side is eleven bays long, both constructed in the same manner and of similar appearance.

The seating shelters have a frame of cast-iron arcades to the front and are a single arch deep. The shallow segmental arches are carried on slender columns with swagged Ionic capitals and attic bases; the bases on the right-hand side are only partially visible. The cast-iron arch spandrels have ornamental open-work incorporating rose motifs. Above is an entablature beam with moulded cornice, giant, panelled cast-iron keystones at the centre of the arches and fluted, shaped brackets with female heads over the columns.

Within the shelters the roofs are formed of concrete slabs and the floors are a continuation of the tarmacked pavement surface. The back walls are of glazed brick standing on concrete plinths and built against the retaining wall of the gardens. The lower half of these walls is brown glazed brick with cream glazed brick above. Bolted to the walls are continuous stretches of modern benching with metal brackets and angled back struts with timber seats* and backs*. The right-hand side has acrow props inside the columns with an additional steel beam behind the original beam*.

The fronts and sides of the viewing platforms are enclosed by replacement iron railings* braced by shaped console brackets to the outside. On the north (rear) side the platforms have stone edging and are placed on top of the orange brick retaining walls (with a hedge planted adjacent). At the outer ends of the platforms are square, brick piers to which the side railings are attached. The outermost pier of each platform has a stone band and is missing the cap; the innermost pier of each platform has a moulded stone cap.

Both platforms have an altered flight of steps* up from the gardens (the steps running parallel to the viewing platform), which are flanked by original brick gate piers with moulded stone caps at the rear of the platforms. The north platform retains an original flight of four stone steps (at a right-angle to the platform) with low brick side walls with stone coping and square piers with moulded stone caps.

* Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservatin Areas) Act 1990 ("the Act") it is declared that these aforementioned features are not of special architectural or historic interest, however any works which have the potential to affect the character of the listed building as a building of special architectural or historic interest may still require LBC and this is a matter for the LPA to determine.




This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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