Dramatic pictures show how some of the world’s oldest beach huts are on the verge of crumbling into the sea
- The terrace of brightly coloured chalets have sat along the South Cliff at Scarborough for the past 107 years
- Cracks appeared in the path above the chalets two years ago and locals feared there would be a landslip
- Tonnes of earth is now crushing the huts and it appears to be only a matter of time before they give way
- There is anger in the town that the local council hasn’t done more to try to save the historic beach huts
Dramatic pictures show how a row of some of the world’s oldest beach huts are on the verge of crumbling into the North Sea following a landslip.
The terrace of brightly coloured chalets are one of just two examples of buildings of their type listed by Historic England, which describes them as ‘capturing the spirit of the Edwardian seaside’.
The huts, erected in 1911, had been meticulously preserved and protected from the ravages of the sea on the South Cliff at Scarborough, North Yorkshire, for 107 years and even the original interior panelling was intact.
The front of the South Cliff chalets in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, that are in danger of falling into the North Sea following a landslip
Cracks appeared in the path above the chalets two years ago and locals feared there may be a landslip but they claim the Scarborough Borough Council has done nothing
Scarborough’s South Cliff began to be developed as a resort by the mid 19th century with the construction of The Crown Hotel and the Esplanade in 1845. Pictured are the South Bay chalets in the 1910s
However, when cracks appeared in the path above the chalets two years ago locals feared there may be a landslip and reported the matter to Scarborough Borough Council.
There is now anger in the town – described by Historic England as the world’s first seaside resort – because nothing was done and as predicted the cliff has given way.
Tonnes of earth is now crushing the wooden huts and it appears to be only a matter of time before they give way completely and are lost to the waves.
Councillor Tony Randerson raised the issue during a Scarborough Borough Council meeting, laying the blame squarely at the door of the town hall authority.
The area around the historic beach huts has been cordoned off over fears it cold collapse, taking the chalets with them
Tonnes of earth is now crushing the wooden huts following the landslip. Jackie Link, the proprietor of the Clock Cafe, which is close to the chalets, was the first to raise the alarm
He said: ‘This defect was brought to the attention of Scarborough Borough Council some two years ago by the proprietor of the Clock Cafe.
‘It was also raised by myself around one year ago only to be informed that it was just grass coming through the crack in the pavement and nothing to be concerned about.
‘What if any actual inspection and investigation took place two years ago and one year ago when it was brought to the attention of Scarborough Council? It strikes me as a real possibility that this landslip could and should have been avoided.’
Jackie Link, the proprietor of the Clock Cafe, which is close to the chalets, was the first to raise the alarm.
She said: ‘One of our customers spotted a crack in the path two years ago and reported it to North Yorkshire County Council.
The terrace of brightly-coloured chalets is one of just two examples of buildings of their type listed by Historic England, who described them as ‘capturing the spirit of the Edwardian seaside’
‘There was then a bit of a disagreement with the county saying it was the borough’s problem, and the borough council saying it was the county council.
‘Then a year ago we told a councillor about it and he reported it to the borough.
‘Someone came out and told us it was an old crack as it had grass growing through it. We told them it wasn’t, we use that path every day and knew it was a new crack, but nothing happened.’
In bestowing Grade ll listed status on the beach huts Historic England said: ‘Permanent bathing bungalows or beach huts first appeared in Britain in circa 1910 in Bournemouth, but the idea of creating a series of cells in a permanent row was pioneered in Scarborough at its North Bay in 1911 followed on closely by these examples at South Cliff in 1911-12.
Councillor Tony Randerson raised the issue during a Scarborough Borough Council meeting, laying the blame squarely at the door of the town hall authority for not acting sooner to protect the beach huts
‘Scarborough was the world’s first seaside resort – it was essentially where the seaside was invented.’
‘Beach huts represent a fundamental change from the wheeled bathing machines previously used where people changed in private and modestly lowered themselves into the sea almost unseen.
The concept of beach huts reflects changing ideas about social decorum: getting changed for bathing in a hut at the top of the beach and walking to the sea in full view was a rather liberated activity.’
Scarborough’s South Cliff began to be developed as a resort by the mid 19th century with the construction of The Crown Hotel and the Esplanade in 1845.
Between 1864 and 1880 South Cliff baths were built along with a tramway, a new Spa Hall and grand terraces.
In 1914 construction began on the South Bay Bathing Pool, which was also pioneering as one of the country’s first tidally filled lidos.
Councillor Mike Cockerill, cabinet member for major products, who has responsibility for the chalets, said he would seek information from council officers about what surveys had been carried out in the past two years and what was found.
He added that contractors would be drilling boreholes to assess the ground conditions before deciding on the next stage of action.
His report into the current situation added: ‘Currently the chalets are providing support to the retaining wall and therefore they have been left in place.
‘Netting is being used in case of collapse to stop debris flying into the air. It does look a mess, I don’t deny it.’
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