Yorkshire's Seaside Heritage

Mike Higginbottom

Notice Period:
Emergency (maybe less than one week's notice)
Architectural and social history
Paid: Dependent on size of audience and distance travelled from South Yorkshire
23rd November 2017

The Yorkshire coast illustrates admirably how nineteenth-century holiday resorts almost invariably owed their origin to the growth of the railway-system, but depended for their success on the fickleness of public popularity. Scarborough began as a spa-town in the 17th century, lost some but not of all of its gentility with the arrival of the railways, yet boasts proudly of the writings of Sir Osbert Sitwell, the architecture of Cuthbert Brodrick, the paintings of Atkinson Grimshaw, and – at the church of St Martin-on-the-Hill – the most remarkable collection of Pre-Raphaelite ecclesiastical art in the north of England.

Whitby West Cliff, harking back to Georgian days, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, epitomising Victorian order and grandeur, and what little there is at Ravenscar, planned in the 1890s, were all precipitated by railway-extensions at different times in the nineteenth century, all characterised by considerable optimism and – as it turned out – pretension on the part of their sponsors, and none of them completed according to their initial design. Each of these sites, frozen in time by economic depression, financial miscalculation or both, provides an unusual insight into what was and what might have been.

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About Mike Higginbottom

I am a freelance history lecturer specialising in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with a background in university extramural education.

I offer distinctive, life-enhancing insights into the past, particularly the recent past, for people who enjoy visiting places and recognising the human stories behind this historical heritage.

I lecture for the Arts Society (formerly the National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies [NADFAS]) in the UK, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

Whether lecturing, writing or guiding tours, I provide detailed information in a lucid and entertaining way.  My publications and lectures are copiously illustrated, as much as possible using my own photography.

Mike Higginbottom Interesting Times is the brand for my history education work – tours, lectures and publications. My blog is a fund of interesting, sometimes quirky insights into places, people and historical events.

I'm based in Sheffield and willing to travel anywhere in the UK or further afield.

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