Holbeck Hall Hotel

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Holbeck Hall Hotel
Site of Holbeck Hall Hotel landslide.jpg
The site of the Holbeck Hall Hotel
General information
Type
  • Hotel
  • (originally private house)
Location Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England
Coordinates 54°16′00″N 0°23′27″W / 54.26667°N 0.39083°W / 54.26667; -0.39083Coordinates: 54°16′00″N 0°23′27″W / 54.26667°N 0.39083°W / 54.26667; -0.39083 (grid reference TA0486)
Inaugurated 1879
Destroyed 5 June 1993 (1993-06-05)
Client George Alderson Smith
Owner English Rose Hotels

The Holbeck Hall Hotel was a clifftop hotel in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England, owned by English Rose Hotels. The hotel had scenic views of the sea and surrounding area. It was built in 1879 by George Alderson Smith as a private residence, and was later converted to a hotel.[1] On 3 June 1993, a landslide began beneath the hotel. This increased, and finally on 5 June 1993, a day of heavy rain, parts of the building dramatically fell into the sea, making news around the world. The remainder of the building had to be demolished by contractors.

Although it was on a clifftop, an information board at the top of the cliff states that the incident was nothing to do with the sea, blaming it on soil creep. This is a common problem in Scarborough, with several paths and pavements clearly starting to slip down the hill.[citation needed] Before the cliff collapsed, there had been some very heavy rainfall, resulting in the muddy cliff turning into sludge. This flowed downhill – quite rapidly for a muddy bank – and ultimately took the hotel with it. In total 27,000m² of mud fell into the sea, and protruded 100 metres further into the sea than the original coastline.

In 1997, it became the subject of a significant court case in English civil law (Holbeck Hall Hotel Limited and another v. Scarborough Borough Council [2000] QB 836 (CA)) when the owners of the hotel attempted to sue Scarborough Borough Council for damages, alleging that as owners of the shoreline they had not taken any practical measures at all to prevent the landslip – from soft, to hard engineering, nothing was done. The claim was rejected on the grounds that the Council was not liable for the causes of the landslide itself.[2] The case is important for students of geography, geotechnical engineering, engineering geology, and law.

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