The Spa, Scarborough

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Scarborough Spa Complex
Scarborough Spa Complex.jpg
Alternative names The Spa, Scarborough
General information
Type Conference and exhibition venue
Location South Bay, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England
Coordinates 54°16′32″N 0°23′50″W / 54.27556°N 0.39722°W / 54.27556; -0.39722Coordinates: 54°16′32″N 0°23′50″W / 54.27556°N 0.39722°W / 54.27556; -0.39722 (grid reference TA0487)
Owner Scarborough Borough Council
Designations Grade II listed

The Spa, Scarborough known officially as the Scarborough Spa Complex is located in Scarborough’s South Bay, North Yorkshire, England. It is a venue for conferences, exhibitions, entertainment and events on the Yorkshire Coast. Originally built around the source of Scarborough's spa waters, it is currently owned and managed by Scarborough Borough Council.

The complex includes:

  • The Spa Grand Hall which seats nearly 2,000 and hosts live entertainment including the Scarborough Spa Orchestra and an annual Jazz Festival, which is the fifth biggest in Europe.[citation needed]
  • The Spa Theatre which is a 600-seat Victorian Theatre and is home to Summer Season Shows and Christmas Pantomimes.
  • The Spa Ocean Room, used for dances, conferences and other events including the Soundwave Festival.

A Victorian Cliff Tramway links the Spa complex with the South Cliff district, 200 feet above the South Bay.

The Spa Complex is currently undergoing a £3 million refurbishment to make improved facilities available, including a wireless internet facility.[1]


In the 17th century Scarborough Spa waters were discovered by Mrs Thomasin Farrer, the wife of one of Scarborough’s leading citizens, John Farrer. She found natural spring water bubbling out beneath the cliff to the south of the town. These waters, which stained the rocks a russet colour, tasted slightly bitter and were said to cure minor ailments. She told her friends and neighbours about the medicinal effects and soon drinking the Spa waters became an accepted medicine. Later thousands of visitors flocked to benefit from their supposed medicinal qualities. The southern part of Scarborough became very popular. The precursor to the present Scarborough Spa building became a fashionable attraction.[2] The Spa water was declared unfit for human consumption in the 1930s and the spa tap room was sealed off.[citation needed]

The Spa Bridge[edit]

The Spa bridge

The Spa was easily accessible by a short walk along the South Bay seafront for visitors to Scarborough Castle, Scarborough Harbour, and other attractions near to the town centre, however, there was quite a steep descent to the sea-front from the St. Nicholas Cliff area of Scarborough. In 1826 the newly formed Cliff Bridge Company, leased the Spa from the corporation and in order to maximise the number of paying customers proceeded to erect an iron footbridge to span the valley from St Nicholas Cliff to the Spa. It was 75’ from the valley below, 414’ long and 13.5’ wide. The bridge was formally opened on 19 July 1827 and crowds flocked to see a mail coach and horses gallop at full speed across the bridge.The bridge became a fashionable promenade and provided wonderful views and an excellent link from the town centre to its more southerly attractions. It proved so popular that a toll-booth was put up at the St. Nicholas Cliff end of the bridge. Season tickets were sold giving access to the bridge and Spa for one, two or four week periods.[3]


  1. ^ "Scarborough Spa Home". Scarborough Borough Council. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  2. ^ "A Brief History of Scarborough Spa". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  3. ^ "Scarborough". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 

External links[edit]