Holbeck Hall Hotel

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Holbeck Hall Hotel
Site of Holbeck Hall Hotel landslide.jpg
The site of the Holbeck Hall Hotel
Former namesRoosevelt Hotel
General information
  • Hotel
  • (originally private house)
LocationScarborough, North Yorkshire, England
Coordinates54°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)
Destroyed5 June 1993 (1993-06-05)
ClientGeorge Alderson Smith
OwnerThe Turner Family
Technical details
Floor count3

The Holbeck Hall Hotel was a clifftop hotel in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England, owned by the Turner family. 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 rotational slip occurred beneath the hotel. It gradually became more severe, and finally on 5 June 1993, after a day of heavy rain, parts of the building fell into the sea, making news around the world. The hotel's chimney stack collapsed into the sea live on television just as Yorkshire TV's Calendar regional news programme went on air covering the building's precarious condition. Richard Whiteley was presenting the item at the time of the collapse.[2] The remainder of the building had to be demolished for safety reasons.

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.[citation needed] This is a common problem in Scarborough, and also one that extends all the way along the coast between Filey and Whitby, as many landslips have occurred and several paths and pavements are clearly starting to slip down the hill.[3][4] 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 27,000m³ 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 Ltd v Scarborough BC[5]) 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 slip because it was not reasonably foreseeable. Reasonable foreseeability is a requirement for liability in negligence and nuisance in English and Welsh tort law.[6]


  1. ^ "Scarborough: postcards from the edge: Once golden sands and donkey rides were the big attraction. Now visitors come to watch the town's only four-star hotel fall into the sea. Sandra Barwick reports - Life & Style - The Independent". The Independent. London: INM. 12 June 1993. ISSN 0951-9467. OCLC 185201487. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  2. ^ "Holbeck Hall Hotel collapses on live TV". ITV Yorkshire. 6 June 1998. Retrieved 22 February 2018 – via YouTube.
  3. ^ "North Yorkshire Coast Landslides - Landslips At Whitby". www.real-whitby.co.uk. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Scarborough 'can't afford' to defend Spa from waves and landslides". The Yorkshire Post. 8 March 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  5. ^ [2000] QB 836 (CA).
  6. ^ "Holbeck Hall Hotel Ltd and another v Scarborough Borough Council". web.uct.ac.za. Archived from the original on 15 July 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2008.

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