The History Anorak

The History Anorak

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Very Grand

One of the most prominent buildings on the seafront at Scarborough is the Grand Hotel. When it opened in July 1867 it was the largest brick building in Europe.

Rear view showing V plan
It is undoubtedly tall. It has 12 floors, including two attic levels, rooms in the eaves, and three basement levels. It is constructed on the side of the Valley cliff so the basement levels descend down the hillside.

The building was designed by Hull architect Cuthbert Brodrick (who also designed the Corn Exchange in Leeds) and took four years to complete. It is constructed in local Hunmanby bricks, hence its distinctive tawny colour.

The ground plan is V shaped, to commemorate Queen Victoria, and the building has 52 chimneys, representing the weeks in a year, its 12 floors represent the months, four towers represent the seasons, and originally had 365 rooms - one for every day.

Detail from the upper floors
It was a luxury hotel, costing more than £100,000 to build, and once attracted rich and upper class clientele. Among its customers was Winston Churchill, who stayed there during a political conference. During WWII it housed RAF service personnel who underwent drill training in the square below. These days it's very much a budget place to stay.

It's still stunning to look at. And it has a special place in my heart. If you read my other blog you might remember the photo of my Dad perched outside the Grand during his national service.


  1. The grand featured in one of Michael Portillo's train journey programmes and still looked pretty impressive. Pah - TV is so misleading! When we visited a few years ago, it was tired, the bar was full of the most dreadful people, with sticky tables, terrible service and bad beer. It is a lovely building, though, and deserves better. Perhaps Premier Inn will take it on.

  2. Just dropped by to wish you a very Merry Christmas and all that - and a Happy New Year.

  3. It's so beautiful. Sad that it is not still flourishing and I hope someday to see it and the other sights you describe so well in your blog.


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