How did the park come to be created? Apparently, land known as Tuckers Field was purchased by the Borough in 1911 with the intention of constructing a new park around a lake. Mr Harry. W. Smith, the Borough Engineer, had the idea of setting out the new gardens in a Japanese style. This was innovative thinking, and his ideas have led to the creation of the unique Peasholm Park whose distinctly Oriental style remains unsurpassed almost 100 years later.
The original oriental Japanese statues were bought from Killerby Hall (now better known as Flamingo Land). Also, exotic flowers and shrubs were brought from the French Riviera home of a local retired banker and planted in the Glen.
Work began on the construction of the island and lake in December 1911 and amazingly phase one of Peasholm Park was ready for the public by the following summer. The official opening was 19th June 1912 and Peasholm Park immediately became one of Scarborough’s top attractions.
Between 1923 and 1932 Peasholm Park was the main location in Scarborough for all the fetes, galas and firework displays and it proved to be such a popular place that in 1924, terraced seating was constructed to accommodate the crowds.
1924 was also the year work began on phase two of the park and by 1932 Peasholm Glen was incorporated into Peasholm, and this lovely tree lined valley with its artfully designed burbling brook, proved to be a huge success with the thousands who by now loved the park.
A further attraction was added to the park in 1927, when the Naval Warfare was introduced. This has proved to be so successful that it exists even today.
In 1929, George W. Alderson, architect, designed the Pagoda and the cascade on the Island. These, plus the purchase in 1931 of genuine oriental statues and ornaments, further enhanced the oriental theme within the park and has allowed it to develop itself even further.
Throughout the 1950s the park continued to flourish; visitors came from all over Britain and indeed, from all over the world. It seems as though wherever we go in the world and mention we are from Scarborough, someone will have a memory of Peasholm Park.
Unfortunately, Peasholm Park, loved by so many, lived through some great times, but then came the sad ones. In the 1970s and 1980s as fewer people chose to visit Scarborough for their annual holiday, choosing instead the bright lights and more reliable weather found in the newly developing Mediterranean, the park became sadly neglected.
Possibly the lowest point for Peasholm was in October 1999 when the Pagoda was burned down by vandals. The town was horrified, but there was no money available to rebuild, and so the Island was closed to the public and closed it has remained until now.
A Grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has enabled the Borough Council to rebuild the Pagoda in its original form, but this time using fire retardant wood. The Half-moon Bridge connecting the Island to the mainland has also been replaced, the cascade upgraded and the beautiful gardens restored and made even more beautiful than before.
The Peasholm Park Friends have been involved with the regeneration of Peasholm Park, and our contribution, through voluntary hours spent painting and digging and generally overhauling the Island has been very important to the project.
Visit us and see for yourself…..you’ll be very welcome!