Created By: Scarborough Civic Society
The first part of the promenade to be developed was Foreshore Road in South Bay, dating from the 1870s. Then came Royal Albert Drive in North Bay, completed in 1890. However, there was still no easy way from one bay to the other - the usual route was over the castle headland.
An alternative scheme was first suggested in the early 1880s – a shoreline road linking the two bays. In 1883 the eminent engineer Sir John Coode gave his opinion that the plan was possible, but it was not until 1894 that it was decided to proceed with the scheme, which involved the construction of nearly 1,200 metres of road, wall and excavations on a site exposed to severe winds and seas.
The first stone was laid on 25 June 1897, but the proposed time scale of two and a half years was hopelessly over-ambitious, underestimating the effects of storms and the inherent difficulties of the project; delays only added to the costs. On 1 October 1904 the last top stone was laid by the Mayoress, Mrs Good - over seven years after the scheme had begun – and people started to look forward to the opening of Marine Drive.
They were not to know that it would be another three and a half years before residents and visitors would be able to walk, ride or drive on the new road.
A fierce gale on 7 January 1905 caused considerable damage to Marine Drive, as well as wrecking Scarborough's North Bay Pier. A period of difficulty followed as corporation and contractor argued over what needed to be done.
Marine Drive was completed in 1908 and although not formally opened until August, people were allowed on from April. It soon became very popular and has remained so ever since, with walkers, cyclists, drivers, anglers and, at times, dancers!
This point of interest is part of the tour: Scarborough Marine Drive the history