When the battle ships came to Scarborough, the lords of the Admiralty called at Scarborough in their yacht early in September 1874. A week or two later, some of the great ships of the Channel Fleet, HMS "Agincourt", "Devastation" and "Resistance" with "Northumberland", "Monarch" and "Sultan" anchored offshore. For three days, James Swallows with the new "Avalon" of Scarborough, G. Wraith's "Emu" of Whitby and George Legge's "Friends", a Bridlington tug, took thousands out to view the smokey battleships.
Admiral Seymour brought another squadron to the port in 1890. The weather was adverse, so they slipped anchor and steamed out to sea, leaving some libertymen ashore. Visits from the Royal Navy to the port were encouraged as a great attraction for holiday visitors. The Channel fleet returned in 1903 and another squadron in 1908 .Those were the days when small boys came from all parts of the kingdom wearing sailor suits.