This is a timeline of our history of the Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre from the formation of the SMHC itself, to our fundraising over the years to the present day.
- In 2003 thirty boxes of photographs, log books, certificates, harbour records and maritime memorabilia were donated to the group to be saved for future generations. In 2009 we were given another lifetime collection of over 50,000 maritime photographs.
- In 2006 the SMHC committee was formed to find a home for the collection. In 2008 the SMHC became a registered company limited by guarantee. The same year the last working boat yard in Scarborough closed and a set of wooden moulds to make a Yorkshire coble were donated to us.
- In 2009 we opened the Centre on Eastborough with a grant from the local council. The mayor of Scarborough Cllr. Bill Chatt opened the centre. Volunteers staff the Centre 11am to 4pm five days a week. In 2011 we became a registered charity.
- In 2015 we purchased a building of our own at 45 Eastborough with the help of our sponsors (see sponsors page).
- In the past 6 years, over 40 different volunteers have digitised over 20,000 photographs. Volunteers have put in over 5,000 hours of work every year.
- In the past 6 years the SMHC has put on maritime exhibitions at Scarborough’s Seafest festival.
- In 2009 we took part in an intergenerational project bringing Scarborough’s teenagers and old fishermen together to share their stories. They made a DVD and 8 information panels for exhibition. In 2010 SMHC volunteers were recorded as part of a new volunteering promotional DVD.
- Since 2009 we have a growing membership list and widely distribute a quarterly newsletter. Donations from the public keep on coming with some substantial high quality model ships, rare books, photographs, documents and artefacts such as telescopes,
- In 2010 SMHC volunteers created a maritime panel with gansey patterns, rope and knot work for display at the Woodend Creative Industries Centre as part of an exhibition. This later travelled to other art galleries in the region.
- The SMHC website was launched in 2009 and in 2011 became the winner of the ‘Best Maritime Family History Website’ as voted for by the BBC’s “Who do you think you are?” magazine. We still get over 5000 page loads a week. Volunteers have answered hundreds of family and local history enquiries by email and telephone.
Since 2009 we have raised and raised and spent over £150,000. We have over 100 members and hold annual fund raising events.
Talks and partnership working:
- We have given over 100 talks to schools and community groups and worked in partnership supporting other groups such as the Scarborough Museum’s Trust, Civic Society, Scarborough Archaeological & Historical Society, Scarborough Library, Dean Road Cemetery group. We have participated in the National Heritage Open Days program.
- In 2010 we produced a web based maritime heritage trail with the organisation CHART Scarborough.
- In 2013 a talk was given by Dr Zoe Kinsley from the Liverpool Hope University on an 18th Century diarist that visited Scarborough.
- In 2010, 2011 and 2012 we were presented the ‘Mayor’s Big Thank You Award for Artistic and Cultural contribution.
- In 2011 we obtained registered charity status and started a gift aid scheme. A joint project with The University of Hull Business School created a business and sustainability plan for the future of the SMHC.
- In 2012 we also won the ‘Max Payne MBE Award for Outstanding Achievement’.
- In 2016 we were presented with the Queen’s Award for volunteering, the highest accolade a group can receive, equivalent to an MBE. We were one of the first groups in North Yorkshire to receive this.
In 2011 we created an ‘Education Outreach Fish Box’ that is sent out to schools with a teacher’s pack and or volunteer. We put on four maritime puppet shows for the ‘Coastival Festival’ weekend and two children at the Friarage School who made the puppets. A school to a work experience pupil was taken on for 1 week. We have since given many more talks on maritime history in local schools.
World War One Centenary:
In 2014, we put on exhibitions and events to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of WW1 and the bombardment of Scarborough in December 1914. We organized the Civic Commemoration event at the town hall that gained regional and national media coverage. We created a travelling exhibition that was seen by hundreds of people across the borough. We published a limited edition centenary book that completely sold out.
Since 2009 over 25,000 people have visited our small Centre and all the comments in our guest book and on the 'Trip Advisor' website attest to the excellent service we are providing.
Exhibitions put on since 2009:
- Tunny fishing
- Herring fishing
- Storms and shipwrecks
- Our connections to the Titanic
- Science of Boats, Pirates and Smugglers
- Graham Sea Training School
- Maritime Artists
- Royal Naval Patrol Service
- WW1 & the Bombardment of Scarborough
- Model ships and boats
- Sub Aqua Club artefacts from U-Boat shipwrecks
- Maps & Charts.
- Shackelton's connections with North Yorkshire
- Local seamen's diaries from the merchant navy in the 20th century.
- Scarborough's old town and the 1930s clearances.
- Vice Admiral Sir John Lawon, local hero who influenced British history.