Exhibition: Architect’s ‘Great Gatsby’ vision for Scarborough

Architect Stanley Adshead had a glamorous vision for Scarborough.
Architect Stanley Adshead had a glamorous vision for Scarborough.

A fascinating and exclusive new exhibition presenting the plans and ideas for Scarborough in the 1930s has opened at Scarborough Art Gallery.

For the first time, A New Olympia showcases the original plans and perspective drawings produced by architect and town planner Stanley Davenport Adshead.

White House covered swimming pool.

White House covered swimming pool.

The exhibition explores how the architect tackled the challenge of re-designing Scarborough as an Art Deco oasis to ensure it retained its status as the north’s most glamorous seaside destination.

The exhibition takes visitors on a journey back in time, providing an opportunity to re-imagine Scarborough as an authentic ‘Great Gatsby’ location.

Scarborough Museums Trust collections manager Jennifer Dunne said: “We’re delighted to be able to share Adshead’s drawings and plans with our visitors for the first time and explore the plans for Scarborough in the 1930s.

“The innovative designs aimed to promote Britain’s oldest seaside resort as the place to live, work, relax and enjoy.

“This exhibition is a glimpse of what ‘might have been’ if Adshead’s plans had come to fruition.”

The exhibition examines civic design in Scarborough in the 1930s, using the original plans and perspective drawings produced by Adshead.

Adshead was one of the most notable civic architects of his day, rising swiftly through the ranks of this relatively new profession to become Lever Professor of Civic Design at Liverpool University in 1909 and the first Professor of Town Planning at London University in 1914.

He was acclaimed for his Neoclassical buildings for a number of resorts on the south coast and was an obvious candidate to undertake a grand scheme for the Scarborough Corporation.

Faced with growing competition from other resorts and keen to retain its status as the north’s most glamorous seaside destination, Scarborough was among the first towns in Britain to obtain approval from the Minister of Health for a comprehensive Town Planning Scheme.

The exhibition runs at Scarborough Art Gallery in The Crescent until January 7.