Holbeck Hall Falls into the Sea

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This article is slightly different as it is old news, not something we are normally encouraged to report on but I have been learning about it in Geography and this crazy incident occurred in 1993 so it was news to me!

Built in 1879 by George Alderson Smith as a private residence, Holbeck Hall was later converted to a hotel giving customers fabulous views of the ocean but in 1993 part of the hotel slid into the sea and made World-wide news.


An aerial view of the devastating damage to Holbeck Hall

The incident caused £500,000 in damages and took almost half of the hotel into the water below. With many causing factors to this dreadful incident the remains of Holbeck Hall were demolished because of how unsafe it became after the freak incident.

One of the main causes was that the cliff was made up of one of the softest materials, clay. It was said to be that the clay had slipped or soil slip had occured which made the cliff collapse. For several days in early June 1993, the country, indeed the world was gripped by the drama of a hotel perched on a cliff above Scarborough slowly slipping into the sea. News desks everywhere loved the pictures and the crazy nature of the story.


Coastal erosion diagram showing how the disaster happened

Experts believe that the slide occured due to heavy rainfall in the months before that had saturated the cliffside, add in two earlier dry summers and the ground was literally taken from under the hotel!

The waves of the sea below had eroded parts of the cliff by abrasion and hydraulic action (when wind and water hit the rock). These factors combined resulted in a strange but very true natural disaster.

Sadly this natural occurrence is not a one off, about two metres of land along the coast is lost to the sea every year. Last year, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) states that “There are more than 200 homes at risk of complete loss to coastal erosion in the next 20 years”

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper Coastal erosion expert Professor Rob Duck, at Dundee University, said: “It is a very difficult issue, but we can’t defend everything at all costs. There are just not the resources to do it and keep on doing it. But it is not just about money, often people have lived in places for generations and there is a lot of history and memories.”

Evie, Year 8

NK School Newsroom

One Response to Holbeck Hall Falls into the Sea

  1. Kyra May 19, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Hi Evie!
    I clicked on this article because it is one of the case studies for my geography GCSE exam i am sitting on Tuesday! And I am so glad I did! Now I don’t have to revise it as your information was accurate and very interesting so thank you!