Thursday, May 13, 2010

Postcard of the Week : The New Spa, Bridlington

Valentine Postcard circa 1908. Postally unused.
My postcard of the week shows the Yorkshire seaside resort of Bridlington, one of our family's favourite seaside destination when I was young. Indeed, one of my earliest memories is of the little boating lake that was located next to the Spa complex. I remember it as anything but little : it was vast, the size of the Atlantic at least, and the highspot of my holiday would be when my father, brother and myself would set sail in a small rowing boat in search of exotic lands.

The re-developed Spa Complex in 2008
The New Spa and Gardens were built in 1896 as a private development designed to provide much needed visitor attractions to what, until then, had been predominantly a fishing town. For 6d (sixpence in old money, two-and-a-half modern pence) you could get a day ticket which would allow you to explore five acres of gardens, listen to a band playing, take refreshments in the cafe, or go to a concert in the theatre. Initially it was a great success, but in 1906 - shortly before the above picture must have been taken - the theatre was devastated by a fire. A new building was quickly erected and the "New Spa Opera House" became a popular venue for the new craze in moving pictures (it was a opera house in name only). In 1919 the complex was bought by the local Council who demolished the less-than-grand Opera House and built the much grander Spa Royal Hall in its place. But the complex seemed to be plagued with bad luck and in 1932 it burnt down yet again. A new Royal Hall was built and that one seems to have survived the years, although it has recently been subject to a major redevelopment and modernisation.

I am not sure if the boating lake is still there. I must try and get to Bridlington sometime over the summer and take a look. If it is, I will hire a rowing boat and go in search of exotic lands. That's a promise.

See other Postcard of the Week posts on News from Nowhere


  1. Nice postcard, Alan. I wonder what was showing at the Opera House?

  2. That is what I call a quick comment! Your comment was up before I had finished posting the entry! And according to their website, the next event at the Spa will feature the undoubted talents of someone called Imelda May.

  3. There's an even bigger boating lake next to the Spa in Bridlington. It's called The Sea. Make sure that you don't get the two confused when looking for exotic lands!
    I hope your boating lake is still there...
    Word verification is jampushr - I wonder if this is the drug of choice at the Spa.. on toast... getting hungry...

  4. Hi Alan,

    It is funny how some buildings just seem to be cursed and have problem after problem. On our street, it seems like the same 3 houses have always had problems. No one knows exactly why, but even the families who have lived in these houses have had problems. Only in the last year have all three house been occupied at the same time. We are hoping that things change in those houses.

    You did not say if anyone had been hurt in those fires, I truly hope not. Although it does make one wonder why the city has not required that a sprinkler system be installed in the building, well just in case another fire occurs.

    And did you ever find any exotic lands? Funny how the size of things is all relative with one's age and size. Although the Pacific ocean still looks large to me at any age.

    God bless.

  5. I thought it was a bit weird, that you had only posted a picture with no words. Just goes to show the power of postcards!

    By the way, Imelda May is a favourite. 'Johnny's Got a Boom Boom' and all that.

  6. Martin : I'm getting old, seriously old.

  7. It's so interesting to see how postcards captured an earlier age so well. Thanks for the perspective on a scenic area.

  8. It's always fun to see something in later years that you haven't seen since a child. I remember thinking my grandparents lived in a huge house only to go back decades later and see this tiny, tiny little place! LOL!

    Too bad about the fires. It looks like a charming spot on the postcard!

  9. Just keep rowing. Our land isn't exactly exotic but please visit anyway!

    It's funny how as children the world is 'writ large', as Martin wrote in his poem. When I was five years old my sister and I once got lost in our Nan's house in Hastings. I remember being terrified, the two of us hand-in-hand combing what seemed like miles of hallways and stairs. Many years later I visited the cousin who now lives in that house and was so surprised to find that the mansion of my dreams was really quite an ordinary two story house.

  10. best in your search for exotic lands! but be careful of going native!

  11. Hello, Alan,
    I'm late on my reading up, so need to travel down the page.
    This reminds me of the Sutro baths in SF.... Have a great weekend! -j

  12. Ah I came over yesterday and all I could see was the card and no post! I thought maybe it was your 'mystery' post for theme Thursday. I guess I caught you with your pants down. Glad I came back and read about it's background!


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