|Former names Roosevelt Hotel|
Closed 4 June 1993
Owner English Rose Hotels
|Client George Alderson Smith|
Architectural style Victorian architecture
(originally private house)|
Location Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England
Coordinates (grid reference TA0486)
Destroyed 5 June 1993 (1993-06-05)
Similar Grand Hotel, Holderness, Crown Spa Hotel, The Spa - Scarborough, Rotunda Museum
The Holbeck Hall Hotel was a clifftop hotel in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England, owned by English Rose Hotels. The hotel had scenic views of the sea and surrounding area. It was built in 1879 by George Alderson Smith as a private residence, and was later converted to a hotel. On 3 June 1993, a rotational slip occurred beneath the hotel. The severity level increased, and finally on 5 June 1993, after a day of heavy rain, parts of the building dramatically fell into the sea, making news around the world. The remainder of the building had to be demolished by contractors due to safety reasons.
Map of Holbeck Hall Hotel, Scarborough, UK
Although it was on a clifftop, an information board at the top of the cliff states that the incident was nothing to do with the sea, blaming it on soil creep. This is a common problem in Scarborough, with several paths and pavements clearly starting to slip down the hill. Before the cliff collapsed, there had been some very heavy rainfall, resulting in the muddy cliff turning into sludge. This flowed downhill – quite rapidly for a muddy bank – and ultimately took the hotel with it. In total 27,000m² of mud fell into the sea, and protruded 100 metres further into the sea than the original coastline.
In 1997, it became the subject of a significant court case in English civil law (Holbeck Hall Hotel Ltd v Scarborough BC) when the owners of the hotel attempted to sue Scarborough Borough Council for damages, alleging that as owners of the shoreline they had not taken any practical measures at all to prevent the landslip – from soft, to hard engineering, nothing was done. The claim was rejected on the grounds that the Council was not liable for the causes of the slip itself due to the fact it was not reasonably foreseeable. Reasonable foreseeability is a requirement for liability in English and Welsh tort law. The case is important for students of geography, geotechnical engineering, engineering geology, and law.