For generations people from places far and near have enjoyed the unique setting that is South Cliff Gardens, you only have to spend a few moments reading the inscriptions on the many memorial benches to get a sense of the depth of sentiment the gardens and their spectacular views stir in visitors.

In celebration of the work being done to regenerate the gardens we wanted to create a living and dynamic memorial to the gardens and so we present “Dear South Cliff Gardens”

‘Dear South Cliff Gardens’ invites anyone who has ever enjoyed the gardens to share their memories on a postcard, which has been designed specifically for the project by local artist Amy Kendall and curated by local poet Charlotte Oliver.

The completed postcards will be displayed in the new community hub in celebration of the regeneration of the gardens alongside an original poem by Charlotte, which will be inspired by the postcard responses. There is also an opportunity to design your own post card at one of the drop in workshops we will be running in the Italian Gardens over the summer.

Postcards have been part of our popular culture since 1870 when the first picture less postcard was produced by the Post Office. It wasn’t until 1902 that the first postcards as we would recognise them today came into circulation featuring a picture front and space on the back for a brief message and delivery address.

These novel postcards grew in popularity during the First World War as a means of keeping in touch with men fighting overseas and collecting postcards also became a popular hobby at this time. But they also provided a more immediate service, with the Royal Mail famed for its reliability at the time people used postcards as a kind of early text message, allowing them to arrange next day rendezvous with a measure of certainty that their message would reach its intended recipient on time.

We have chosen postcards for this project as the origin of holiday postcards in Britain has been traced back to the seaside and the burgeoning post war appetite for a coastal break. Soon sending home a postcard had become a firm and enduring holiday tradition and as old postcards of Scarborough show each is a kind of time casual, capturing a sense of time and place. Postcards of South Cliff from the Victorian era depict wealthy Victorians promenading on the Esplanade and beaches littered with bathing machines whilst those from the sixties have families enjoying the tidal swimming pool and picnicking in the Italian Gardens.

We hope that “Dear South Cliff Gardens” will stir happy memories but also capture this moment in time for future generations to look back on and enjoy and provide everyone who takes part with an enduring connection to the gardens. 

There are several ways you can participate:

  • Digitally, by filling in our online postcard.
  • By joining us at one of our informal drop in workshops in the Italian Gardens, keep an eye on social media for exact times/ dates for these. Here you will have chance to write or draw a postcard (both if you choose) and also get some poetry tips and have the chance to take part in some fun poetry activities lead by Charlotte.
  • By collecting a postcard and returning it to the pre filled address on the back.
  • By submitting a digital postcard of your own creation. Share your own visual memory of the gardens or a South Cliff selfie which we will use in a digital gallery. CANVA have a free template you can use, its super easy to sign up with them, here’s a postcard I made using their tools.

We look forward to seeing your designs and sharing your memories.

Gemma Alexander- Community Engagement Officer


Comments are closed