The town that never was – Ravenscar, Yorkshire

Today Ravenscar is a small coastal village in North Yorkshire, however during the late Victorian era there were much grander plans for the area.

Around 1896 roads started to be built, drainage and sewers were being dug, plots for houses were marked, all to support the creation of a seaside resort town intended to rival Blackpool on the west coast of England.

Station Road, Willis Road, Cliff Road and The Crescent were all built behind the road with the most picturesque views of the North Sea, Maine Esplanade.

The town itself would have been served by Ravenscar Railway Station which had a square built in front of it which included a hotel and a tearoom exists there today. An observatory, brickworks and golf course was also in the plan.

An excellent book on the history of the site entitled “Ravenscar – Going once, going twice, going wrong” by Marcus Aldrich and Amanda Batcheler can be found that The Town That Never Was website.

Around one thousand people invested in plots at Ravenscar and it looked as though the town would boom once finished. However, things aren’t always what they seem. The roads and drainage systems were put into place, but none of the houses people had been expecting were ever built. It seems the long and rocky trek to the nearby beach did nothing to enhance the popularity of the place and the whole development scheme collapsed and remained incomplete. The investors lost their money.

Further to the south of what remains of Ravenscar, Brent Rigg Radar Station was built in 1941. This formed part of the World War 2 coastal defence radar network along the eastern coast of England. Only four brick buildings remain of the original station and years of neglect took their toll on other buildings originally on the site, which were eventually demolished and cleared. Whilst not much to look at today, it is a fascinating story told by the interpretation boards.

In modern times, a National Trust Visitors’ Centre has opened to tell the story of Ravenscar which is often referred to as “The Town That Never Was”.


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