Although the whitewashed pantiled building looks as though it’s been part of Robin Hood’s Bay village for centuries it in fact relatively modern. Prior to 1967 a coastguard lookout, Board of Trade Rocket Apparatus house and a cottage occupied the site which was was acquired by Leeds University Zoology Dept. The building was demolished in its entirety and replaced by a marine laboratory to study marine pollution. It was built with a grant of £25,000 from the Wellcome Trust and was architect designed by the Fine Art Commission. I have it in my notes that the new build utilised stone salvaged from Eston Pit Top and from a contemporary photograph it looked completely out of character and obtrusive. The laboratory was wider, extending right up to the sea wall. The second floor comprised ugly picture windows along its entire length and above, four dormer windows lighted the attic up the to apex of the roof. Some time later the building found itself in private ownership.
Now there’s a very nice cafe in Robin Hood’s Bay that has a selection of books about the village. It was in one of these books that I came across another old photograph taken in 1910 which showed the original building. This old building looks remarkably similar to the modern one. It seems to me that the 1960s building was either completely demolished again or substantially altered in an attempt to replicate the original.
It’s a shame but copyright issues prevent me from including these two old photographs so you could see for yourselves.