Saturday, 17 September 2011


Raven Hall Hotel at Ravenscar has an interesting history. The hotel was built in 1774 as a private house by the owner of the Alum Works at Ravenscar Captain Childs, whose daughter Ann Willis took ownership on his death. The family made a fortune from providing medical treatment to assorted sickly royals from around Europe, one of whom was George III, who visited the property during his bouts of ill health. One particularly eccentric member of the Willis family used the proceeds of this medical venture to construct a series of hanging terraced gardens and battlements by blowing them out of the cliff face.

Later on, in the 1890s, the owner of the hotel hatched a grand plan to turn the village of Ravenscar into a fashionable seaside resort, to which end the estate was sold to the Peak Estate Company. Raven Hall became a hotel during this time, and a golf links was opened. As for the resort itself, although the planners got as far as laying out a street plan, houses were built and sewers laid, the resort never got off the ground, largely due to its elevation necessitating a long trek down to the beach, plus the unstable geology of the cliffs around there.

As for the Alum Works, or Peak Alum Works to give them their full name, they now lie abandoned, but there is a path leading to the site from the National Trust Coastal Centre for those wanting to view what remains of the works. Going much further back in time, there was a 4th century Roman signal station here, part of a chain of signal stations along the Yorkshire coast.

of the area.

'Ravenscar, Yorkshire, Autumn 2005' photo (c) 2005, JP - license:

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