Visit to Scarborough in 1812

The Yorkshire resort of Scarborough has always been popular with Wakefield people, with visits to the Spa for health reasons common in the early 19th century. Wakefield Local Studies Library holds three diaries from this period written by Lupset farmer Matthew Tomlinson, which are being transcribed by two members of Wakefield Historical Society.  Tomlinson regularly suffers from pain in his head, and often dwells on his own mortality.  This is his description of his first visit to Scarborough age 46, (spelling and punctuation as in the original):

Sept 6th 1812

Three weeks have elapsed from the days of the years of my life, since I last made my accustomary remarks upon myself, and upon Men and Things:  – my reason for this neglect is, I have been at Scarboro’ to try if Sea-bathing wou’d be of any benifit to my head; it has certainly done me some little good, but I do not, nor cannot expect a lasting cure.  I have seen many things at Scarboro’ which were new to me; but none worth so much notice as the vast Ocean – the great world of Water – while I was there, I saw what sea-faring Men call a squall; or a Storm: it was awfully, and majestically grand: I stood with many more admirers, or lookers on at the foot of the Castle rock, were the waves brake against the Pier with fomeing and resistless rage: it led me to imagine what must be the situation of the poor Mariners when they are shipwrecked in a storm. Death yawns around them in all his furious forms –

As to all the gay Gentlemen and Ladies which I saw, I thought little of; I only considered us all collectively, as runing down lifes giddy dance, We crossed over, we figured in, we rode in Charriots, we rode on horseback, we trudged on the foot upon the sands, and thus ran down the varyed dance – Poor deceived, and deceiving Man, – I spent a profitable hour or two in the Church yard amongst a numerous group of headstones, while laughing mirth, and frisking gayity walked upon the Terrace, or Cantered along the Sands.

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