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Londesborough Lodge home of Kagyu Samye Dzong a little history...

Updated: 5 days ago

I do love a bit of local history so this blog is just a little delve into the background of the building where we host our indoor Scarborough yoga classes both vinyasa flow and yin yoga. You may have noticed the little blue plaque on the wall to the left of the front door as you come to class.

blue plaque marking Scarborough heritage trail and Londesborough Lodge built in 1839 and home of the Londesborough family from 1853-1919

Built in 1839 the building was originally named Warwick House or Warwick Villa one of the 'Crescent villas' which also included Crescent House (now the art gallery) and Woodend (home of the Sitwell family from 1870-1935 and now the Woodend creative workspace). In 1853 Warwick House became the seaside retreat of the first earl of Londesborough, William Denison in 1853, changing it's name to Londesborough Lodge.

Lord Londesborough had his own footbridge built over Vernon Road to give his family and guests private access to the spa bridge and Scarborough Spa. They regarded the lodge as little more than a holiday cottage to stay at while they hunted and shot at their Londesborough Park estate near Beverley. A regular guest during the late 1800s was Queen Victoria’s son the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII. However on his last visit the then prince of Wales became critically ill with Typhoid and almost died bringing scandal to Scarborough and blemishing it's reputation as a health resort!

The German bombardment during the first world war placed the lodge in the frontline and consequently reduced the family's interest in spending time at the lodge and their visits dwindled with the building eventually being transferred into the ownership of the local authority from 1925.

Between 1929 and 1974 the building was used as a Turkish baths and medical spa facility, the manager and his wife lived on site in the annex building. There were three Turkish bath hot rooms, with various water treatments provided lower down, together with the boiler room, presumably where the yoga studio is now situated.

Yoga studio in Scarborough Buddhist centre set up for class with mats and bolsters

On the ground floor was the main reception area, a tea room, rest room, and rooms for professional masseurs to work in. There was also a seaweed bath.

The council later used the building as the administration centre for the tourism department and it was during this time that I first visited Londesborough Lodge back when I was working as a beach lifeguard for Scarborough Council in the early 2000s for some defibrillator training. BBC Radio York also had a home in the building until 2008.

In June 2013 the council transferred the building to the charity the Rokpa Trust and it re-opened as we see it now as the Kagyu Samye Dzong Scarborough Tibetan Buddhist Centre providing a centre for meditation and the health and wellbeing of the community. It's a lovely building with lots of history and a great sense of community, which is why I love hosting our indoor Scarborough vinyasa flow and yin yoga classes here. I hope to see you for some yoga soon!


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