East Sandgate, the Damyot and an Undercroft


The town stream, the ancient Damyot, is long gone. Here it cuts the new town's dyke as the monasteries (the first to try to tame the creek) start to wake. So too, final preparations for filming are being made and I am taking this opportunity to seek out color for particular scenes. 

House and monastic models are finished - most needed to by hand built because of the distinctive Yorkshire style used in Scarborough. These are being added to the town, locality by locality.  Trees, shrubs, crops and farm animals will be added last. Meanwhile, main and supporting characters are being imported and paired with voice and animation assets. This week we start to record the first voice-synched animations from within the engine. 

Here the acrobat Astrid is about to practice flame throwing on one of the herring-boat piers outside the East Sand Gate :|  I have woken at least once just recently worried that I left the fire and many candles burning in the scriptorium - AStrid is a whole new level of concern. In the above picture, below the far distance the spires of St Marys at the beach, the Annual Fair is being set up. Boat sheds, a boat ramp, storehouses and the Port Reeves tower will shortly join the cranes, stone walls and piers. 

Which leads me to the vexed problem of Undercrofts, and how shops were scattered across the urban landscape.  It is said that in a medieval urban area, every house was a shop - whether workshop, fast food joint, service provider, crafter or seller. Some suggest that the ground floors consisted of work areas, butchers, bakers and other skills that left nothing valuable behind at night. These 'undercrofts' tended to be open, with more permanent shops in the building above, protected by height and locked doors. 
Just inside the East Sandgate, we have located a small market place including the undercroft of a medieval butcher (the open shop on the left behind Astrid). On the right is a reconstruction of a jettied residence - the ground floor there will be used to store hemp for the covered walkway (a fancy name for a rope making enterprise located on the seaward ridge beyond St Marys). Both are based on sketches of medieval buildings before they were demolished. In preparation are a range of other shops and work areas - an apothecary, money-lender, merchant-broker, carpenter, blacksmith, ironmongerer, tile layer, hunters, cowherd, stone-layer, masons and rogues:)
This particular part of the set will see heavy use and will become tightly groomed. Getting into the Engine and walking around continues to throw up surprises: until getting into the set and the nearby guard post, I had not appreciated the strategic importance of its placement. 

And, after a little grooming, Sam Dresser's butchers shop (one of those taken from a sketch - shown above empty) is starting to fill. The assets here were resulted from a chance offer from a neighbor who spent the morning renewing my skills cutting up a sheep - resulting in lots of 2D pics of the process. This afternoon, i converted them into 3D assets using Blender. 

1264 sits in one of the 'good' times - quarrels with nearby towns were to drain away much of the wealth of the town in the 1380s when 'grass now grow in the streets'. Dark days are ahead - civil strife, the Scots, a pirate and economic collapse. "The number of bakers reduced from eight to four, all four drapers closed their shops, four butchers, ten weavers and 11 tailors, all closed down and only half of the forty public houses remained in business." Still - it is heartening to know that, even in the bad times, 20 ale houses still found customers. It is worth reflecting on the sober observation that a town of 250 houses (a proportion of which were occupied by monks), 40 were "public houses". 


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