For the last two weeks of August 1900, Frederick Leach and his wife Mary Ann had a holiday in Scarborough, staying at Mrs Ruddocks’ lodgings at 44 Trafalgar Square. They visited the School of Art Exhibition at the Museum and took day trips by rail to Bridlington and Whitby. On the 30th August Frederick wrote in his pocket diary, ‘self to Fish Market and after breakfast M.A. and self to surroundings of old Castle and on to the sands (self to look at St Martins Church wherein we did the decoration). In the evening we went on the Pier and saw an entertainment Our Navy.’ Twenty-eight years previously, almost to the day, on 28th August 1872, Frederick had recorded travelling to Scarborough but added no details as to what he was doing there.
St Martin’s church was commissioned by Miss Mary Craven and named in memory of her father. It was designed by George Frederick Bodley in 1860 and consecrated in 1863. Bodley’s designs for the painted interior were carried out by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co, mostly by George Campfield. No direct evidence has yet been discovered of Leach’s involvement in this first stage of painting although it is possible that he worked with Campfield. It is also possible that he was involved in one of the several subsequent additions to the decoration over the next thirty years.
Michael Hall, George Frederick Bodley and the Later Gothic Revival in Britain and America (Yale University Press, 2015)