"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Monday, 19 September 2016

Yorkshire Holiday: Monday, 12th September : Harrogate

We spent the first afternoon of our short break in North Yorkshire visiting Harrogate.

A few random facts about the town:

A spa town with elegant architecture, open green spaces, parks and gardens which was once the favourite destination of European society.

It was voted "the happiest place in Great Britain".

It has areas of cobbled streets and lots of independent shops.

Charles Dickens was one of Harrogate's most famous visitors.

The Cyclists Touring Club Great Britain was founded here in 1878.

Agatha Christie mysteriously disappeared for 11 days in 1926 and was found in the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate - the story of this event was made into a film called "Agatha" in 1977 and was filmed on location around Harrogate.

In 1571 William Slingsby discovered the Tewit Well and realising the medicinal powers of its waters had it paved and enclosed. Addditional springs were discovered including St John's Well, the Old Sulphur Well and the chalybeate springs. The waters were used in the treatments of ailments such as scurvy, epilepsy, ulcers and sores From the middle of the 17th century more and more people visited to "take the waters" staying in Knaresborough which was a much larger town at the time. Throughout Georgian and Victorian times accommodation and entertainment in Harrogate were developed so people could stay in the town whilst visiting the springs and baths.

Montpellier Gardens

The famous "Betty's" tea-room - there was a queue :(

Ulia was not impressed that we missed out on tea and cakes!

Instead we bought cakes from Thomas the Baker

St Peter's Church (1876)

The Turkish Baths and Health Spa were built in 1877 and were very popular in Victorian times - they are still open today.

The Royal Baths (1897) developed into one of the most famous hydrotherapy establishments in the world offering a variety of treatments from sulphur baths to hot mud poultices. The building now houses restaurants.

Hales Bar - Harrogate's oldest pub (18th century) and Grade II listed.

The Royal Pump Room was built in 1842 over the old Sulphur Well which was once called "The Stinking Spaw". There is a very strong smell of sulphur today as you approach the building. It was the strongest Sulphur Well in Europe and over 15,000 people used to visit every summer. D and I visited the museum which is housed in the Pump Room today with displays on Spa History, Egyptology and various temporary exhibitions such as "Men of Fashion", "Exploration and Innovation (jewellery) and "Writing Women : Tools of the Trade". Sorry, no photos of the interior as they weren't allowed.

In 1926, 1,500 glasses of sulphur water were still being served each morning. There was a glass of what I assume was sulphur water on the reception desk - and I had no intention of trying it - the smell was exceedingly offputting!.

Meanwhile B and E went for a quick walk in Valley Gardens - these cover 17 acres and date from the 18th century. They lead up to to RHS Garden Harlow Carr. The gardens contain more mineral springs than anywhere else in the world. A pity we didn't have more time as I would like to have spent some hours in the gardens but the car park ticket was running out.

Byron stayed in the 300 year old Crown Hotel in 1806.

Farrers - makers of Harrogate Toffee since 1840

The last few photos were taken by D with the Canon SX50 HS.

A Ghost sign in Harrogate

I finished knitting this bear just before we went on holiday - he has been christened "Barrington" although I think he may well end up being called "Bear" for short!

Taken from the car window on the journey to the cottage.

We were staying in a hamlet called Draughton, a few miles from Skipton which turned out to be a good location for the places we planned to visit on the holiday. Grange Farmhouse is 300 years old and has been renovated and converted into 3 holiday cottages. Lots of period features remain such as windows, oak beams, fireplaces and we even had a cellar! The cottages overlooked an orchard and I watched a Red Admiral every day feeding on the fallen fruit.

(For more information on Ulia, the Lunar moth and the Matlock Hare books please visit www.matlockthehare.com)


Wendy said...

A fascinating look around Harrogate. I've only ever been there once for a conference about 25 years ago, so I didn't really see it. From what I did see and from your information it's a very pleasant place to visit. I love to see all the independent and special shops and the grand old buildings. It's interesting to read all the history, too. Your holiday cottage sounds lovely.

Rosie said...

Lovely photos and interestings facts about Harrogate and its history as a Spa Town. The gardens look wonderful. Shame about the queue at Betty's but Thomas the Baker looks like a good substitute. The cottages look lovely and sound very cosy too. I hope Ulia moth and Barrington Bear enjoyed their stay and you and your family too, of course:)

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - thanks so much. Brian and I went once before (about 40 years ago!) and all I remembered were the gardens and that time we did visit Betty's! I do enjoy visiting these towns and reading up on the history etc. :)

Rosie - thanks very much :) We found a Thomas Baker shop in every town we visited and have to admit more cakes were bought!! :) Need to go on a diet! :( Thanks - yes, we did have a good time and managed to cram quite a lot into the few days.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Also 1982 Eurovision song contest held there after Bucks Fizz won the year before!

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thanks Simon - I should have remembered that I used to watch it in those days! :)

SeagullSuzie said...

Thank you for this lovely trip around Harrogate. I lived there for 10 years and really miss the place...but not the cold bitter winters. The Stray is beautiful in Spring when it's full of crocus flowers. I lived very near the Valley Gardens and walked the dog there everyday. Used to visit Harlow Carr too. Looks like you had a great break. Skipton is lovely too with its castle.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Thanks so much Suzie - what a lovely place it must have been to live :) All those gardens and, of course, The Stray plus so much lovely countryside and places of interest to visit nearby! I really wish we had had more time there as I would have liked to explore Valley Gardens and visit Harlow Carr but it was such a short break. We visited Skipton on the last day - superb church and castle :)

amanda peters said...

love Harrogate , going (backwards !) through your posts, make me relies what a lovely area I live in :)))) so thanks for reminding me.
Sorry it has taken me so long to comment, pleased I have read them now and glad you had a lovely time.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks so very much Amanda and please don't apologise for late comment (I know you have been taking a break from blogging) - no need at all. I just wish we could have had longer there - so much to see and do.

It is easy to forget delights on the doorstep - I do it all the time!! So many local places I still haven't visited or keep saying I must go back there! :(