For our August meeting we were joined by the charismatic Harry, from the famous ‘ free Harrogate Walking tours’.
He entertained us with interesting facts and stories about the vast and wonderful history of Harrogate.
We learnt that Harrogate attracted Royal visitors, famous writers and the who’s who of society.
People especially flocked to The fragrant odours of the famous sulphur water from the Harrogate pump rooms. Appropriately named, all things considered!
Discovering that the sulphur waters had a mild antibacterial quality, The Victorian quarter and Royal Bath Hospital attracted people from all over, for the Iron, Sulphur and magnesium treatments, claiming to cure all manor of ailments!
Not to mention some quite new and modern electro hydro treatments. Shocking!
We saw photos of the exquisite Royal Baths and learnt that it cost £100 to replace each brick and that the Italian floor maker wasn’t giving away any secrets to his skills and designs any time soon!
Amazingly during the Second World War, The RAF requisitioned Harrogate and it became known as RAF Harro! With troops from the all over the UK, Canada and America.
Harry told us that The Swan hotel was the first luxury establishment attracting the Who’s who of society! Including Agatha Christy, Cole Marks and Oscar Wilde.
In fact The Harrogate Advertiser would publish a list of guests staying at the Swan and other hotels in Harrogate, so you could make sure were seen holidaying with the right social circles!
It has to be said though, that the winner of the the most unusual room service request, “Excuse me I seem to have a dud bomb at the end of my bed!”, goes to The Majestic Hotel!
Where it is said that Sir Winston Churchill was a frequent guest.
The Royal Hall was the first of our beautiful theatres in Harrogate. It was also the first establishment to have electricity throughout. Sporting a dome ceiling and a hefty amount of gold leaf!
I think your join me in thanking Harry, AKA “Wally in a waistcoat!”, for a most informative and enjoyable evening.
If you would like to get in touch with Harry or join one of his walks, then follow him on fb or click on the link below.