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A pictorial history of New Park - Part One - Industrial

20th April 2021

Via Zoom

Not content with being a teacher at New Park school for many years Terry Williams has also become New Park’s historian. Members enjoyed a Zoom talk about the origins of New Park, accompanied by some fascinating old photographs, maps and diagrams. While the area is now very much part of Harrogate it was farmland (apart for the now redeveloped Little Wonder pub at the junction on Skipton and Ripon roads) until gas works were built there in 1845 to serve the street gas lights installed in High and Low Harrogate. The gas was produced from coal, which was brought in to the works on a specially built railway, which passed through a tunnel under the Skipton Road. The gas works site is visible on the left just south of the Skipton/Ripon road roundabout and has been the focus in recent years of a controversial application for Harrogate’s only large Tesco supermarket.

With this industrial development came the need for workers, and housing, and eventually New Park School which opened in 1897. Terry showed us photographs of a train emerging from the tunnel that ran under the school playground, with happy children hanging over the edge of the tunnel to wave! We also saw a number of drawings and photographs of the railway engines, and tunnel, which would fascinate any railway enthusiast. Terry has set up the New Park Heritage Centre and visitor centre which can be visited by appointment, www.newparkheritagecentre.co.uk We are delighted that Terry will return to present a second talk on the social history of New Park.