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Harrogate in 1914 - A talk by Keith Wilkinson

October 2019

Keith’s charming and informative selection of sepia-tinted illustrations revealed decades of Harrogate in all its glory. The town, at one point referred to as ‘Britain’s premier resort’ was, at another - by Charles Dickens in 1858 – suggested to be ‘the queerest place’. We were reminded of changes at the start of World War I in 1914: of the town’s contribution to the war effort when the loss of iron railings changed the look of so many properties. Charming photographs reminded us of La Scala, a cinema on Cambridge Street, and the Lowther Arcade, since destroyed by fire. We were treated to reminiscences of belt-tightening in more recent times, when those with means were panic-buying sugar in Standings, their favoured grocery shop. We remembered The Market and the joys of its myriad wares. Keith treated us to so much more: the Valley Gardens, the Kursaal, King’s Road as it used to be, Harrogate Theatre – its entrance delightfully unchanged today - Ackrill’s News building, Betty’s before it was Bettys, the Grand Hotel now Windsor House.

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