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Society Events


Festive gathering and talk

December 2019

The Club

This was our annual festive social event for members and guests at The Club - an informal occasion to meet and chat over drinks and nibbles in the comfortable setting of The Club. This year it included a talk by Harry Satloka on his experiences delivering his very popular walking tours of Harrogate.

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.

Heritage Plaques - A talk by Malclom Neesam

September 2019

20 Park Parade

We gathered in the elegant drawing room of 20 Park Parade for a talk on some of Harrogate’s plaques by Malcolm Neesam. The focus of this talk was on the ‘non-brown’ plaques and we learnt that the first plaque to be erected in Harrogate was a copper plate for the Spa Gardens which included details of Harrogate’s longitude, latitude, mean hours of sunshine and rainfall! Our host for the evening, Justin Kitson, gave us a very brief summary of the work that he had undertaken to restore the house

Heritage Plaques Website Launch Event

July 2019

Granby Care Home

Over 60 guests and members of the Civic Society gathered in the Crystal Ballroom of The Granby Care Home to listen to a fascinating talk by Malcolm Neesam on the background to the familiar brown plaques and less familiar sundry plaques. This was followed by the Mayor of Harrogate, Stuart Martin MBE, entering on the Civic Society computer: marking our new website going live

A visit to Halifax

June 2019

Halifax Town centre

The Halifax Civic Society were our guides for a tour of a number of Halifax's historic buildings. We started with the Grade II* listed Square Chapel, built in 1772 and for a short period the largest single span chapel in the country. It was saved from demolition and is now a multi-purpose auditorium. Next door to the Chapel are the remains of the 1857 Square Church, damaged by fire in 1971. We next visited the Piece Hall - Halifax’s impressive cloth hall. Opened in 1775. This was followed by a tour of the Grade II* listed Town Hall, where we viewed the main civic areas, including the Mayor’s Parlour with its fine collection of silver and chains of office. The day concluded with a brief visit to the ‘Streets in the Sky’ above the 1891 Grade ll * listed Borough Market. Access was through a locked staircase near the main entrance which leads up to a terrace of three-storey houses, built for the market traders who occupied the units below.

A visit to Manor House

April 2019

Manor Nursing Home, Cornwall Road, Harrogate

Members visited Manor House Nursing Home on Cornwall Road, Harrogate. Known to many Harrogate residents as Waldernheath, its original name, this fine building has had mixed fortunes since its construction in 1894 by David Simpson (the developer of the Duchy estate). Members enjoyed a tour of the building, a sumptuous afternoon tea and meeting residents (including several HCS members) who also attended the talk.

Domestic Servants in Edwardian Harrogate

March 2019

Dr Paul Jennings gave a talk which provided an intriguing insight into the world of domestic service in Harrogate during the Edwardian age. The statistics Paul unearthed showed the different types of service open to the largely female workforce. If the Edwardian period was the high point of domestic service in Harrogate, it was dealt a fatal blow by the two World Wars and the inexorable rise of many other employment opportunities, particularly for women, in shops, factories and offices.

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