Harrogate Library Resources
The Census :
A national census has been taken every decade since 1801, except 1941. From 1841, details of every individual were recorded including birthplace, age, family relationships and occupation. Those covering the censuses from 1841 to 1901 for the area covered by the present-day Harrogate Borough Council are available on microfilm at the Library. That of 1911 is only available commercially. The Library does offer free access to Ancestry and Find My Past, which also have those earlier censuses, although the use of the computer does incur a charge, which can make lengthy searches expensive. As their names suggest, the commercial providers are aimed principally at those tracing their family trees but can be used for historical research.
A page from the 1901 census of Harrogate showing Valley Road, close to the Valley Gardens (National Archives, available at Harrogate Library and commercially).
These are invaluable sources for many aspects of local history. Until well into the twentieth century they provided much more detail than modern newspapers on such as the proceedings of the Borough Council, the activities of local groups and societies, court cases and events, including detailed coverage of sport. The Library has on microfilm the following: Harrogate Herald (1847 – 1980), Harrogate Advertiser (1836 – 2017) and Pateley Bridge & Nidderdale Herald (1875-2006).
An early Harrogate Advertiser from 1847; note the list of visitors (available at Harrogate Library).
Street Directories & Guides :
Directories provide details primarily of local businesses, listed both by street and type of trade, but also give lists, for example, of local councillors and aldermen and societies. Armstrong's, Robinson's and Kelly's directories span the years 1877 to 1975. It is an incomplete run so please contact the Library if you are looking for a specific date. Guides are guidebooks to the town and district, like Thorpe’s Illustrated Guides, which list attractions, hotels and other information for visitors
Pages from Robinson's Harrogate Directory for 1900 showing Valley Drive with its accommodations for visitors (Harrogate Library).
Electoral Rolls :
The Library holds physical copies of the electoral roll from 1889-present. It is not a complete run, so again please get in touch to check specific holdings.
Annual Electoral Roll form
Historic Maps :
There is a large collection of maps covering Harrogate and the surrounding villages, including those of the Ordnance Survey at scales of 6”, 25” and 50” to the mile and including some first editions. There is also a collection of GOAD insurance maps covering town-centre retail units. An index makes it easier to find the place you are interested in.
Detail from the Ordnance Survey 25" to the mile map of 1891 showing Tower Street at centre and West Park to the left. (Reproduced with the Permission of Ordnance Survey).
Military Information :
The library has biographical indexes for Harrogate soldiers (Frist World War and Second World War). These provide details of when injuries/deaths of Harrogate soldiers were reported and of which war memorial their name appears on. It also holds copies of the Ackrills Annuals from the First World War.
Harrogate Terriers by John Sheehan
The photographic collection is available to view in the Library. There is a searchable index (accessible in the Library only) that staff can help you use to identify photographs that may be of interest. Many of the photographs are also available in digital format so can be emailed to users, thanks to the ongoing efforts of a team of local history volunteers.
An image from Harrogate Library's photographic collection showing the White Hart Hotel, late 1890s, (courtesy Harrogate Library).
Box Files :
These were compiled for a range of subjects such as local churches and chapels, inns and hotels and contain a mixture of press cuttings, pamphlets and miscellaneous information.