Society History

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Society, members have written a number of articles reflecting the society over those years.

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The origins of the Harrogate Civic Society

by

Michael Laycock

You may wonder why southbound traffic passes through Harrogate by such a tortuous route, involving as it does five nearly right angled turns from Ripon Road to Leeds Road. What we have now is a remnant of a much more ambitious project proposed more than fifty years ago.

At least one planned dual carriageway through Harrogate having been abandoned because of public opposition, West Riding County Council and Harrogate Borough Council officials devised a five-phased Traffic Management Scheme to achieve their objective in stages.

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Harrogate Civic Society - The early days

by

Malcolm Neesam

I joined the Committee of the newly formed Harrogate Society in 1971. At that time, the society met on the top floor of the no.26 James Street premises of Walter Davey and Son, one of Harrogate’s top photographers who occupied the shop built for them in the 1880’s. The Society had been established to oppose the five-phase traffic scheme introduced at that time, but as time passed, it broadened its interests and activities to take on such matters as planning, land use, the protection and enhancement of buildings of significance, and the holding of public meetings to inform them of new developments.

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The Historic Lamp Posts

by

Henry Pankhurst

Harrogate had its first gas street lamps planned in October 1847 by the Improvement Commissioners. A total of 96 locations were decided upon, for the short cast iron columns with square bases that included the Yorkshire rose in the casting. They were installed soon afterwards. This style of lamp post continued to be used for many decades – probably for about a century. You can still see examples today, to a limited extent, around the town and in private gardens. In the 1960’s they were converted to electricity, unfortunately with a small junction box at the top and with swan-neck fittings. This arrangement was not an enhancement compared to the original square Victorian lanterns with a Prussian spike, but at least the historic columns were saved.

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