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Upcoming Events

Most Harrogate Civic Society Talks are free to members.

Unless otherwise stated, events are at

St Paul's UR Church Hall (Belford Road, off Victoria Avenue opposite the Library).

A Village called Pannal

From 2:30pm

24th July 2024

At the Chapter House of St Robert’s Church, Main Street, Pannal HG3 1JZ

Anne Smith, long-time resident of Pannal, local historian, blogger, and a former chair of the Harrogate Civic Society, will give an informative and entertaining talk about her village. She’ll include the history of this ancient settlement, including its heritage buildings, and share stories and amusing anecdotes of the people who lived there.

Anne will start at 2:30pm with a short tour of the church’s graveyard, the last resting place of Betty Lupton, and her talk will begin in the chapter house at 3:00pm, with plenty of time for questions.

Teas and coffees will be available. Free parking is at the church car park and it's 5-minute walk from Pannal train station and the No. 36 bus stop.

Seating capacity is limited so please reserve your space at

A visit to Markenfield Hall

2:00 pm

15 August 2024

Markenfield Hall, 3 miles south of Ripon on the main Harrogate - Ripon road (A61).

A private guided tour of Markenfield Hall. This 14th/15th century moated house remains in private ownership, with knowledgeable volunteers providing tours covering its colourful history including involvement (on the Catholic side) in The Rising of the North, its subsequent decline into being barely habitable in the 1960s, and its painstaking restoration from the 1980s onwards. There will, or course, be tea and cake.

Numbers are limited so please book as soon as possible by emailing

Car sharing would be welcome so please let us know if you can offer a lift/need a lift.

Please email if you wish to attend.

Cost £20.50 - to be paid online [Account Number: 16746595 , Sort Code: 05-04-54]. Please use as a reference for your payment "your initial and surname/ Markenf" so that our Treasurer can identify the payment in our bank account.

John Sheepshanks, the third Vicar of St John’s Church Bilton and a Bishop in the rough

6:45 pm tea/coffee for
7:30 pm talk

25th September 2024

St John’s Church, Bilton Lane,

Dr. Alan Gould, secretary and treasurer of the Bilton Historical Society, and Harrogate Civic Society member, will give a talk at St John’s Church Bilton on the life of John Sheepshanks (1834-1912), an austere High Church Anglican and the third vicar of the church.

John was a distant relative of the church’s founder, William Sheepshanks, and a pioneering missionary during the Canadian Cariboo Gold Rush of the 1860s when he made epic journeys across North America, the Pacific and Asia. He married whilst in Bilton and started a family before moving to Anfield, Liverpool as the incumbent of St Margaret’s, where he founded a school. He had seventeen children, wrote several books and was noted for his pastoral work and attention to his clergy. He finally became Bishop of Norwich.

Dr. Gould was born and bred in Bilton, went to Bilton Endowed School, Ashville College and studied at Nottingham University. He has recently retired and returned to Harrogate after a world-wide career in the chemical industry.

Teas and coffees will be available (for a donation to church funds) from 6:45pm. There will be a short informal tour of the church from 7:00pm and the talk will begin at 7:30pm.

Please email if you wish to attend.

Coffee morning (6)

10:00 am to 12:00 pm

16th October 2024

Location To be Confirmed

All Harrogate Civic Society members are invited to meet for informal coffees / drinks / chats / etc.

Purely a social get-together. No agenda, so speeches, no Q&A session, no fixed start/end time. Instead, just a chance to get to chat with other society members - new and old - in a casual, relaxed environment. Self-pay for eats-n-drinks, normal town-centre prices.

Turn up any time from 10:00am to 12:00pm. New members are especially welcome. And do bring along anyone who’s considering joining the society.

Planning Harrogate

From 7:00 pm

22 October 2024

St Paul’s URC Hall, Victoria Avenue, HG1 1EL

Paul Hatherley is a member of the Harrogate Civic Society planning sub-group and has a particular interest in how current and future planning policy will 'shape' our town and the wider district.

His talk will introduce the planning system for Harrogate and describe how this works by deciding where (and what) is built by allocating land for different types of development, setting planning policy to decide if new development proposals are acceptable and should get planning permission, and ensuring there is the correct infrastructure and services in place to support that development.

We have a document called the Harrogate District Local Plan - produced by the planning authority - which contains all the above information. It must be used by North Yorkshire councillors when they make planning decisions. That document will be replaced by a new county-wide local plan in 2028. The process leading up to the adoption date of that document will be described, including how the society (and you) can be involved in the review process.

There will also be an update on a neighbourhood plan for the town of Harrogate which could lead to the adoption of a community-led plan with the same legal status as council's local plan. By the date of the talk we should have a better understanding of when a new town council will be set up and its functions - particularly how it will comment on new development in the town and if it intends to take on the task of producing a neighbourhood plan.

Teas and coffees will be available from 7:00pm and the talk will begin at 7:30pm.

Please email if you wish to attend.

Pharaohs, Royalty and Harrogate - A history of Ogdens jewellers in five generations

From 7:00pm, the talk will begin at 7:30pm.

Tuesday 19 November 2024

St Paul’s URC Hall, off Victoria Avenue, HG1 1EL

After the over-subscribed private events for Harrogate Civic Society members at Ogdens' James Street premises last September, we are delighted to welcome Robert Ogden to give an illustrated talk.

Ogden of Harrogate, one of the oldest and best-known family jewellers in the country, have created beautiful items for many prestigious clients within their Harrogate Workshop, among them Winston Churchill, the Roosevelts, King George VI and Princess Marina.

Their history began in 1893, when James Roberts Ogden opened ‘Ogden's Little Diamond Shop' in Harrogate. At the time, Harrogate was entering its heyday as 'The World’s Greatest Spa', and visitors to the town included royalty, aristocracy, and society names.

By all accounts James R Ogden was a charismatic figure and popular with his customers. He also rose to prominence in the jewellery industry and also followed his passion for the growing arts of archaeology and anthropology, becoming advising goldsmith to the British Museum and assisting the renowned archaeologists of the day including Leonard Woolley and Howard Carter. One of his more notable tasks was to value and test the gold work found in Tutankhamun's tomb.

Robert Ogden, who now runs the business alongside his brother Ben, will bring the founder to life, and provide some insights into the inner workings of the jewellery industry.

Wine, juice, tea and coffee will be available from 7:00pm and the talk will begin at 7:30pm.

Please email if you wish to attend.

Christmas Social 2024

2:30 pm to 4:30 pm TBC

15th December 2024

St Wilfrid's Church Hall, Duchy Road, HG1 2EY

Our December seasonal social gathering will take place at St Wilfrid's Church Hall from 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm. Expect wine, soft drinks, tea, coffee and, of course, mince pies and Christmas cake .

More details nearer the time.

There is some parking in the church car park (accessed from Duchy Road) and unrestricted parking on Duchy Rd and side roads. Watch out for uneven surfaces in the car park please.

Harrogate Hertitage Plaques

From 7:00 pm

21st January 2025

St Paul’s URC Hall, Victoria Avenue, HG1 1EL

This will be an illustrated talk by Chris Dicken, who leads the HCS Plaques sub-group.

Back in 2019, after seeing a report about a plaque unveiling in the local press, Chris decided to go on a mission to see all the plaques in Harrogate. This led on to him cataloguing and recording them all and eventually to producing the plaques website. Interested in making the plaques more accessible to local residents and visitors alike, Chris also devised the now popular walking trails and maps and then persuaded his son to develop an Android App for the trails.

The talk will give an insight into the history of the plaques, how each new plaque comes into being and will illustrate many of the plaques and the themes therein. Perhaps even a few nuggets of knowledge about Harrogate that you may not know. Chris is no historian, so it won't be a in depth look at Harrogate's history, but rather a pointer to some of the interesting places and people of our town.

Please email if you wish to attend.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

From 7:00pm

25th February 2025

St Paul’s URC Hall, Victoria Avenue, HG1 1EL

Elizabeth Smith, Public Engagement Coordinator (North East) for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, will give a talk and presentation to members about the history of the CWGC and its work today. Elizabeth has in the past welcomed members on tours at Stonefall Cemetery and is a regular host of Heritage Open Days events there.

The presentation starts with how the Commission began and its work during the First and Second World Wars, and concludes with its work today in maintaining and preserving its historic estate around the world. The presentation will also mention some of the war graves closer to home and tell the stories of some of those that the Commission commemorates.

Teas and coffees will be available from 7:00pm and the presentation will begin at 7:30pm. There will be an opportunity for members to make a donation to support the work of the Commission.

Please email if you wish to attend.

Leonora Cohen: A Leeds Suffragette

From 7:00 pm

11th March 2025

St Paul’s URC Hall, Victoria Avenue, HG1 1EL

A talk by Nicola Pullan:
Assistant Curator of Leeds and Social History, Leeds Museums and Abbey House Museum Kirkstall

Based on research from her archive held at Leeds Museums and Galleries, the talk will be a chance to explore the life of Suffragette Leonora Cohen. It will be a chance to learn more about her early life, her suffrage activity in Leeds, her move to Harrogate, and what she went on to do after winning the vote.

Please email if you wish to attend.

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