Harrogate is a spa town in North Yorkshire, England. Historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the town is a tourist destination and its visitor attractions include its spa waters and RHS Harlow Carr gardens. Nearby is the Yorkshire Dales national park. Harrogate grew out of two existing smaller settlements, High Harrogate and Low Harrogate, in the 17th century.
Harrogate spa water contains iron, sulphur and common salt. The town became known as 'The English Spa' in the Georgian Era, after its waters were discovered in the 16th century. In the 17th and 18th centuries the 'chalybeate' waters (i.e. containing iron) were a popular health treatment, and the influx of wealthy but sickly visitors contributed significantly to the wealth of the town.
Harrogate railway station and Harrogate bus station in the town centre provide transport connections. Leeds Bradford International Airport is 10 miles (16 km) south-west of Harrogate. The main road through the town is the A61, connecting Harrogate to Leeds and Ripon. Harrogate is connected to Wetherby and the A1, by the A661. The town of Harrogate had a population of 71,594 at the 2001 UK census; the urban area comprising Harrogate and nearby Knaresborough had a population of 85,128, while the figure for the much wider Borough of Harrogate, comprising Harrogate, Knaresborough, Ripon and a large rural area, was 151,339.
The town motto is Arx celebris fontibus, which means "a citadel famous for its springs."
Royal Pump Room
The name Harrogate is first attested in the 1330s as Harwegate. It seems to derive from Old Norse hǫrgr 'a heap of stones, cairn' + gata 'street', in which case the name presumably meant 'road to the cairn'.
Before the discovery of its iron and sulphur rich water, Harrogate comprised two hamlets, High Harrogate and Low Harrogate, close to Knaresborough. The first mineral spring was discovered in 1571 by William Slingsby, who found that water from the Tewit Well possessed similar properties to that from the springs of the Belgian town of Spa, which gave its name to spa towns. The medicinal properties of the waters were publicised by Edmund Deane. His book,Spadacrene Anglica, or the English Spa Fountain was published in 1626. Harrogate developed a spa town following the enclosure of surrounding lands in 1770, when 200 acres (0.81 km2) were reserved as a public common, the Stray, which has remained a spot for picnicking, kite-flying, outdoor games and local football matches. To provide entertainment for increasing numbers of visitors the Georgian Theatre was built in 1788. Bath Hospital (later the Royal Bath Hospital) was built in 1826. The Royal Pump Room was built in 1842.
In 1870, engineering inventor Samson Fox perfected the process of creating water gas, in the basement laboratory of Grove House. After constructing a trial plant at his home on Scarborough Road, making it the first house in Yorkshire to have gas lighting and heating; he built a town-sized plant to supply Harrogate. After he made Parliament Street the world's first route to be lit by water-gas, newspapers commented: "Samson Fox has captured the sunlight for Harrogate." After donating the towns first fire engine, and building the town's theatre, he was elected mayor for three years, an unbroken record.
The site of Tewit Well is marked by a dome on the Stray. Other wells can be found in Harrogate's Valley Gardens and the Royal Pump Room museum.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Harrogate was popular among the English élite and was frequented by nobility from mainland Europe. Its popularity declined after the First World War. During the Second World War, Harrogate's large hotels accommodated government offices evacuated from London. This paved the way for the town's function as a commercial, conference, and exhibition centre.
In 1893 Harrogate doctor George Oliver was the first to observe the effect of adrenaline on the circulation.
Former employers in the town were ICI, who occupied offices and laboratories at Hornbeam Park, the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB), and the Milk Marketing Board. ICI's laboratories at Hornbeam Park were the location of the invention of Crimplene in the 1950s, named after the nearby Crimple Valley and Beck.
The town hosted the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest in the conference centre.
Harrogate won the 2003 Britain in Bloom in the category of 'Large Town' and won the European Entente Florale competition in 2004. This reprises its win in the first Entente Florale competition in 1977. Harrogate was a gold medal winner of Europe in Bloom in 2004. In 2005, a Channel 4 TV show listed Harrogate as the UK's third best place to live. In 2006 it came fourth in the same league; the programme claimed that it placed lower due to "a slight dip in exam results", though presenter Phil Spencer noted that it was his personal favourite.
In 2007, two metal detectorists found the Harrogate hoard, a 10th-century Viking treasure hoard, near Harrogate. The hoard contains almost 700 coins and other items from as far away as Afghanistan. The hoard was described by the British Museum as the most important find of its type in Britain for 150 years.
The Olympic Cauldron for the 2012 London Olympics was built in a ‘Bond Gadget Workshop’ in Harrogate, said designer Thomas Heatherwick.
Harrogate Town Hall
The MP for the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency is Andrew Jones, a Conservative. He was elected in 2010, ousting the Liberal Democrats who had won the seat at the previous three general elections.The town is part of Harrogate Borough Council, which since the 2010 election has had a Conservative majority.
Harrogate is twinned with:
- Bagnères-de-Luchon, France (since 1952)
- Harrogate, Tennessee, United States
- Wellington, New Zealand
The town is a dormitory town for commuters working in Leeds and Bradford. Harrogate is prosperous and has some of the highest property prices in England, with many properties in the town and surrounding villages valued at £1 million or more.
Harrogate is situated on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, with the Vale of York to the east and the upland Yorkshire Dales to the west and north-west. It has a dry and mild climate, typical of places in the rain shadow of the Pennines. It is on the A59 from Skipton to York. At an altitude of between 100 and 200 metres, Harrogate is higher than many English settlements. It has an average minimum temperature in January of slightly below 0 °C (32 °F) and an average maximum in July and August of 20 °C (68 °F).
Central Harrogate is bounded by 'the Stray' to the south and west, and borders High Harrogate and the Duchy estate to the east and north respectively. It is a district centre for retail and the Victoria Shopping Centre houses a number of major chains. Pedestrianised Cambridge Street and Oxford Street are the main high streets, and Harrogate Theatre is on Oxford Street. Parliament Street, Montpellier and James Street offer designer shopping and upmarket department stores. An Odeon cinema is located on the edge of central Harrogate, as are Asda and Waitrose supermarkets. Marks and Spencer has a large food hall in its store on Oxford Street. A number of bars and restaurants can be found on Cheltenham Mount and John Street, while the Royal Baths and Parliament Street are at the centre of the town's nightlife. The southern end of central Harrogate consists largely of detached houses that have been converted to offices although Harrogate Magistrates' Court and Harrogate Central Library can be found on Victoria Avenue. Some upmarket boutiques are situated along the Stray in central southern Harrogate.
Oatlands is a wealthy area in the south of Harrogate. It includes two schools, Oatlands Primary School and Oatlands Infant School, and some allotments.
Woodlands is a large area in south-east Harrogate which adjoins Starbeck/Knareborough Road. It is home to Harrogate Town F.C., Willow Tree Primary School, Morrisons and Sainsbury's supermarkets as well as the Woodlands pub.
Bilton, is a large area of Harrogate with many churches, stores and schools. It has several schools, Richard Taylor School, Woodfield and Bilton Grange. Poets' Corner is known for its 'poetic' street names and expensive housing. On the first May bank holiday each year the Bilton Galatakes place. The first gala was held in 1977 and the event raises money for local groups and organisations.
Jennyfields is a large, modern area of Harrogate, it has two schools, Saltergate Infant School and Saltergate Primary School. The town's main public swimming pool is located on the edge of Jennyfield.
The Duchy estate is an affluent area close to central Harrogate where most houses are large detached homes or large detached homes converted into flats. There are several private schools, notably Harrogate Ladies' College. There is a golf club and open countryside for walking.
Starbeck is a large area to the east of Harrogate with a railway station with trains to Harrogate on to Leeds, Knaresborough and York. A frequent bus service links Starbeck to Harrogate and Knaresborough. A number of schools, churches and shops are situated in Starbeck.
Pannal is to the south of Harrogate, off the A61 road. It retains much of its village character. A commuter station links it to Harrogate and on to York, Knaresborough and Leeds.
High Harrogate is an inner section to the east of the town centre. It is focused on Westmoreland Street and the A59 road, where a number of shops and cafés are located. Expensive terraced houses line the Stray, which stops in High Harrogate.
Low Harrogate is an inner section to the west of the town centre. It is the focus of most tourist activity in the town, with the Royal Pump Room, Mercer Art Gallery and Valley Gardens.
Harlow Hill is a district to the west of the town, accessed by Otley Road. It has a number of new developments and an office park. It is known for RHS Harlow Carr Gardens. Harrogate Spa bottling plant is on Harlow Hill, as is a water treatment centre.
New Park is a small area to the north of Harrogate with a primary school. There are a number of terraced houses and some light industrial and commercial premises.
Wheatlands is a wealthy district south of the Stray. It is residential and has two schools, St Aidan's and St John Fisher's.
Knox, north of the town, is separated from Bilton by greenbelt. It straddles Oak Beck, which vehicles used to be able to cross via a ford. This route was blocked in the 1980s and the beck can now be crossed only by pedestrians and cyclists using the adjacent Spruisty packhorse bridge. Cars must go via the A61 (Ripon) road.
Hornbeam Park is a small, recently developed area accessed only by Hookstone Chase. It was developed as an office park and retains many offices, but now contains Harrogate College (a campus of Hull University), a Nuffield fitness and wellbeing centre, Travel Inn and restaurant, hospice and some small warehouses. It is served by Hornbeam Park railway station to Harrogate and Leeds.
Hotels such as the Majestic now serve Harrogate's conference industry
Harrogate has a strong and varied economy. The conference and exhibition industry is the focus of the town's business, with Harrogate International Centre the third largest fully integrated conference and exhibition centre in the UK, and one of the largest in Europe. It brings in over £150 million to the local economy every year and attracts in excess of 350,000 business visitors annually. The town is home to the Great Yorkshire Showground and Pavilions of Harrogate, which are major conference destinations.
The Great Yorkshire Showground is the hub of the regional agricultural industry, hosted by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. The Great Yorkshire Show and Countryside Live take place there annually.
The many business visitors to Harrogate sustain a number of large hotels, some originally built for visitors to the Spa.
Harrogate's main shopping district is focused on Cambridge Street, Oxford Street, Beulah Street and James Street where most of the high street shops can be found. There is a wide range of boutique and designer shopping on Parliament Street and in the Montpellier Quarter, as well as independent shopping around Commercial Street.
Eating out is popular in Harrogate, and the town well served by restaurants. Parliament Street and Cheltenham Parade are lined with many independent and chain restaurants, while there is also a concentration of chain restaurants on John Street and Albert Street.
Cambridge Street, Harrogate
Bettys is one of Harrogate's best known landmarks
See also: Places of worship in Harrogate
There are many fine examples of architecture about the town, including the Royal Hall theatre, a Grade II listed building designed by Frank Matcham. As the only surviving Kursaal in Britain, the Royal Hall is an important national heritage building. Restoration work was completed in 2007, and the hall was reopened on 22 January 2008, by The Prince of Wales.
The Royal Pump Room houses Europe's strongest sulphur well, but is now a museum showcasing the town's spa history.
Two military installations are located to the west of Harrogate, the Army Foundation College and RAF Menwith Hill, an electronic monitoring station.
Bettys Tea Rooms are regionally renowned. They are owned by Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate - the same company that makes Yorkshire Tea. Bettys has a second tea room at the RHS Harlow Carr Gardens.
The Mercer Art Gallery is home to Harrogate district's art collection which consists of some 2,000 works of art, mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries. The collection includes works by William Powell Frith, Atkinson Grimshaw, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Dame Laura Knight, Alan Davie and many more.
The Montpellier Quarter is the centre of the town's nightlife, which is mainly centred on the renovated Royal Baths development.
Parks and gardens
The Valley Gardens, in Low Harrogate, is the town's main park and covers much of the area originally known as 'Bogs Field', where a number of springs were discovered. Valley Gardens has an ice cream parlour, children's play area with outdoor paddling pool, a skate park, frisbee golf and also crazy golf and mini golf. The Sun Pavilion at the northern edge of the park can be privately hired. Tennis courts and a bowling green are located in the west of the park. The Friends Of Valley Gardens group was formed in 2009 to support the park. It works in partnership with Harrogate Borough Council to guide the park’s future development.
The Stray is an area of open parkland of some 200 acres (80.94 ha) (80 hectares) in the centre of the town. It was created in 1778 to link most of Harrogate's springs in one protected area by an act of Parliament which fixed its area as 200 acres (80.94 ha), and even now when part is removed, e.g. due to road widening, it must be replaced elsewhere. During the Victorian period, there was a racecourse for horses there.
RHS Harlow Carr gardens, on the western edge of Harrogate, are award-winning themed gardens and are the Royal Horticultural Society's main presence and representative in the North of England.
Crescent Gardens is a small open area in central Harrogate surrounded by some of the town's main tourist attractions including the Royal Pump Room, Royal Baths and Royal Hall, as well as the Town Hall. Hall M of the Harrogate International Centre also fronts onto Crescent Gardens.
The town has several smaller parks and gardens, including Jubilee Gardens and Victoria Gardens on the eastern side of central Harrogate.
Rugby union, Athletics, football, cricket, ultimate frisbee, water polo and hockey are popular sports in Harrogate played at plenty of schools and local clubs.
Harrogate Town FC situated on Wetherby Road play in the Conference North division and finished 6th in the season. They have a natural, good-natured rivalry with newly promoted Harrogate Railway Athletic F.C., of the Northern Premier League First Division, located at Station View.
Harrogate RUFC is a National 2 division team and based at The County Ground, Claro Road.
Harrogate District Swimming Club Is a very successful amateur level swimming club that has had teams compete at National level and come home with medals. There are many different squads within the club with over 150 total members.
Bilton Cricket Club, situated off Bilton Lane provides opportunities for players of all ages to play in Local League Cricket, Bilton Cricket Club have a good natured rivalry with Harrogate Cricket Club with Bilton defeating Harrogate in their last clash at St Georges Road in the Black Sheep Trophy in 2006.
Harrogate Cricket Club is one of the strongest clubs in the Yorkshire league. Until 1995 the town hosted one Yorkshire county game per year at the St George's cricket ground. After a devastating fire which destroyed the historic old pavilion at the ground. Harrogate Cricket Club is to be the home of Yorkshire Women cricket team. The club has 4 Saturday teams.
1st XI - Yorkshire ECB County Premier League
2nd XI - York Senior League - Division 2
3rd XI - Also known as "Harrogate Strays" - Nidderdale League Division 2
4th XI - Also known as "Harrogate Devs" - Nidderdale League Division 5
Running is also a popular sport at Harrogate Harriers, who run from Harrogate Squash Club on Harlow Hill and at Nidd Valley Road Runners, who share the premises of Harrogate Railway Athletic FC. Members compete in road races, cross-country and fell races or simply run for fun and to keep fit.
Rock climbing is a popular sport in and around Harrogate, both indoors at the Harrogate Climbing Centre and at venues such as Almscliffe Crag and Brimham Rocks. Rock climbing is seen as a personal challenge, however indoor climbing walls hold climbing competitions to create a competitive event.
Gord Pettinger (b. 11 November 1911 in Harrogate, England - d. 12 April 1986) is a retired British professional ice hockey centre who played 8 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, and Boston Bruins. Pettinger won four Stanley Cups with three different teams, the 1933 New York Rangers, 1936 and 1937 Detroit Red Wings, and the 1939 Boston Bruins. He is one of only ten players in Stanley Cup history to win the Cup with three different teams.
Harrogate station's platforms and tracks, seen from the pedestrian bridge
The town is served by four railway stations; Harrogate (for town centre), Hornbeam Park, Pannal (towards Leeds) and Starbeck on the Harrogate Line to Knaresborough and York. Trains are operated by Northern Rail. Trains run every half hour to Leeds and Knaresborough, and every hour onto York. There are extra non-stop commuter services at peak times between Harrogate and Leeds.
There is one daily weekday service to London King's Cross operated by East Coast. The train leaves Harrogate at 07.28 and arrives at London King's Cross at 10.38. The return service leaves London King's Cross at 17.33 and arrives in Harrogate at 20.29.
The former railway lines to Ripon and Wetherby (see Wetherby railway station) were dismantled in the 1960s. A prospective railway company, First Harrogate Trains, proposed to run trains from London King's Cross to Harrogate, but failed to get approval in a process that ended in February 2009.
A61 Station Parade, Harrogate
Buses are every 15 minutes between Harrogate, Ripon and Leeds (via Harewood, Moortown and Chapel Allerton) on Harrogate and District route 36. The 770 route also runs to Leeds via Wetherby, Boston Spa and Seacroft as well as other parts of semi-rural Leeds. There are also services to Otley, Bradford, Knaresborough and Pateley Bridge.
Harrogate is strongly connected to Leeds, in both rail and road transport. This is also evident in the volume of high school students coming from Leeds to Harrogate every day. The strong transport connection is very important for some of the Harrogate schools, especially Rossett School. Road transport to Leeds is via the A61 (north and central Leeds), A658 (north-west Leeds/Leeds Bradford International Airport) and A661 (for north-east Leeds). The A61 also continues northwards to Ripon, while the A658 connects to Bradford after passing through north-west Leeds. The A658 also forms the Harrogate Bypass that skirts the south and east of the town, joining the A59 linking York and the A1(M) to the east and Skipton to the west with Harrogate.
The nearest airport is Leeds Bradford International Airport, 10 miles (16 km) to the south-west, to which there are bus services on route 767. It is located near to Horsforth station on the Harrogate line. Manchester Airport is also accessible by rail via Leeds railway station.
Harrogate Linton-On-Ouse (HRT) is a military airfield located approximately 15 miles to the east in Linton-on-Ouse.
Harrogate College, (was part of Leeds Metropolitan University until 1 August 2008, when it transferred to Hull College)
Harrogate Grammar School, (Independent Academy Trust) Specialist in Language and Technology
Harrogate High School, a specialist Sports College
Harrogate Ladies' College
Harrogate Tutorial College
Rossett School a specialist computing and mathematics college.
St. Aidan's C of E High School, a specialist Language and Science College.
St John Fisher Catholic High School, a specialist arts and Humanities college.
St Aidan's & St John Fisher Associated Sixth Form, a large sixth form shared across the Protestant and Catholic schools.
Army Foundation College
The town's main print news source is the Harrogate Advertiser, part of Ackrill Media Group. The newspaper was first printed in 1836.
The local radio stations are BBC Radio York on 104.3 & 103.7 FM and Stray FM on 97.2 FM.
The main online news source is Harrogate-News.