The beautiful Spa Town of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, is well known for its visitor attractions such as the International Centre, the healing spa waters of the Turkish Baths and all 200 acres of grassland, named The Stray, surrounding this picturesque town.
We have explored just three of Harrogate’s iconic buildings that make this town the tourist attraction that it is today, based on the history surrounding them.
After the discovery of the mineral water in 1571, Harrogate became England’s first spa and the unique Royal Turkish Baths first opened in 1897 as part of the Royal Baths.
When it first opened they used the mineral water for its healing properties which many doctors complimented and recommended.
Treatments included mud baths, steam room treatments, hydrotherapy and much more, many of which still happens today. As new treatments emerged in competitor baths, visitors declined in Harrogate and the treatment centre finally closed in 1969.
In 2004 a £1 million restoration fund restored this special spa to its former glory and is now used as a traditional spa with luscious treatments and remains as one of the three remaining UK Turkish Baths that date back to the 19th century, but none of them are as historically complete and in full working order as Harrogate!
Royal Pump Room
This Grade ll listed building is known now as the town’s very own museum, being operated by the Harrogate Borough Council, but it was formerly a spa water pump house.
Based opposite the Valley Gardens, this building used to offer guests an all-weather facility where they could drink the sulphur water which was pumped from the Old Sulphur Well.
Guests would arrive early in the morning in order to drink two glasses of the water before they had any breakfast, for a small fee.
The Royal Hall
Another Grade II listed building; The Royal Hall is situated at the bottom of Parliament Street and originally opened in 1903.
This theatre was actually designed Robert Beale and Frank Matcham two of the most prolific theatre architects of their time. When it was opened it was actually named the Kursaal, which is a German word meaning Cure Hall. The theatre was actually renamed the Royal Hall as the World War 1 began.
In the 1950’s, like many other theatres, it was converted to a cinemas and for other uses within the hall, which helped the formation of the Harrogate Conference and Exhibition Centre.
Harrogate’s Royal Hall is now used for shows and performances, events, fairs and more, some even feature famous faces! It’s also well known for its festivals, such as The International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, a three week theatre festival in the Summer months.