Nostalgia: Harrogate’s Station Square 100 years ago

Harrogate Station Square pictured in the First World War.' To the right is the Queen Victoria Statue erected in 1887.
Harrogate Station Square pictured in the First World War.' To the right is the Queen Victoria Statue erected in 1887.
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Today’s ‘then and now’ picture shows Harrogate’s Station Square, separated by about 100 years.

The original, black and white picture, dates from the early 20th Century - the caption reads it was taken ‘during the First World War’. It shows the Queen Victoria Statue erected in 1887.

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The statue of Queen Victoria was unveiled in 1887 by Alderman Richard Ellis, presented to the recently-formed Borough of Harrogate in the year of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

When Alderman Ellis conceived the thought of donating to Harrogate a statue of Queen Victoria to mark her coronation’s golden anniversary in 1887, he also gave the land on which the statue was built, inserting an ingenious clause in the conveyance to the effect that if Harrogate ever removed the statue, the land would revert to the Ellis family.

It has been for this reason that various attempts to re-site the Queen’s statue have been abandoned.

When the architect Bown designed the monument, he included much decorative iron work, such as a finial on the spire, ornamental railings, and four beautiful lamp posts.

This ironwork went in the Second World War’s wholly unnecessary scrap drive nd has never been restored. Like so many other buildings and public places, ornate ironworks were removed as part of the war effort. This in itself had a hugely beneficial effect during the war, galvanising the will of communities - but in reality, it seems, there was always too much iron to use and so a lot of it ended up in landfill or being dumped at sea to avoid a public scandal.

In Ellis’s time, Station Square was an undeveloped field but by 1902, the statue was on a traffic island, surrounded by railings.

The more modern picture was taken just last week.

Thirsk, North Yorkshire 1967
Seven people died and 44 were injured when a London-Edinburgh express with 300 passengers aboard hit a derailed goods train near Thirsk, North Yorkshire.

Yorkshire nostalgia: Two disasters from 50 years ago (August 1967)