New plaque highlights history of Spa Baths

Sylvia Grice (right), who has taught generations of Ripon people to swim, unveiled the new plaque on the wall of the Ripon Spa Baths with Coun Pat Jones, the member for cultural services on Harrogate Borough Council.

Sylvia Grice (right), who has taught generations of Ripon people to swim, unveiled the new plaque on the wall of the Ripon Spa Baths with Coun Pat Jones, the member for cultural services on Harrogate Borough Council.

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They are among the most iconic buildings in Ripon, where they have stood at the heart of the community for more than a century.

And the history and significance of the city’s Spa Baths were recognised this week when a plaque was unveiled on the side of the ArtNouveau-style building on Tuesday, June 11.

The Ripon Civic Society organised for the green plaque to be installed, and it was unveiled by Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for cultural services, Coun Pat Jones, and Sylvia Grice, who has taught generations to swim at the Spa Baths.

The chairman of Ripon Civic Society, David Winpenny, said: “There are few buildings of this date and quality in the country, so the society is pleased to be able to place a plaque on the Spa Baths to let visitors know something of its important and fascinating history.”

The foundation stone of the building was laid on July 15, 1904, and the new plaque notes that the baths were built to mark the 300th anniversary of Ripon’s charter in 1604.

The last English spa to be opened, it was served by spa water pumped from Aldfield, four miles away.

The opening ceremony was performed in 1905 by Princess Henry of Battenberg.

The swimming pool to the rear of the original building was added in the 1930s.

Mr Winpenny added: “We are very grateful to Coun Jones for representing Harrogate Borough Council, the building’s guardian, and to Sylvia Grice, Ripon’s doyenne of swimmers, for helping us to unveil the plaque.”

Previous Ripon Civic Society plaques have included a plaque to commemorate the connection between Lord Grantham and the city at the Prison and Police Museum and a plaque to commemorate one of the most distinctive figures of the First World War – Woodbine Willie – on the corner of North Street.

lWho do you think should be commemorated next? Email news@ripongazette.co.uk