How Harrogate's royal gates were restored

Historic gates restored in Harrogate - Retiring chairman of the Friends of the Valley Gardens Jane Blayney with president of the Friends of the Valley Gardens, Martin Fish; Deputy Lord Lieutenant the Rev Brian Huntand chairman of North Yorkshire County Council Robert Windass. (1811262AM2)
Historic gates restored in Harrogate - Retiring chairman of the Friends of the Valley Gardens Jane Blayney with president of the Friends of the Valley Gardens, Martin Fish; Deputy Lord Lieutenant the Rev Brian Huntand chairman of North Yorkshire County Council Robert Windass. (1811262AM2)

The chairman of the Friends of Valley Gardens has bowed with the unveiling of a restored historical landmark in Harrogate.

Located at the south west entrance to the Valley Gardens, the completion of restoration of the King Edward VII Memorial Gate with its impressive stone pillars will be the last project undertaken under the chairmanship of Jane Blayney.

Historic gates restored in Harrogate - Retiring chairman of the Friends of the Valley Gardens Jane Blayney with president of the Friends of the Valley Gardens, Martin Fish; Deputy Lord Lieutenant the Rev Brian Huntand chairman of North Yorkshire County Council Robert Windass. (1811262AM2)

Historic gates restored in Harrogate - Retiring chairman of the Friends of the Valley Gardens Jane Blayney with president of the Friends of the Valley Gardens, Martin Fish; Deputy Lord Lieutenant the Rev Brian Huntand chairman of North Yorkshire County Council Robert Windass. (1811262AM2)

Speaking after the ceremony at a reception at Harrogate’s Mercer Gallery, Jane said the Valley Gardens was the most used public park in Britain outside of London and deserved to be protected and improved at all times.

She said: “I’m absolutely thrilled. A great deal of effort has gone into this project from tracing the original gates and railings to fundraising to pay for their restoration and erection."

The original King Edward VII gate and pillars were constructed in 1910 and the new restoration took three years.

The project was only made possible after the original gates and some of the railings were discovered in a remote field above Pateley Bridge after being sold to a scrap metal dealer in Ripon around 25 years ago.

Funding came from a combination of community donations, presentations and Valley Gardens tours organised by the volunteers of charity group Friends of Valley Gardens with additional financial support from Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council.

The civic ceremony was also marked successful restoration in the park of the Memorial Rose Garden which commemorates the centenary of the First World War.

Among those attending the event were the Rev Brian Hunt, Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire; the Mayor of Harrogate, Coun Bernard Bateman MBE and Coun Robert Windass, chairman of North Yorkshire County Council, Martin Fish, president of Friends of Valley Gardens, and the Rev Donald Cumming, Army Foundation College chaplain who performed the dedication at the rose garden.

Jane Blayney said FVOG was hugely grateful to many people and groups for their support.

The new Memorial Rose Garden was designed by Sue Wood, horticultural officer at Harrogate Borough Council, with rose beds filled with Tommy’s roses and Peace roses.

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