Pump Room’s new Harrogate exhibition

Royal Pump Room circa 1920. (Picture courtesy of North Yorkshire County Council Unnetie Digital Archive)
Royal Pump Room circa 1920. (Picture courtesy of North Yorkshire County Council Unnetie Digital Archive)

A NEW exhibition at Harrogate’s historic Royal Pump Room Museum invites visitors to taste the water which has helped to put Harrogate on the map as a popular spa town.

Harrogate for Health and Happiness – A Spa Town in the 20th Century will open on January 21 and will uncover Harrogate’s 20th century history through memories, historical objects, fashion, film, letters and photographs

To mark the opening of the exhibition, the Pump Rooms will host family friendly activities that morning from 11am-3pm, including children’s crafts, games, hat and mask making (just one per person).

Visitors will be able to take a short tour to see the sulphur wells and discover the Turkish Baths history with the visiting expert.

It’s a chance to find out more about the treatments that were enjoyed by visitors to The Royal Baths, which opened in 1897 as the strongest sulphur well in Europe with the aim of being the most advanced centre for hydrotherapy in the world.

Newly-discovered 1930s film footage, which will be screened during the exhibition, reveals people enjoying a variety of treatments, including peat baths, at the Royal Baths as well as drinkers at the Royal Pump Room. This original footage, recently deposited with the Yorkshire Film Archive, was found at Harrogate Library.

The museum’s curator of human history, Ros Watson, said: “Some of the treatments involving massage look relaxing, but others like a nasal douche, probably using sulphur water, look very unpleasant. The electrical treatments look rather scary too!”

This fascinating exhibition also demonstrates how Harrogate continued to thrive throughout the two great wars when The Stray was turned over to farming and many civil servants were evacuated from London to the area.

There is a strong events programme planned to run alongside the exhibition including workshops, treatment days and a contemporary art installation.

l More info:www.harrogate.gov.uk/royalpumproommuseum