Harrogate's Spa Workers
Many Harrogate stories focus on celebrity spa visitors and the experiences of genteel cure-seekers. For the first time, this exhibition explores the largely untold stories of Harrogate's workers: the people who built and maintained the town and those whose service sustained the glowing, international reputation of Harrogate's baths, pump rooms, shops and hotels.
Spa visitors reached record levels in the early 20th century, and the town's workforce reflected this economy. Numerically most important sector for women was domestic work, hotel and institutional service, but they also worked in laundries, retailing and dressmaking and millinery. For men, the building trades and the railways provided the biggest source of employment, but many worked in hotels, as gardeners, both private and municipal, as coach- and cab-men and, increasingly in these years, as chauffeurs. The treatments provided at the spa provided work for both men and women and a small number found work as entertainers and musicians.
Many people found employment in hotels, including European workers whose numbers increased over the years.
Curated by historian Dr Paul Jennings, this exhibition will reveal an essential but often neglected group, the workers who made the elegant life of the European spas possible.
The Strongest Sulphur Well in Europe!
Discover more about the science behind the sulphur water at the Royal Pump Room Museum during talks from our knowledgeable staff. Learn about the role of Harrogate's mineral waters in the development of Harrogate as a thriving spa town.
Exhibitions subject to availability.