Harrogate library turns back the clock on historic landmarks

This story was published 28 May 2021

A project hosted by various libraries across North Yorkshire is taking a new look at the past and present of some of the county’s most cherished landmarks.

Valley Gardens

The Then and Now project was funded by a £5,000 grant by Libraries Connected Yorkshire and Humber. It aims to develop creative and digital skills, as well as encourage a sense of pride and belonging among communities.

In October 2020, a group of volunteers from Harrogate library teamed up with Leeds-based photographer Jonathan Turner to take photographs of various sites in Harrogate. The photographs were then compared with old images held in the library’s historical photographic collections.

Using photo editing software freely available on the library PCs, volunteers were able to produce side-by-side and composite images.

Some of the work has been shared on Facebook but more is currently on display in Harrogate library and will be until at least the end of July.

One resident taking part in the project said it was “a great opportunity to learn more about Harrogate, past and present, and be part of a project documenting the ongoing history of the town.”

Another reported how it had made them “look up” more and discover building features they had previously not noticed.

County Councillor Greg White, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “We’re really pleased with how the project has developed at Skipton, Scarborough and Harrogate. I understand that feedback from the groups was extremely positive. They all enjoyed learning about the history of their town and connecting with its past, and gained new skills using the free photo-editing software available on the libraries’ public PCs.”

The service has made changes to the layout of libraries and measures are in place to ensure that it is safe for people to return. Numbers allowed into buildings at any one time have been restricted to ensure that social distancing can be maintained and face coverings must be worn.

Find more information on what the library service is offering.