Harrogate’s Award-Winning Park

Historical Image Gallery

This gallery is organised to show Valley Gardens from the entrance in the east to Harlow Hill in the west. The images are arranged to present, as closely as possible, the same view over different years. Some duplicates have been included so the difference between the original black and white postcard can be compared to altered images that used “painted” or “colourised” techniques. Where reference in the source was made to a date, it has been included.

We are most grateful to North Yorkshire County Library Services Harrogate who kindly allowed us access to their extensive files of historical images of Harrogate. (Their images are indicated by an “ * ”.) Other images were provided by FOVG members.

If you have any historical photographs of Valley Gardens that you would like to have posted on this website, please contact our
webmaster. All photographs will be returned after scanning. Also, if you can provide more accurate captions or dates for any photos, please contact our webmaster.

Within each gallery, you can view the images as thumbnails or click on any photo to enlarge.

The Galleries

Overviews and Maps: Aerial images or general vistas of the gardens including early photos from c. 1860s

Main Entrance and Rockery: Images looking toward Valley Gardens from the Pump Room Museum including photos of erecting the original pillars, followed by images of the entrance from inside the gardens including photos when there was only a wooden fence. Lastly is a series of images of the Rockery on the south side of the stream near the entrance.

The Walks and the Duck Pond: Elgar and Lime Tree Walks are shown from various perspectives and there are many views of the Duck Pond. Lime Tree Walk was known by many names including “Lovers Walk” and “The Shady Walk”. Note the path on the south side of the stream in several photos of the Duck Pond and the bridge across the stream.

Central Area: Includes images of the “Long Garden” near the Magnesia Well Cafe as well as the central garden where the fountain is now. Also included are photos of the rose arches and a postcard of the full Dahlia Walk.

Tea House and Bandstand: This was apparently one of the favourite images of Valley Gardens in the early 1900’s and there are numerous examples of photos and postcards showing what it was like to take tea in the Gardens. Also, near the Tea House, was an open bandstand, one of two in the Gardens, with the other being on Harlow Hill.

Magnesia Well Cafe, Boating Pond and Japanese Garden: The Magnesia Well Cafe appears to be little changed today. However in 1924, it nearly burned to the ground. The photos show the horrific destruction. The Boating Pond, or Children’s Corner, or Wading Pond has provided wonderful entertainment throughout the years. Lastly, there are two early photos of the Japanese Garden. Also, don’t miss the photo of Mrs. Brogden’s Wool Slipper Stand which was just above the Magnesia Well Cafe near Valley Drive.

Sun Pavilion: The Sun Pavilion and “The Sun Walk” have been icons in the Gardens since they were built and these images testify to their popularity. It is hard to believe that they were nearly demolished in the 1980’s. (click here to learn how they were saved by the original Friends of the Valley Gardens.)

Pump Room and Harlow Hill: The original Magnesia Well Pump Room was erected in 1858 and serves as a point of reference for the earliest photos of what was to become Valley Gardens. Included in this gallery are images of Harlow Hill, also called “The Moor”, and the open bandstand as well as the bowling green and golf course.