Richard Cooper

Sun Pavilion and Colonnade in Valley Gardens given listed status

The Sun Pavilion and Colonnade in Valley Gardens, Harrogate has been given Grade II listed status.

Six historic sites have been listed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on Historic England’s advice, in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee.

The Sun Pavilion and Colonnade were constructed in 1933 to designs by Leonard Clarke, the borough surveyor, as part of a £60,000 spa development scheme intended to be one of the finest in Europe.

Pat Marsh, leader of Harrogate and Knaresborough Liberal Democrats, said:

It is brilliant news about the listing of the Sun Pavilion but I do think that reference should be made to those who made the refurbishment happen.

When the Lib Dems took control of the Council in 1990 a lot of Harrogate’s important buildings had been neglected by the Conservative Council for many, many years and places like the Sun Pavilion were closed to the public because it was unsafe.

There was then a fire followed by water damage, done whilst putting the fire out. There were not enough Council funds to repair the extreme damage.

In came the people that made renovation possible without them the Sun Pavilion probably would have had to be pulled down.

These saviours were two amazing Officers on Harrogate Borough Council, Pat Fitzgerald who did a brilliant job on all the technical work and to get the money Kevin Douglas the then Council’s director of Leisure and Amenities, made a very successful Lottery Grant bid, without which nothing could have happened.

These two ex-Council Officers need that recognition, their achievement in restoring the building has enabled many of us to enjoy this amazing building, as I know the Queen did when in 1998 she came to officially open the refurbished building.

The building with Art Deco details was opened by noted medic Lord Horder of Ashford and the opening ceremony was captured on film by British Pathé. The Pavilion was designed as a place to take refreshment and rest after taking exercise or after taking the spa waters in the town centre.

After a period of decline in the 1980s, the site was restored following a campaign led by a passionate local citizen Anne Smith and supported by celebrities including author James Herriot. In 1998, the Sun Pavilion was officially re-opened by Queen Elizabeth II, and in 2018 celebrations were held to mark the 20th anniversary of Her Majesty’s visit.

Councillor Richard Cooper, leader of Harrogate Borough Council, said:

It’s fantastic news that the Sun Pavilion and Colonnade in Valley Gardens is one of only six places that have been given listed status, in celebration of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee.

Valley Gardens is one of many jewels in the crown of our marvellous town and district, and for the Sun Pavilion and Colonnade to be recognised in this way is such an honour.

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