Film ID: YFA 3448 Video of YFA 3448 Spa Treatment Harrogate Pump Room SPA TREATMENT HARROGATE PUMP ROOM 1939 Visitor TabsDescription A film showing the day-to-day running of the Pump Room in Harrogate that housed a sulphur well and was popular with customers who went to sample the mineral water. Title - Harrogate – Britain’s Premier Spa Title - Here are over 30 natural springs of medicinal water – all different Title - The best time for drinking the waters (as prescribed by your doctor) is before breakfast Title - Scenes outside the famous Pump Room on an August morning in 1939 Title - At 7 a.m. the Pump Room is opened and chairs, tables and garden umbrellas are set out on the footpath in the chilly shadow of the building. A member of staff slots an umbrella into a table outside. Title - Other chairs, tables and umbrellas are placed on the wide footpath across the street and close to the entrance to the Valley Gardens. More chairs are placed outside, and another umbrella lowered into a table. Title - Next, the attendants barricade the streets which lead to or pass the Pump Room, thus making it safe for the water drinkers to pass to and from it in safety. A sign on the street reads ‘Road Closed between 7 AM and 9.30 AM’. An antique shop can be seen beyond the Pump Rooms. Title - Early on the scene are the news vendors, for here is the hub of Harrogate at this early hour. A shot of a newspaper salesman and his cart. Title - As the morning advances the deep shadows shorten and the sun relieves the early chilliness, and the visitors are tempted to the chairs near the Valley Gardens. Customers are seen drinking the water from the Pump Rooms. Title - It is still too early for the sun to chase away the shadows about the front of the Pump Room but the water drinkers stick to business. More customers have gathered to sit at the outdoor tables and drink the water. A man in a kilt wanders across the road and one of the punters salutes the camera with his glass. Title - Hotel messengers fetch the prescribed water for visitors who are unable, or are disinclined, to come for it themselves. A boy in uniform is seen walking to fetch water for a customer. Title - At the rear of the Pump Room is another door which is preferred by some as being less busy. Smartly dressed men with glasses of water amble around outside the back door. Title - The street barricades are removed about 9 0’clock, but some of the visitors stick to their chairs until the porters gather them up also. A few customers are still drinking in the chairs in the sunshine outside. Title - Finally a waitress comes round to collect the empty glasses left on the tables, window sills and odd corners, and the Pump Room is closed. A waitress in a white coat collects glasses from a window sill. Title - The people you have seen “taking the waters” have all been served at the bar inside the Pump Room, but there is a tap outside, near the door, where sulphur water can be drawn freely by anybody at any time. A woman draws water from the outside tap, which has a sign above it asking customers not take water “in quantities greater than one quart at a time”. Title - Produced by C.R.H. Pickard of Leeds Context This film is one of several made of the Pump Room in Harrogate in the 1930s. This is the only one of the films that we know to have been made by C.R.H. Pickard; most of the other filmmakers are unknown except for one made by A R Baines in 1931, who also filmed a visit by the Lord Mayor of London to Harrogate in the same year as this film, 1939. Not much is known of Pickard, although there is a history of photographers named Pickard from Leeds. According to Raymond Fielding (References) one Charles Pickard, a commercial photographer of Leeds, came into the possession of the original tripod used by Louis Le Prince when he made the very first moving images in Roundhay Leeds in 1888 (acquired after the mysterious disappearance of Le Prince in 1890). The Leeds Local & Family History Library also has an album of photographs of 2nd battalion of the Leeds Volunteer Training Corps by a Charles Richard Hattersley Pickard. He can be found in the 1916 Kelly's Leeds trade directory as a commercial photographer, photo engraver & enlarger, of Briggate Chambers, Kirkgate, and credited with a ‘Gold Medal, Brussels Exhibition, 1910’. Given the same initials, C.R.H., it is most likely that this is the same Pickard. There was also another West Yorkshire photographer from the same period named Hubert Edward Pickard. In addition there was an Alan Pickard from Leeds who also made films – see Grand Prix Di Pozzo (1929). There is also a Nik Pickard, photographer, currently operating in Leeds. The series of films made in 1931 were undoubtedly made to promote the baths at a time when income was sharply declining following the Great Crash of 1929 (see below). There was clearly a demand for ways to cure, or alleviate, a variety of ailments, from constipation to rheumatism, with plenty of treatments on offer. Hence there arose a host of institutions, like the Spa, who, prior to the National Health Service being established in 1948, sought to capitalise on the growing new industrial wealth as well as the old landed gentry. Spas were fashionable across the continent, but it was in England that they became real money spinners, accompanied by entertainments such as balls, gambling, theatre and so on. Mainly because of its spa, Bath had become the seventh largest city in England by 1801. The original spa in the Belgium Ardennes was destroyed by fire in 1907. The spring in Harrogate which led to the Spa was first ‘discovered’ by William Slingsby in 1571 – see the Context for Harrogate: Boardroom Of The North (1970-1971). The spring, one of 88 that were eventually discovered, was known as ‘stincking spaw’ on account of the strong smell of its ‘sulfur’: “the popular opinion is, that Harrowgate water tastes like rotten eggs and gunpowder; and though it is probable no person ever made trial of such a mixture, the idea it coveys is not inapplicable.” (Slingsby, quoted in Young, p 33). Although Harrogate steadily grew during the 18th century due to the appeal of the Spa, it was the 19th century that really saw it take off, aided by the building of the Georgian Theatre in 1788 and Bath Hospital (later the Royal Bath Hospital) in 1826. Visitor numbers climbed from 4,000 in 1831 to 25,000 by 1900. The Royal Pump Room was erected in 1842 as the first project of the newly formed Improvement Commissioners. It was designed by Isaac Shutt to house the sulphur well. As the name suggests, it was Royal patronage that gave a big boost to Harrogate as well as to other spas. At first having 3,778 drinkers, this figure grew to 25,900 by 1925. Even before the Pump Room was built, the Royal Spa Concert Rooms and Gardens were completed in 1835. Designed by John Williams, they were known at first as the Royal Promenade and Cheltenham Pump Room (because of the similarity of the water to that at Cheltenham). There were six acres of grounds including a boating lake and skating rink. There were nightly concerts with itinerant musicians, and daytime recitals for the visitors to listen to as they took the waters. Later in the nineteenth century music making at the Spa had a role in developing the famous Yorkshire brass bands (see Young). These were demolished in 1939, and the Conference Centre now occupies this site. However, a dedicated music hall, the Harrogate Kursaal, was opened by Hubert Parry (the composer of the music for Jerusalem) in 1903. The name was changed during the First World War to the Royal Hall (sounding less Teutonic), although Wagner was still played there! Now a national heritage building, this was recently restored and re-opened in 2008 by The Prince of Wales. Although Harrogate was known as ‘the English spa’, it hadn’t profited as much by the Regency expansion as had places like Cheltenham. The competition between spa towns led Thackwray's Garden Spring or Crown Spa (discovered c.1803) to have its name changed to Montpellier, after the discovery in 1819 of a chalybeate spring, possibly in imitation to Cheltenham whose waters had similar mineral qualities. The Montpellier Baths and their surrounding gardens were added to by the iron and glass pump room and colonnade built by George Dawson in 1870. This, however, only lasted until 1890; the main buildings being replaced by the Royal Baths in 1897 – which are still standing. The only relic of the Gardens site now is the small octagonal building that once served as an admission ticket office (now a small shop). The treatments on offer were first given in the Royal Baths, but soaring demand caused them to be re-located in the building of the New Montpellier Pump Room that George Dawson had built in 1874 for his Crown Hotel. By 1903 this building contained both the Peat Baths and the Plombieres Baths, although the ever growing pressure on the department led to calls in the Council for a completely new building. The Spa continued to be popular even during the First World War – with continental spas now obviously off-limits. The boom continued after the war, with 259,000 drinkers in 1925-26, and with the Royal Pump Room, having been extended in 1913, serving up to 1,500 drinkers on just a single morning. In 1928 a scheme was put forward to build a large new romenade hall from the Royal Pump Rooms to the Victorian Baths, but the crash of October 1929 put paid to this idea. Income from the baths and wells fell from £41,276 in 1929-30 to under £35,000 in 1931-32. Over the same period income from bathers fell some 20%, turning a profit into a loss. The Municipal Orchestra was disbanded after the 1930 season. There were new additions in the following years, with the building of the Sun Pavilion and Colonnade in 1933, and improvements to the Gardens. In 1936 extensions were began to the Royal Baths, opened in 1939 by the Mayor of London, Sir Frank Bowater – as noted above, the YFA also has a film of this. The Spa Rooms themselves were demolished the same year (the octagonal servery and fluted Doric columns were preserved and moved to the Royal Baths and Harlow Car Gardens respectively). After the war the Pump Room became a municipal restaurant before becoming a museum in 1953. By the 1940s the “Queen of Watering Places” was severely affected by the tide of medical opinion turning against its treatments; to be replaced by that new money-spinner, drugs. In 1947, the 63,000 visitors/patients getting treatments was only half it was in the 1920s. The Harrogate WEA Local History Group claim that this was less due to economic factors than changing lifestyles, with an appreciation of the role of exercise, less over-indulging and better diet. It also became clear that it was simply having a hot bath, rather than what was in the bath, that had any beneficial effects. And of course the National Health Service, started in 1948, provided many similar, and medically more sound, treatments for free. Turkish baths have fared a bit better. They were first introduced into Britain by the Scottish MP David Urquhart in the mid nineteenth century ¬– differing from saunas in using hot steam or water. There are a number of variants of the use of heat therapy (both hot and cold, and either wet or dry) across Europe and Asia. Originating with the Ancient Roman bathhouses, they idea spread to Turkey and later to Russia and Finland. Although spas function still on the continent, in Britain they have all but ceased to exist as such. Their function has been overtaken by the entertainment that arose initially to accompany the treatments. Nevertheless, the Turkish baths and various hot and cold rooms are still running (with many gyms having hot rooms), and the benefits of these for many ailments are still promoted. The Spa and Turkish Baths in Harrogate continue to be operated by the Municipal Council, and it is still possible to sample the waters. (with special thanks to Louise-Ann Hand, Information Librarian, Local and Family History Library, Library and Information Service, Leeds City Council) References Harrogate WEA Local History Group (edited by Bernard Jennings), A History of Harrogate and Knaresborough, The Advertiser Press Limited, Huddersfield, 1970. Raymond Fielding, A technological history of motion pictures and television: An anthology from the pages of the 'Journal of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers', University of California Press, 1967. Kenneth Young, Music’s Great Days in the Spas and Watering-places, Macmillan, 1968.