14th September 2016
As you will know, Laura’s Beau’s hub for the past 7 years have been in Harrogate. However; time is a changing, and we’ve made the move to Wetherby! Now, our friends have asked if the move was just to be closer to great fish & chips, however, after we went to wander around the market town, and we’ve come up with other things we love about our new home.
Archaeological evidence shows that, what today is known as ‘Wetherby,’ has been a settlement since the Bronze Age (a time period which is characterised by he use of bronze, porto-writing and other very early features of urban civilisation.) There have also been trinkets found from the Roman times which, according to Wetherby visitor centre have been extensive in the form of “coins, building foundations and at least two burial grounds.”
Between London and Edinburgh, in the days of coach travel, Wetherby was exactly half way, and so was a very important place along the Great North Road. There was two hotels with over 100 stables each for those weary horses which were called, ‘The Angel’ and ‘The Swan and Talbot.’ Luckily now we don’t have to travel via the horse drawn coaches, and with the A1 running outside of Wetherby, luckily we don’t have all this traffic running through the centre of town!
I referred earlier to Wetherby as a market town; this market is held every Thursday; it has been like this since 1240 when King Henry III “granted a charter to the Knights Templar to hold a weekly market.”
The Georgian Bath House
The Georgian Bath House is now a beautiful grade 2 listed building on the banks of the River Wharf; recovered from dereliction by volunteers. It was likely built in the 18th century, whilst it’s called a ‘bath house,’ at that time, washing wasn’t seen as important, and it was instead used to take a cold plunge. Doctors at this time believed doing this could cure a number of ailments, including a headache. Now, we’re rather attached to our hot tap, but who are we to argue with the landholder’s fashion of the 17th and 18th century?! On the upper level was a warming room with a fire where they could gather round and warm up after their freezing bath! It was out of this popular social event that spa towns like Harrogate were born!
We always wondered why there are lower arches below the bridge, from the visitor guide, we learnt that the current bridge is actually an amalgamation of three bridges- the older of which you can see when you’re stood on the path below. The only ancient monument, the bridge is now a listed structure. It’s along this bank of the river, looking at the bridge, we love to sit in summer, eating fish and chips and feeding the ducks.
Also on the banks of the River Wharf, you’ll find the Bandstand, which was built in 2000, and on a lovely summers day is a main attraction in the town as the Wetherby Silver Band play on a Sunday afternoon.
Wetherby has 19 blue plaques around the town which are places and buildings of historical interest. One of these places is the Wier; the site of the town’s industrial past, the water mill that stood here since around the 12th century and used to grind corn and rape. Until it burnt down in 1944, it was also a saw mill. It’s a key stop off on the river walk.
There’s many more historical and beautiful places to see around Wetherby; if you haven’t visited, we’d recommend it; go to the visitor centre so you make sure you’re visiting all of the sights of the town! Make sure you don’t miss our favourite stop along the way… the fish and chips shop.