History of The Harrogate Club
On 13th July 1857, a group of Harrogate Gentlemen met and decided to inaugurate a “Public Reading and News Room”, where members could meet to read a variety of newspapers and journals. The location was to be the old lounge of Gascoigne’s Hotel, and the founder members included bankers, chemists, doctors of medicine, gentlemen of independent means and solicitors.
Gascoigne’s Hotel, previously known as the Salutation Inn, and later as the “Hope Tavern”, was one of the oldest buildings in Harrogate, and members of the new club were attracted from all over Harrogate, as well as further afield. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the hotel was renamed “The County”, and subjected to considerable alterations, when the south-east half was demolished and replaced by the present building on the corner of Devonshire Place and Claro Road. At the time of writing, the old Gascoigne’s Hotel is occupied by an Asian restaurant.
One year after The Club opened in Gascoigne’s Hotel, the landlord agreed to build a billiards room for members who were asking for entertainments other than reading, and a solid stone structure with roof lighting was constructed behind the hotel. After The Club moved to Victoria Avenue, the billiards room became a joiner’s workshop.
by Malcolm Neesam 2011