Love in the air at Harrogate’s romantic Royal Hall

A 1912 art deco poster of Harrogate's Royal Hall, formerly the Kursaal, supplied by Mike Hine (s).
A 1912 art deco poster of Harrogate's Royal Hall, formerly the Kursaal, supplied by Mike Hine (s).

It must be something in the (spa) water...

Harrogate’s romantic Royal Hall is paving the way for the town to become the romantic capital of the UK.

Already, we can officially claim to live in the country’s happiest town - as well as one of its premium shopping destinations, but now, trustees of one of Harrogate’s most historic buildings are calling on couples of all ages to put the pressure on Paris, by sharing tales of their Royal Hall romance.

The Royal Hall Restoration Trust say the ‘R’ in Royal Hall could stand for romance as over the years many marriages and partnerships started in its magnificent surroundings.

Russell Davidson, Chair of the Trust, said: “We are devoted to preserving this much-loved building, but it is equally important to learn about its heritage.

“Knowing of its loving past and present is part of our latest education project: we want to compare how couples got together in the 20th century, perhaps meeting whilst promenading, or at a dance or concert, right through to today’s world of meeting through modern media.

“And, of course, finding out about where our grandparents or parents met could be very interesting for families.

“If people are prepared to tell us about their Royal Hall romance they can do so by sending us their stories.

“These will form part of a school education project and will also be recorded in our archives, which are maintained in our heritage lounge, and are open to the public.”

The family of one couple who met at the Royal Hall in 1945 have already recorded the start of their romance by donating a clock to the Royal Hall.

The plaque reads: “Jim Alderson first saw Joan Peacock standing on the step underneath the clock in the Royal Hall auditorium at a dance in the autumn of 1945.

“He asked her for a waltz. 69 years, four children, 13 grandchildren and three (so far) great grandchildren later... their family decided to replace the legendary clock.

“The new one above celebrates their 60th wedding anniversary on 2 June 2014. With love from all of us.”

The hall is making one hundred seats available on a sponsorship basis to record other romances which began in this beautiful building.

Couples wanting to celebrate a milestone, or families wanting to remember parents or other loved ones, can sponsor a seat for £300.

As well as the original ‘sponsor a seat’ plaques, special romantic versions have been designed.

All sponsors can choose the words for the plaque which will be fixed to ‘their chair’.’

All money raised from the ‘sponsor a seat’ scheme will be spent on making improvements to the Royal Hall, one of Harrogate’s most iconic and much-loved buildings.

Full details of the ‘Romantic Royal Hall’ and seat sponsorship scheme, open days and Heritage Lounge opening times, can be found on the Restoration Trust’s website www.royalhallrestorationtrust.org.uk

Send your Royal Hall love stories to The Royal Hall Restoration Trust, 110 Station Parade, Harrogate HG1 1EP.

Don’t forget to provide your contact details too.

In 2008, the Royal Hall underwent an £11m restoration project bringing the building back to its former glittering glory.