A record-breaking number of businesses entered Harrogate’s Christmas shop window competition this year, and the beautiful displays will be a major focus of a Channel 5 documentary series airing next month about the town’s Christmas celebrations.
TV crews filmed the announcement of the winners on stage at the lights switch-on on Thursday.
Bijouled on Parliament Street was announced as the overall winner out of the 106 entries. Owner Georgina Collins said: “We put our heart, head and soul into the windows as we wanted to make them so special to celebrate ten years of trading as an independent in Harrogate.”
The winners in full: Overall winner, Bijouled; large shop, Bettys; highly commended, Richard Grafton Interiors and Cordings; medium shop winner, Jillian Welch; highly commended, Jespers and Furnish and Fettle; small shop, Bijouled; highly commended, The Cheese Board and Adage Dance; charity shops, Scope; highly commended, Fairtrade shop, Save the Children, and Oxfam.
History of the competition
More than 106 shops entered the shop window competition, and the Rotary Club of Harrogate organised and carried out the judging with the Harrogate Soroptimists and Harrogate College students.
This year the Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, Coun Anne Jones, presented the overall winner of the shop window competition with a silver rose bowl trophy originally presented in a shop window competition in 1957, which made the occasion all the more special.
As the overall winner, Bijouled was prsented with a special award in memory of a national award-winning window dresser who worked in the town from the 1960s to the 1990s.
Val Thompson dressed windows for businesses on James Street including Binns, Jennifer Browning and Collinsons toy shop, where she won a national award for her Christmas displays.
Mrs Thompson was also a regular at the exhibition halls in Harrogate, working for toy firms, the Nursery Fair, the Lingerie and Bridal Show and more. She also travelled to London for the International Toy Fair and worked on stands for clients including Waddington’s.
Following her death in 2016, Mrs Thompson’s daughter Ruth Sprowell contacted Harrogate at Christmas to suggest making a presentation in her late mother’s memory.
She said: “Her work was such an important part of our family so it’s wonderful to be able to recognise it.”
Visitors to the switch-on also marvelled at the incredible Christmas sculpture designed by Gabriel Spencer from Harrogate College.