One of Harrogate’s most architecturally-admired buildings has turned 150 years old.
Trustees and invited guests celebrated the milestone for George Rogers’ Almshouses in style - with a dedication of the re-landscaped garden, and a 150th birthday party at St Paul’s Church hall afterwards.
The almshouses were a gift of the Bradford textile manufacturer and philanthropist George Rogers. Steeped in history, the Grade II listed building sits just off Belford Road, providing valued retirement housing in the town.
Among the guests to attend the celebrations on Sunday was Harrogate historian Malcolm Neesam. He said: “Seeing Rogers’ Almshouses with their splendidly refurbished garden reminds us again of how well the Victorians managed to blend utility and beauty, to provide socially valuable accommodation with a stunning enhancement of Harrogate’s architectural heritage.”
Alistair Baldwin, who designed the re-landscaped garden, said: “Having lived in Harrogate, I’d gone past the almshouses many times and often thought how absolutely stunning the building is.
“I have really enjoyed working on this project, and I think it’s nice that the garden is so visible for people to enjoy as they go past as well.”
And all the hard work on the gardens has paid off - less than a fortnight ago, they were awarded the McCrindle trophy in this year’s Harrogate in Bloom awards.
Frances Elliot, who attended the 150th anniversary celebrations on behalf of the Harrogate Easier Living Project charity (HELP) which helps older people to live independently, tweeted: “Happy birthday to Rogers’ Almshouses.
“Looking great at 150, enhanced by Harrogate in Bloom’s award-winning garden, for residents to enjoy for many more years to come.”
Judith Simpson, who is a trustee for the almshouses, said: “Over the years, hundreds of tenants have benefited from Mr Rogers’ generosity and, now, some 150 years later, we, as trustees, strive to continue his vision.”
In a book written about the history of the almshouses, Daphne Fisher writes: “Mr Rogers was a kindly and far-sighted gentleman.”