Column – My Town, With Maggie Gell

The view of the viaduct from Knaresborough Castle is one of Maggie's favourites. Below - Former Knaresborough Post chief reporter Maggie Gell.
The view of the viaduct from Knaresborough Castle is one of Maggie's favourites. Below - Former Knaresborough Post chief reporter Maggie Gell.

Former Knaresborough Post Chief Reporter and long time Knaresboroughian Maggie Gell tells us what makes the town such a special place to her.

Who are you and what do you do?

kna  Maggie Gell.  (120420M6)

kna Maggie Gell. (120420M6)

Maggie Gell, former reporter for the Knaresborough Post and resident of Knaresborough for 23 years.

What do you like about Knaresborough?

The character of the town, the history connected to it, the quaintness and quirkiness of the streets and buildings, the atmosphere and the total charm of the place.

What is your earliest memory of Knaresborough?

Coming as a little girl with my older sister for days out from our home in Thirsk. We came for boat trips on the river and I absolutely loved it. I had no other ambition then than to live in the town by the river. I may now live in the town but sadly, it isn’t by the river!

What would be your perfect day in Knaresborough?

It would be a pretty simple day but would involve hiring a boat on the river, having something to eat and drink at one of the Waterside cafes, a wander along the riverside in the Abbey Road direction up the Crag to Knaresborough Cricket Club to watch an over or two if the home team’s playing and a drink in the clubhouse. I’d round it off with an Indian meal at one of the town’s excellent restaurants joined by my former female colleagues from the Knaresborough Post, we keep in touch regularly and it’s always a chatty evening.

Do you have a favourite view or walk in Knaresborough?

The view has to be the famed viaduct view as seen from the Castle. To me, it’s the most perfect view in England I always advise anyone coming to Knaresborough for the first time to make sure they see it.

What is Knaresborough’s best kept secret?

There are so many special places. It’s not really a secret but I do think the Frazer Theatre is a real gem and offers so much entertainment right on everyone’s doorstep.

What is your pet hate about Knaresborough?

Anyone who moans about the town not having enough going on or. There’s masses going on here and hard working groups work hard to ensure this is a positively thriving town.

Is there anything you think the town does particularly well?

Its community events take some beating in my opinion. Be it the Bed Race, feva, our Christmas Market etc – there’s so many but the Christmas Eve Nativity play in the Market Place has a particularly good feel to it. Started in the Millennium year by Churches Together, it helps bring an extra special atmosphere to the Christmas period with hundreds of people from across the district coming annually to watch.

What three things would you suggest a visitor to Knaresborough should go and see?

The riverside, the viaduct view from the Castle and an outing to Mother Shipton’s Cave for a unique experience.

Do you have a favourite shop/venue?

I personally like the Old Chemist Shop in the Market Square. The place has delicious chocolates, old fashioned sweets and great gifts and souvenirs for visitors plus a lovely character tea room upstairs. I think owner, Maurice and his team do a great job and help put Knaresborough on the map.

Do you know a quirky tale/legend/fact about Knaresborough?

Cromwell House on the High Street is just 100 yards or so from my back door and just afew doors along from the former office of the Knaresborough Post. It’s steeped in history, is centuries old and I think the fact Oliver Cromwell stayed in the building in the 1640s is abit special. The place had almost fallen to rack and ruin recently but in the last few months, quite rightly, builders have moved in to restore the place and hopefully too, the bedroom Cromwell was reputed to have slept in.

What is your favourite pub/restaurant?

I’ll go for two pubs, one being the Borough Baliff right around the corner from where I live which is a Sam Smiths pub that’s cheerful and friendly with its open, lit fires in the wintertime and where there’s always someone you know to chat to, and the other is Blind Jack’s with its superb homemade wines, a genuine warm atmosphere and a friendly hello from the staff whenever you visit. A Rose by any other name...

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