Spectacular installation in Harrogate town centre highlights town's 450-year spa heritage in build-up to Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival
A spectacular celebratory art installation is throwing light – and sound – on Harrogate’s fascinating spa history in a new collaboration between Harrogate International Festivals and leading artists with support from Slingsby Gin, Harrogate BID and Raworths..
Hundreds of people turned up to watch the launch of the dazzling '1571 The Water That Made Us' in one of the spa town’s most historic locations by renowned sound and light artists, Dan Fox, and James Bawn, produced by Harrogate International Festivals.
The temporary artwork celebrating the 450th anniversary of William Slingsby discovering the waters around what is now Tewit Well, is being staged on the cobbled street between The Crown Hotel and The Royal Pump Room, and will be in situ from now until Sunday, October 24.
1571 The Water That Made Us forms part of the build up to the four-day Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival, which takes place from Thursday, October 21 until Sunday, October 24.
Taking place at The Crown Hotel, this year’s speakers include Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, and historian Melanie King, who will give a fascinating talk on the history of Harrogate’s mineral springs.
For 1571 The Water That Made Us, Harrogate International Festivals has worked closely with the team at the Royal Pump Rooms and Mercer Gallery along.
It has also secured financial support from a number of partners including Slingsby Gin, Harrogate BID and Raworths.
Harrogate International Festivals Chief Executive Sharon Canavar said: “2021 has been momentous for a lot of things, few of them being celebratory, so it felt only right we lead on a new, temporary attraction for Harrogate to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the discovery of our spa waters.
“The event industry was particularly hard hit by Covid, and commissioning new artistic work, and a new tourism attraction, in the midst of the pandemic was a risk.
“However, as an arts organisation, it was one we were determined to take as we firmly believe that keeping artists in work is key. It’s also a superb opportunity to celebrate the rich history of Harrogate.
“We are delighted to be working with Dan Fox and James Bawm, who’s creativity and ingenuity will help bring 1571 The Water That Made Us to life.”
Sound artist Dan said: “This is an immersive soundscape played through speakers along the length of Crown Place.
“Inspired by the discovery of mineral spring waters in Harrogate 450 years ago, the piece is composed entirely of water sounds; from the deep underground source to the well head and the tap waters of the Royal Pump Room.
“People are invited to wander along the cobbled street and hear the short, looped soundscape.”
Lighting designer James, who has previously worked on the lighting sculpture in the Valley Gardens and is renowned worldwide for his architectural installations, said: “I can’t wait to celebrate the unique architecture of Harrogate and bring light and imagination to forgotten spaces.”
Marcus Black Managing Director of Slingsby Gin said: “We are incredibly proud of our heritage and our place within the community of Harrogate.
"We are very proud to support the Festivals to create this new event commemorating a key anniversary in the history of the town.”
Information about this year’s Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival, and the visiting guest writers, can be found on Harrogate International Festivals’ website: https://harrogateinternationalfestivals.com/raworths-literature-festival/