This is first look at spectacular new Harrogate light show for cycling championships

Spectacular - The wells within Harrogates Valley Gardens will be seen in the night sky for miles around. (Picture courtesy of Harrogate International Festivals)
Spectacular - The wells within Harrogates Valley Gardens will be seen in the night sky for miles around. (Picture courtesy of Harrogate International Festivals)

The celebration of Harrogate’s spa heritage is stepping up a gear this weekend (Friday, September 27-Sunday September 29) when the town’s Valley Gardens and Harlow Hill Water Tower star in a stunning light display.


From dusk tonight, Friday, 36 wells within the town centre park – together with the imposing Grade II Listed structure - will be lit with light shafts to complete a 3D art installation, which will be seen in the night sky for miles around.

Brightening up Harrogate - The Harrogate 1571 project. (Picture courtesy of Harrogate International Festivals)

Brightening up Harrogate - The Harrogate 1571 project. (Picture courtesy of Harrogate International Festivals)

Called Harrogate 1571 and delivered by Harrogate International Festivals, the work has been commissioned by Harrogate Borough Council as part of a wrap-around cultural programme for the UCI World Cycling Championships.

Last week, a steel and light structure was unveiled within the Valley Gardens to mark the arrival of the world’s biggest cycle tournament – one that annually attracts hundreds-of-thousands of spectators and a world-wide TV audience of millions.

The wells, together with the water tower, are being lit by Yorkshire lighting expert James Bawn, from Element 3 Design, who is renowned for bringing Emley Mast and the Shard to light.

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Harrogate International Festivals chief executive Sharon Canavar said: “Harlow Hill Water Tower is one of Harrogate’s most imposing structures, occupying a commanding position overlooking the entire town.

“When it came to planning this celebration of Harrogate’s spa heritage, we knew we wanted the tower to play a major part. Thanks to Yorkshire Water, and the skills of James Bawn, we are going to have a beautiful light installation that pays tribute to the history of the town and the waters that have made us.

“The entire Harrogate 1571 project has only been made possible thanks to a number of incredibly supportive local organisations, businesses and brilliant craftsmen, all of whom want to see our town in the best possible light.

“My thanks go to Harrogate Borough Council, Yorkshire Water, Spirit of Harrogate,

Eddie Roberts from Cult-Ore and James Bawn.”

Richard Emmott, Yorkshire Water’s director of corporate affairs, said: “For more than a century our water tower has played a significant role in Harrogate’s water supply, and I’m delighted it’s going to be included in this exciting project.

“Earlier this year, we completed a major engineering scheme to increase the size of underground mains. The majority of this work was centred on and around the Stray, which is now the epi centre of the cycling championships.

“Having worked with Sharon and her team before, I know this is going to be a light show to remember, and I’m looking forward to seeing Harlow Hill Water Tower shine.”

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Harrogate Borough Council chief executive Wallace Sampson said: “Whereas Rome was built on seven hills, Harrogate was built on water!

“Our architecture, reputation, concert halls and hotels all rose from this life-giving element. It’s the very reason why people came to the town in the first place. And when they visited many decided to make it their home too.

“Harrogate International Festivals is to be congratulated for this inspirational illuminating installation.”

Whilst over 100 wells are set within Harrogate, Bogs Field in the Valley Gardens is the source of 36 unique mineral springs.
A natural wonder of the world, where a greater number of unique mineral springs come to the surface than at any other known place on earth.
The waters are Magmatic or Plutonic in origin, and never existed as rain, flowing deep beneath the earth for 20,000 years before surfacing through vertical shafts in the strata.

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