Old Vicarage

Gardeners Arms

St. John's Church

A Walk Round Fountains Abbey

Wednesday October 3rd 2018

Mike Bevington lives in Harrogate and he has recently retired as a guide at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. His talk includes a tour of the world famous Cistercian Abbey, looking at why, when and how it was established; a description of the monk’s life at the Abbey, including the purpose and use of the main areas and why, when and how the Abbey was closed.


The Restoration Completed and Being Undertaken of Valley Gardens

Wednesday November 7th 2018

Jane Blayney lives in Harrogate and has been the Chairperson of Friends of Valley Gardens since 2011. The aim of the Friends is to restore, maintain and enhance the area we know as the Valley Gardens and promote the Spa history and heritage of the area.

The early development of the Gardens occurred between the mid 1800’s and 1901 in an area known as Boggs Field and thirty six of Harrogate’s eighty eight mineral wells are found within the Gardens. Today it is known for its floral displays and other public recreational opportunities.

Come along to the talk and hear more on the history of one of Harrogate’s great assets.


Washburn Heritage Centre

Wednesday December 5th 2018

Sally Robinson has been actively involved with the development and management of Washburn Heritage Centre from the very beginning, and was the team leader of The Fewston Assemblage project.

When the Washburn Heritage Centre was built, part of the Churchyard had to be cleared of buried bodies. 154 sets of human remains and artefacts, known as the Fewston Assemblage, were uncovered, The talk is about what was revealed, the research that took place and 19th century life in the Washburn Valley.


Escape from Colditz

Wednesday February 6th 2019

After retiring in the rank of Chief Superintendent following a career in West Yorkshire Police, Terry Frazier worked for the National Trust for 13 years as Projects Manager at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. He was involved in projects such as the construction of the Visitor Centre and the conservation of Fountains Hall and Fountains Abbey Mill.

He has been a National Trust volunteer speaker for the past 44 years and has given over 1000 talks on various topics. He was awarded a BEM in 2014 for services to Heritage Conservation.

Escape from Colditz

During the second World War Colditz Castle, officially called Oflag IVc, was a prisoner of war camp for Allied Officers from Great Britain, the Commonwealth, France, Belgium, Holland and Poland. There, the Germans imprisoned persistent escapers from other camps and declared it to be escape proof. However, despite the rocky crags on which the castle stood, the barbed-wire fences, the numerous guards and the searchlights, 15 prisoners succeeded in escaping and making home-runs back to their own country, 41 others escaped but were recaptured and over 200 other escape attempts were made.

Ingenious devices and disguises were used to aid escapes. The talk deals with life in Colditz, where the prisoners were generally treated according to the terms of the Geneva Convention. Many of the escapes and attempted escapes are described with the use of archival and modern photographs.


To be arranged

Wednesday March 6th 2019


The Story of York City Walls

Wednesday April 3rd 2019

As York Council’s City Archaeologist, John Oxley has been uncovering York’s past for 21 years. He is skilled in Archaeology and Conservation of complex heritage sites and monuments.

Over the years York’s City Walls have been built, reshaped and repurposed, and have been a key aspect of defence, power, trade, civic pride, urban development and tourism. Using archaeological and documentary evidence, John Oxley will explore the changing roles and uses of York’s iconic walls, and include the walls’ history before medieval times, when they were at their largest and most important, right up to the modern day and perhaps touch on their future.