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Is an all but forgotten Harrogate landmark about to spring back into life?
In the grand scheme of things, The Old Magnesia Well Pump Room should be held in the same esteem as the Royal Hall or the Pump Room Museum.
Unfortunately, however, it remains largely unknown to even the most historically savvy Harrogate folk.
What a lot of people dont realise is that the Mag Well is the main reason for the Valley Gardens, said Neil Hughes, vice-chairman of local charity Friends of Valley Gardens.
When this well was built in1858 it fast became one of the two most popular in the town; the other is now inside the famous Pump Room Museum.
People would queue for hours to drink the water and reap the rewards of its healing powers. Over time, the park was gradually built up around the well to cater for people arriving for medical treatments in Harrogate.
The well is situated in the heart of the park, hidden amongst shrubbery. Its hard not to be drawn in by its subtle splendour, particularly as its acute slopping roof and gothic design (a prominent element of so much Victorian architecture) seems to shroud the building in a real sense of mystery. Unfortunately though, there is roof damage and moss covers most the Victorian stone.
It would be truly fantastic if we could raise enough money to restore this magnificent old treasure, said Neil, the damp clearly not affecting his enthusiasm for the idea.
He and chairman of the friends Jane Blayney are spearheading a campaign to not only restore the well, but also turn it into an educational centre. Although the well is their main focus, the charity also works tirelessly to help maintain the gardens as a whole.
Such is the current economic climate, we cant just rest on our laurels and expect the council to sort everything out, said Jane. Were doing all we can to raise the 60,000 needed for the Mag Well. Weve got 15,000 so far, so theres a long way to go.
The groups showpiece fundraising event, a 1940s day, is coming up in June. In its second year, it promises to be a great day out as members try to emulate the success of similar annual events in Haworth and Pickering.
For more information about the well, to become a Friend or to make a donation, visit friendsofvalleygarden.co.uk or call 01423 504390
The print version of this article appeared in the April 2012 issue of Yorkshire Life which includes a special section on Harrogate
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