49 Tower Street - The Journey
The journey from transforming a run-down building into Slingsby’s on Tower Street began one bitterly cold Saturday afternoon in January 2015. Initially it did not bode well with half the street resembling a building site as, at that time, The Travelodge was midway through its construction!
Mix together a little madness & a lot of vision & soon Slingsby’s was born. The project started with the design as Christine, David & Roger looked to create an “industrial retro” look. This style certainly lends itself to the history of the building but they were also keen to ensure the interior was warm & welcoming.
Then onto builder Danny & his team who executed the plan to perfection supplemented at weekends by friends & family putting what seemed like bucket-loads of paint onto those walls. Finally the enjoyable bit – the fitting out – which (as these things always do) went right down to the wire.
On 3rd August our great crew joined for training & a week later Slingsby’s opened. A lively formal launch followed a month later with comedian Patrick Monahan & Stray FM helping to create a party atmosphere.
But Slingsby’s is just small part of the ongoing regeneration of Tower Street which still has much further to go. Tower Street certainly has a history. Read the archives & in the late 19th century by day it was a street of artisan craftsmen & small businesses but by night it certainly had a seedier reputation for all kinds of petty crime & much heavy drinking.
In the 1870s it was the site of Harrogate’s first hospital. This was located where Tower Street meets Avenue Road – now the Home Guard Club – & which subsequently moved to what is now St Peters school. Old maps also show a “dead house” in the vicinity that might go some way to explaining Tower Street’s resident ghost!
In the 1960s the street laid claim to some other firsts – as Cecil Margolis opened U Save Harrogate first supermarket. However, in recent years most locals know Tower Street for kids parties in the old bowling alley.
Who can’t remember the smell of cheap cooking fat that hit you as you went through the front door? The fall of the bowling alley into disrepair pretty much summed up a street in decline up until a few years ago.
However, the past few years have seen significant investment & a major change in fortunes on the street. The new Travelodge & Pure Gym are perhaps the most talked about. But add in the West Park hotel, Mandon the trendy gents retailer, the Lingerie Room, a florist & of course Slingsby’s artisan coffee bar & the degree of change is quite something.
A great mix of independent shops is what makes Harrogate different from most towns up and down the country, & Tower Street certainly has its fair share. But it doesn’t stop there. There may be some pause for breath but rumour has it a Gin Distillery & visitor centre could be opening in 2016 & the Home Guard Club has recently been sold for redevelopment – so watch this space!