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The Harrogate Well

The Harrogate Well

Excerpt from Whitehouse's History of Wigan, 1829.

"THE Springs in the neighbourhood of Wigan are numerous, and a few years ago a medical spring was discovered near Scholes Bridge, the water of which was strongly impregnated with sulphur, and which, very much from its resemblence to the celebrated Yorkshire Spa, obtained the name of new Harrogate. The quantity of Saline matter contained in this water was not so considerable as in the Harrogate waters, but it was used with good effect in cutaneous and scorbutic disorders, and patients frequently obtained perfect cure from the use of it. For the accommodation of visitors, a handsome building was erected, with conveniences for drinking the water, and bathing if required, but now the waters, having got mixed with those of the neighbouring coal pits, have nearly lost their medicinal virtues, and are little used."

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

DR. BORLESS, in 1770, prophesied a fortunate and fashionable future for the Wells (mentioning Lathom and Harrogate Spas), but evidently this did not mature, owing to the aforesaid Coal Pits.

THE Well was lost sight of until the 4th October, 1889, when it was exposed by the pulling down of two cottages which had been built over the site. When the ground floor of one of these cottages was removed, a circular brick chamber was revealed 12 feet in diameter, with walls 5 feet in height. An arch bricked roof covered in the well, and partly formed the floor of the chamber. Under the arch and across the wall was placed a massive plum tree beam, doubtless used at some time for the attachment of winding gear. The well was 12 feet deep, and contained 5 feet of water, a rough wooden seating encircling the chamber.

THE illustration above is a reproduction of a sketch made just prior to the demolition of the cottages.


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