"The Harrogate Great Chronicle" is a unique and new type of local book. Part I, the printed book, is a complete history of the crucial early development of 'the English Spa' from its earliest documentary reference in 1322 to the Harrogate Improvement Act of 1841. In many ways it acts as a prequel to the late H.H. Walker's monumental "History of Harrogate under the Improvement Commissioners, 1841-1884". It is an evenly flowing narrative which is particularly concerned with the discovery, use and promotion of the mineral wells, whose health-giving powers became the foundation of Harrogate's later prosperity. Along with the history of the spa, and the important role of the Duchy of Lancaster in urban development, Part I also considers the changing role of education, hospitals, schools, religion and the churches, local government and poor law, transport, social history, the enclosure movement and how national events such as plagues, revolution and war all affected life in one small Yorkshire town.
The author has consulted virtually every original source of information, many of which are to found as far afield as London or Oxford, in order to produce a strikingly comprehensive and useful narrative. Uniquely, in Part II of the "Harrogate Great Chronicle" he has ordered virtually all of these source materials into 24 sections which - because of their sheer size - have been reproduced in digital form on a CD-ROM which is bound into the case of this hardback volume. The narrative history of Part I refers constantly to the source material in Part II, an approach which allows other readers to test the author's conclusions and which, importantly, provides local people with an absolutely vast source of information about the early history and development of their town. Local people and historians everywhere will find masses of new information and new insight in this unique publication. Part I in book form; Part II on CD-ROM is bound into the back of the case.