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Harrogate affairs were originally looked after by the Royal Court of the Honour of Knaresborough, administered by the Duchy of Lancaster. Harrogate had relied on policing by constables from Pannal and other townships. As Harrogate grew, it was allowed a policeman of its own who was formally appointed by Knaresborough court. This remained the case until the West Riding constabulary was formed in 1857. The original building was built in 1866 and was the first police station in the town, quickly also becoming the first courthouse.

This photo shows the old original police station building which was later demolished to make way for the new courthouse building.

After the new building was finished in 1899, the premises were used by the justices for the borough until April 1991 when the Ripon, Pateley Bridge and Knaresborough justices joined with Harrogate to move to the new courthouse in Victoria Avenue, just around the corner. The premises were acquired by Stowe Family Law in April 2004.

The door to the building is the one through which defendants entered the building, unless they were being held in the cells in the basement.

A brown plaque was fitted to the frontage of the Old Court House in November 2009. The Mayor of Harrogate at the time, Councillor Pat Jones, unveiled the plaque, which records the history of the site. Those present at the unveiling included Marilyn Stowe and colleagues from the firm. Mr W Woods, donated the plaque in memory of his late uncle, William Ernest Woods, a distinguished and long serving Clerk of the Court; Mrs L Winder, daughter of the late W E Woods; Mrs Judith Thomas, chairman of the Bench of Magistrates; Mr Michael Slimming, president of the Harrogate Law Society; Mr C Butterworth, a descendent of the Sergant Butterworth who worked in the Victorian Police Station; Mr Howard Huges, chairman of the Civic Society, and Malcolm Neesam, who researched the text.


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