White Wells

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White Wells is a spa bath situated on Ilkley Moor in West Yorkshire, England. It was built in c.1700 as an open air spa bath, later baths were enclosed and a single plunge pool survives today inside the White Wells Spa Cottage.[1]

History[edit]

The original open air bath, situated to the rear of the current Spa Cottage, was built under the direction of the landowner Peter Middleton (c.1655-1714). In 1791 two baths were built on the current site by Robert Dale, the baths were enclosed by walls on three sides but were not roofed over. Dale placed an advert in the Leeds Intelligencer of 26 April 1791 which made claims that the medicinal properties of the 'Spaw' could heal 'bad eyes', 'tumours and sores', 'scrophula' and 'all cases where the spine is affected.[sic]'[2]

In 1793 a young visitor to White Wells, Anne Harper, the 9 year old daughter of local butcher William Harper, drowned in the spa bath. There is a memorial plaque dedicated to her inside the current building. [3]

New Year's Day[edit]

The plunge pool is used to welcome in the New Year and is noted as the most popular day of the year for plunging.[4]

People plunging in the spa pool, New Year's Day 2012

Footnotes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Hunnebell, M., (2010) That Place on Ilkley Moor: A History of White Wells, Yeadon, Smith Settle / Croft Publications, ISBN 978-0-9555126-2-9

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°55′01″N 1°49′18″W / 53.91690°N 1.82177°W / 53.91690; -1.82177