I write this looking out over Leeds - well, looking out over parts of Wade Lane if I peer over my right shoulder. I have some complimentary hotel tea and biscuits, and my legs have just about recovered from all the walking I did yesterday.
I'd intended to save the write-up for when I got home and had uploaded all my photos, but since I have net access and illustration here, and the next few days are likely to be as busy as the last few, I thought I might as well update you on at least part of my Yorkshire expedition.
"Melcombe", St James' Park, Harrogate, was my great-grandparents' second married home (more on their first married home later). They moved there in 1906, continuing on a path of upward social mobility that took them out of Leeds and eventually down south and out of the scope of this journey. (My great-grandmother grew up in Dorset, and I don't think she ever really felt at home in Yorkshire.) But Harrogate is quite posh enough in itself.
I thought, naively, perhaps, that Melcombe would be pretty easy to find. After all, the works in Bradford had turned out to be right under my nose (another story, again). The problem was, the picture above, together with some very vague memories from my father, was all I had as a guide. On leaving the train in Harrogate and purchasing a street atlas in the bookshop, I discovered that there is no such street as St James' Park.
So I knew what the house ought to look like, and I knew that it had to be near The Stray, which is a park in the centre of Harrogate. So I was looking for a big, turn of the century, probably grey stone building near a park.
Harrogate consists almost entirely of big grey stone houses and parks.
After wandering around fruitlessly for about forty minutes, humming 'New every morning', phoning my father for what I hoped would be more detailed remembrances ('north east across the Stray, and you may have to cross the railway line'), and finding (but being unable to get into) the church they attended (remind me to tell you some stories of the Reverend Guy some time) I did what I should have done in the first place, and went to the library.
There I found, in the excellent Local History section, a 1908 copy of "Robinson's Harrogate Directory". This not only lists Reverend Douglas S. Guy as Rector of Christ Church, The Stray, but also includes "Robert Jowitt, Melcombe, Cavendish Avenue, St James' Park".
Cavendish Avenue, you will be pleased to hear, is
in the A-Z.
Sadly, Melcombe is no longer on Cavendish Avenue. I walked the length of it twice, and everything was either too new or too big. Or both. And it was coming on to rain, so I went back to the station and had a baked potato for lunch.
And that, dear reader, is why I don't have a current photo of "Melcombe", and that's
why you're getting this post today.