The Song of the Swan
Chapter 1 -
Chapter 2 -
Chapter 3 - Chapter 4
Chapter 5 -
Chapter 6 -
Chapter 7 - Pictures
The last of the Shutts to own the Swan Hotel was
Isaac Thomas, a man of parts. He became a founder director of the
present company which bought and redeveloped the estate. Though
destined for the hotel business, he had trained as an architect and
surveyor and had the satisfaction of seeing his plans and design for
the new Royal Pump Room (the Sulphur Well) accepted and implemented
by the Improvement Commissioners in sight of the hotel at the
entrance to what are now the Valley Gardens.
The original cupola was removed and now covers the
Tewit Well on the Stray.
The success story of the old Swan Hotel is a story
of romance and true love applied by man and wife to a hotel and of
the patrons they enjoyed welcoming, making comfortable, and
cosseting in a family atmosphere.
The man Isaac Thomas Shutt had married the
daughter of Thackwray's successor at the Crown, Ann Staning, long
remembered for her beauty and gentle nature. For nearly 25 years,
with their large and growing family, they served as a model for the
Victorian success story. The husband gave the town public service as
a Commissioner and professional service as an architect. The Royal
Pump Room (without the added waiting room) - where Betty Lupton,
procuress extraordinary, dispensed the health giving waters for so
many years, in bonnet and voluminous apron, saying "Sile it through
your teeth ladies" to initiate taking their first doses of the
medicine - serves as a fitting memorial to that era of gracious
living exemplified by the Shutts of the Swan.
Isaac Thomas put his younger brother into Oakdale
Farm to grow supplies for the hotel, and to manage his stock
breeding interests. In 1856, a shorthorn was sold to Australia and
in 1866 he sold a horse he had bred, called "Commissioner", for
£2,000, a tidy sum in those days. Our hotelier / architect
was also an influential estate agent, but, above all, he was a
sportsman; he kept his own pack of harriers in the hotel stables,
and he was Master of the Harrogate Beagles, a tradition which the
new Old Swan Hotel has maintained to' this day in proud association
with the Claro Beagles and the Bramham Moor Hunt who meet on the
lawn on the Saturday nearest to New Year's Day every year.
The former Swan Hotel with its four acres of land in the heart of
the spa area had been sold in 1878 to a company formed that year,
The Harrogate Hydropathic Company, whose object was to build on the
site a replica of Dr. Smedley's Hydropathic in Matlock, Derbyshire,
The story of the following one hundred years is a cameo of Britain's
social history and Harrogate's eminence as the country's premier
inland resort and floral spa.
Author's notes :
a The old building can be identified by looking south
from the back corridor, note the different windows and stone
corbels, it was two storeys high.
b The Mansard roof, added later as a third storey of
bedrooms, is of considerable architectural interest and
caused the building as a whole to be entered as a listed
(2) The old cellars are sometimes used for wine tastings.
(3) The oil paintings by Dendy Sadler, "The Popular
Candidate", and George Wright's two coaching scenes, hunting and
driving trophies, and an old coaching board may be seen in "The
Swan Inn" Tudor bar in the hotel.
(4) There is a small collection of pewter plates from Ripon
(5) The Yew tree at the north west corner of the hotel is
reckoned to be more than 200 years old.
(6) The younger beautiful copper beech, which stood like a
crinoline on the front lawn for many years was blown down in the
gales of 1975. It had been planted in 1879 with the nearby Cedar
(7) The entrance hall contains an old hooded chair for the
porter, a court cupboard (1738), a refectory table (1675) and a
Grandfather Clock by J R Ogden (1878).