SECRETARY’S REPORT

Chairman Peter Staples opened the final normal meeting of our 40th (Ruby) season at 1030a.m. announcing seven apologies including sadly Honorary Life Member Roy Howard who is indisposed and in Littondale Ward at Harrogate Hospital and would welcome visitors. We send our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Today’s Speaker Mr Terry Williams is a short notice stand in due to a cancellation and we are very grateful to him. A resident of North Harrogate he is an authority on the history of the New Park area and has travelled worldwide including a year spent living in the U.S.A.

His topic for his talk “Life in a New England Mansion” developed from a student friendship with an American Andy Dauphin. This friend, a Canadian by birth, moved into New Hampshire spending his formative years in Claremont and in 1991 purchased his boyhood dream of a mansion in the town Highland View Farm which was in a tremendous state of neglect and disrepair.

Highland View Farm had been owned in the 19th century by William H Moody , owner of a Shoe and Boot Company, who whilst an enterprising man, suffered from ill-health probably due to the stresses from his business interests and would use the purchased estate as a retreat and refuge. He employed an architect Hira Beckwith to design buildings and extend the estate and Moody would develop a reputation for producing the best racing stock (horses) at this location which included on the land a racing track. With the demise of Moody in 1925 (his wife predeceased him in 1923) and no children to pass the estate to, the properties declined through many of the following years becoming derelict.

In 1991 Andy Dauphin purchased the house for $112,000 but also with a massive amount of restoration work requiring to be done both externally and internally. Plans were drawn up to restore it as far as possible to its original 19th century condition and over the years extensive work was carried out in a sympathetic and considered manner with the purchase of antique furniture and fittings, stain glass windows including the refurbishment of originals and an attention to detail and  labour of love which came across strongly in the presentation. Andy Dauphin lives in the revamped property and estate with two of his autistic charges from his company “Bear Den”.

In 1916 Moody gave part of his estate to the City of Claremont….now Moody Park a recreational area and purchased a hotel (Hotel Claremont) which is now Moody Buildings with shop units and office/conference space. Moody Buildings is also now owned by Andy Dauphin.

The talk was backed up by a comprehensive slide show which detailed the estate in its 19th century guise, through its decline and as it now looks following its regeneration. The audience had enjoyed the discourse and a number of pertinent questions confirmed the interest aroused.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of the thirty-four attendees was given by John Taylor.

NEIL RAMSHAW   SECRETARY

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