Victoria Avenue was built in 1860 to link the two ancient villages of High and Low Harrogate. High Harrogate developed after William Slingsby discovered the Tewit Well in 1571. Further discoveries of important mineral waters led to the building in 1687 of Harrogate’s first hotel, the Queen (now Cedar Court), which was soon followed by the Dragon and Granby Hotels. St. John’s Chapel followed in 1749 , which was rebuilt as Christ Church in 1831, and entertainments were provided in the form of two Georgian Theatres, one of c.1769 at 3 Devonshire Place and another in 1778 at Mansfield House in Church Square. A library and shops also did good business in High Harrogate, and during the summer season, a race-course operated on the Stray. The decline in popularity of High Harrogate’s Iron, or Chalybeate Waters, in favour of Low Harrogate’s Sulphur Waters, led to the closure of many businesses, and apart from a lively retail area around the junction of Westmoreland Street, Regent Parade and Devonshire Place, Georgian High Harrogate is today primarily residential in nature.
Victoria Avenue was the major show street of the Victoria Park Company, established in 1860 by Richard Ellis and the Carter brothers to link High and Low Harrogate, and to urbanise the still open fields between the two communities. With its handsome Victorian buildings, including several churches, villas and the unfinished Municipal Palace, and flanked with broad tree-lined pavements, this avenue is a fine example of progressive Victorian town planning.