Victorian Knaresborough

Now the fabric of the town began to receive necessary attention, to relieve the squalor of the streets and improve the living conditions of many of the town’s inhabitants. Chapels and schools were built throughout the century and the Improvement Commissioners were charged with the “paving, lighting, watching and improving of Knaresborough”. The first half of the century saw the beginnings of street gas lighting (1824) and sewerage installations(1850). The impressive railway viaduct was completed in 1851, finally ushering in the railway age to Knaresborough – three years after the first viaduct had collapsed into the river as it neared completion. The viaduct was vital in establishing efficient communications with the town


The Water Carnival, now discontinued, also saw its origins in Victorian times. It was a great spectacle of the day and was staged on the river. An illuminated Fairy Castle on the river bank and Chinese lanterns in the trees created a magical scene after dark. Illuminated carnival boats were accompanied by a band on the top deck of the houseboat “Marigold”. The day culminated in a fantastic firework display which included a waterfall of fire from the viaduct, in imitation of Niagara Falls.