Renaissance Knaresborough’s Town Windows project began with the idea of extending the popular ‘trompe l’oeil’ paintings that had appeared in Knaresborough town centre as part of FEVA, (Festival of Visual Arts).
The idea was to combine the ‘trompe l’oeil’ style of visual trickery with the ‘blind’ windows that appear on the upper floors of some of the town’s Georgian buildings. Renaissance Knaresborough put up the first artboards in 2008, all of them drew on the rich history and heritage of Knaresborough for inspiration.
Originally there were thirteen paintings on eight properties across the town, and a leaflet was produced to help residents and visitors alike to follow the Town Windows Trail, learning about Knaresborough’s history at the same time. So successful was this public art project that new windows have been added over the years, and there are now sixteen windows on ten properties.
A new Town Windows Leaflet has recently been printed and is available from the Tourist Information Office. Thanks go to Knaresborough Lions for their funding of this leaflet.
The Town Windows are in place all year round, and Renaissance Knaresborough commissions manages, maintains and insures all the artboards. Some of the earlier paintings are now in need of repair and restoration, and fundraising is underway so that this work can be carried out.
Support the Windows
If you would like to help support this restoration work, why not consider signing up online to play the Harrogate District Local Lotto/Renaissance Knaresborough, go to ‘Local Lotto’. Tickets are £1 each and 50p of that will go to Renaissance Knaresborough’s fundraising.
Or donate through our Crowdfunding appeal.
So, how did the Giraffe feature as part of Knaresborough’s Heritage? Well, Knaresborough had a zoo, founded in 1965 in the grounds of Conyngham Hall. However, the conditions became increasingly poor, and the zoo closed in 1985 after being refused a licence.
Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre now stands on the same site, but its history is reflected in the painting of the giraffe and the zebra.
In 2008 the Wooden Bridge across the River Nidd in the grounds of Conyngham Hall was looking a bit worse for wear, and it was easy to see the water tumbling over the old stone weir through the slats on the bridge!
The old stone abutments and piers were found to be in excellent condition, so RK planned to replace all the timber structure.
In 2010 Renaissance Knaresborough’s Green Group developed an idea that had come out of the Annual Knaresborough Apple Day. Old maps of Knaresborough showed that established fruit orchards across the town had been removed, usually for house building and that homeowners were generally planting ornamental trees rather than fruit trees.
Their aims were to engage the community in producing local seasonal food, prevent waste and teach new skills in growing, preserving and food preparation.
The scheme would also reduce food miles, thereby reducing CO2 emissions, help to support pollinating insects and encourage bio-diversity.
The Group were keen to plant a full orchard, but couldn’t find large areas of land that would be suitable.
It was decided to search for sites to plant fruit trees in clusters. Orb, Knaresborough Scouts, Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre, Aspin, Meadowside, St Johns and Forest School all agreed to plant trees.
Waterside ducks long ago learnt where visitors and children regularly throw food to them, and Viaduct Terrace is a major feeding station. But it hasn’t always been that way.
Some years ago, Renaissance Knaresborough put together a plan to turn a scrubby part of the Waterside riverbank into a place where residents and visitors could sit and enjoy the views and the peaceful riverside environment.
In 2009 Eastfield Play Area on Nidderdale Drive was in a sorry state!
Harrogate Council had no funding to repair or replace broken equipment, and a local Councillor agreed to fundraise to buy new play equipment. Knaresborough Town Council was supportive and gave an initial grant to get the project going, but more funding was needed.
Renaissance Knaresborough has no regular funding as an organisation, but it’s status as a Voluntary Community Organisation allows it to access pots of money not available to Town and Borough Councils. So, with Entrust Certification already in place, Renaissance Knaresborough successfully applied for ‘landfill credit funding’ through Biffa to the tune of £15,000. The local community raised funding of £13,000 and work began immediately.