THE STORY of Ilkley’s imposing Wells House Hydro was on display in an event at the town’s local history hub.

The Ilkley Civic Society session at the Manor House featured images and information about the building, which went on to become a college before being converted into flats.

Local historian Alex Cockshott said:”The hydro event went well, with a good attendance. We made contact with some ex-students of the College of Housecraft.”

Wells House was opened in 1856 by a group of Bradford businessmen, and was designed by Cuthbert Brodrick who went on to design Leeds Town Hall.

Hydropathic establishments, offering baths and water treatments, were popular in the 19th century when well-heeled Victorians visited them for the sake of their health.

One of those visitors was Charles Darwin, who received hydropathic treatment for a mystery ailment in 1859, when his controversial work, On the Origin of Species, was published.

Darwin arrived in Ilkley at the beginning of October to visit the new hydrotherapy establishment for rest and recuperation. The water cure involved bathing in pure cold water and taking walks on the moor when the weather allowed. His controversial and world changing book was published on November 22.

The next Ilkley History Hub event will take place on June 29. Images of Wells House are supplied by Ilkley History Hub.