Skipton has been in existence since 1085 according to the Doomsday Book. During the English Civil War it played a historical role and during WWI was the site of a prisoner of war camp. The major local employer is the Skipton Building Society and its subsidiary companies. Also playing a significant role in the local economy is retail sales and tourism. Because it is so close to Yorkshire Dales it is called the gate way to the Dales.
Many people visit the town on a regular basis especially on market day. It is the largest and closest town to almost all the small towns and villages located within the Dales. This attracts many of the shoppers as well as its busy atmosphere and great variety of shops. The High Sreet was voted the best place to shop in Britain in 2008 by the Academy of Urbanism. In the past the High Street was the host of the sheep market but is now used for the general market four days a week. On the western edge of the town at the Auction Mart livestock are auctioned.
To raise money for the Skipton and District Cottage Hospital, which was built during the rein of Queen Victoria's Jubilee, a gala was held on the Brick Buildings Fields off Bailey Road on July 13th 1901. It was so important that extra train track was actually laid to carry in visitors from miles around. Skipton charity gala continued to raise money for other local charities and other non profit organizations after the hospital began to be government funded for the formation of NHS.
The charity gala is still held today on the second Saturday of June every year. The gala begins with a precession that runs through the town center to Aireville Park. There at the park various live performance acts are held to entertain visitors and it is finished off by fireworks and live music. In 2002 the Copper Dragon Brewery opened. The brewery makes five different kinds of cask beer with four of them being bottled. A green dragon coiled around the top of a copper brewer's kettle is the company logo. There are also seven pubs owned by Copper Dragon.
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