It is a life size replica of Esholt, West Yorkshire, the village which had been used for the village scenes in Emmerdale Farm/Emmerdale for 22 years. It took almost 2 years of planning before construction began on the new village in June 1997. As early as 1989, the shows set designer Mike Long had visions of building a purpose built set but the tourism problem in Esholt was not bad enough to disrupt filming to a big degree.
Planning and construction of the Harewood Set
In December 1995 it was announced that Emmerdale was to introduce a 3rd weekly episode, starting at the start of 1997. This decision had come about in late 1995 when Mervyn Watson, the shows producer, announced the show was to do a 3rd weekly episode, like Coronation Street, EastEnders and Brookside had previously done. This meant more filming in Esholt. Filming in Esholt was quite disruptive to the villagers as it was with 2 episodes, so 3 episodes worth of "village" scenes would make filming worse. The crew was always asking Esholt residents to park down the road during filming, not to walk into shots etc.
In late 1995, at the same time, Tim Fee and Mike Long, the set designer, submitted plans for a purpose built set, a replica of Esholt, a "set" that was away from the tourists and that would not invade the privacy of the villagers of Esholt anymore. Costs were formalised in 1996. Mike was told by producer Mervyn Watson to make the new set look more like a Dales village in terms of stonework and such but was told to keep the shape, size and geography of the shop, the Woolpack, Pear Tree, Keepers and Victoria Cottages the same as Esholt.
A site was chosen which was a huge cornfield on the Harewood Estate near Leeds, which conveniently was the field near the two farmhouses that were used for filming exterior scenes of the Dingles farm and Glovers farm.
They had free reign with pretty much everywhere else outside Main Street. They copied the entire row of 4 houses next to the pub and the 4 running along from the adjoined post office. They were the same as Esholt and the cottage behind the shop which is at an angle fronting the corner of Main Street and the main road.
They copied the shape of the buildings used as the tea rooms, smithy, Annies Cottage and the village hall but placed them differently to Esholt. Church Lane in the new village was to be where the second row of houses along from the one adjoined to the shop was to be. Due to costs the church and vicarage was not recreated.
Construction began in June 1997 and was finished by December. The production team went off for Christmas feeling really proud of their achievement.
In December 1997, after 22 years of filming there, the cast and crew bade farewell to Esholt as the curtain came down on the village being used for the village scenes in favour for the replica village on the Harewood Estate. Esholt residents could finally get peace and quiet from film crews, but to this day have to put up with tourists from around the world flocking on the village to see the famous locations used in Emmerdale Farm/Emmerdale.
Regarding the stonework of the buildings, Esholt is not a Dales village and Arncliffe was so when they were in talks of building a new village set they were to use the correct stonework to make the replica of Esholt look like a Dales village. Esholt's buildings are coursed sandstone whereas Dales villages are built out of rubble style limestone which is not in courses. In Esholt there are stone lintels around the windows and you find them in Dales villages so they were kept but most corners of Dales villages have large stone called quoins. They did very good in recreating Esholt in terms of shape, size, geography and outlines of doors and windows (Ie lintels) but changed the stonework to make it look more Dales like. They spread yoghurt over the stonework to encourage algae and moss to grow on parts of the walls them to make them look 300 years old, and in time the stonework matches Esholt more in terms of colour. Mike Long toured a few real Dales villages to get ideas on how to recreate the stonework effect in the new village.
Usage in Emmerdale 1998-present
Filming begun on the new Harewood set in January 1998. Actor Clive Hornby who played Jack Sugden said he did prefer Esholt. The new set was much easier for the crew as there was a cafe on site for the cast and crew and they could really pan out to show the surrounding countryside.
First appearance of Harewood in Emmerdale
Episode 2325 (18th February 1998) was the fir
Esholt locations copied for the Harewood set
- The Woolpack, Esholt (replica building built at the purpose built set and in same location as Esholt)
- Pear Tree Cottage, Esholt (replica building built at the purpose built set and in same location as Esholt)
- Woodbine Cottage (replica building built at the purpose built set and in same location as Esholt)
- Tug Ghyll (replica building built at the purpose built set and in same location as Esholt)
- Victoria Cottage (17 Main Street, Esholt) (replica building built at the purpose built set and in same location as Esholt)
- Keepers Cottage (replica building built at the purpose built set and in same location as Esholt)
- Esholt Post Office (replica building built at the purpose built set and in same location as Esholt)
- Brook Cottage (replica building built at the purpose built set and in same position as Esholt)
- Smithy Cottage (replica building built at the purpose built set but facing Main Street whereas in Esholt the front of the building faced away from Main Street)
- Esholt churchyard (replica cemetery built at the purpose built set and in same position as Esholt)
- Esholt Village Hall (replica built at the purpose built set but behind Main Street rather than on Main Street)
- Esholt cricket ground (different position at the purpose built set)
Other real life locations which have had replica buildings copied for the "village"
- Creskeld Hall, Bramhope, Yorkshire (In 2013, a replica of Creskeld Hall was built for the Home Farm scenes, however this set was later discontinued as filming has since resumed at Creskeld Hall)
- Mill Cottage, Stank, Harewood (replica was built in the purpose built set, as the Stank property was used from 1986 to 1997)
- Also Mike Young based a small part of The Woolpack on a pub in Malham, Yorkshire in the Dales.
Memorable info on the unfamiliar names on certain headstones in the cemetery
In many scenes set in the Emmerdale Village Cemetery a lot of the graves are of characters who died in the serial from 1972 onwards (plus Jacob Sugden, who died 6 days before the first episode airdate) but there are also many headstones of unfamiliar names, seemingly past residents of the village never seen or mentioned in the serial. When the purpose built set was being built, many headstones were transported from Woodgrange Park Cemetery in Manor Park, London after part of the cemetery was cleared to make way for new flats. The chairman on the borough council heard that a new set was being built for Emmerdale so offered for Yorkshire TV to come and collect several headstones for the "Fake" cemetery. Not a penny was exchanged, the headstones were offered free!
One name you may like to look out for is the headtsone of a Rosina Dorman, buried to the right in front of the grave of established character Rachel Hughes. The headstone says Rosina died in April 1934, and her husband William's name is on the above inscription. This headstone was seen in the episode where Liam Hammond's funeral took place in Episode 2614 (30th November 1999). Rosina is supposedly an ex Beckindale resident but in real life she would have lived in Leyton, London area, near the cemetery, as her headstone was one of the many bought up from the cemetery.