Celebrating North Craven Past and Present
This exhibition celebrates the wealth of fascinating material contained in a collection of local archives and the innovative projects which they have inspired.
The archives (books, pamphlets, posters and photographs) were originally collected by a London based antiquarian bookseller, John Collins. He regularly visited North Craven on holiday and began to take an interest in local sales:
"I recently succumbed to an inordinately expensive copy of poems, Tom Twisleton's 'Splinters struck from Winskill Rock'. I pretend that I bought it because it's not in the British Museum catalogue ... But really I bought it because Winskill is just over our horizon as we wake up on holiday."
'Happy Hunting Ground' The Times 1984The museum recently bought over 250 items from his collection with the help of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Sue Mackay, Project Officer (also funded by the Lottery grant), contacted community groups in North Craven who were interested in looking at the archives. Some groups used the material to further their own work and some were inspired to start new projects. This exhibition shows a selection of projects completed so far ... others are on-going and some have not even yet begun! Please contact Sue if you would like to discuss the use of the collection for another community project.
North Craven Celebrations
Royal celebrations in North Craven are traditionally marked in a rather special style: the building of arches across the street. The sturdy framework is covered with evergreen branches and decorated with flags and pictures of important symbols and people. Our archway into the exhibition is a little different! Its decoration represents families, organisations and authorities important to the area, past and present. It was made by Pioneer Projects at Bentham Looking Well.
Image: Arch in Duke Street for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, 1887. Photographed by J. Bordley of Settle.
Image: Railway arch at the bottom of Kirkgate decorated for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, 1887. Photographed by J. Bordley of Settle.
Image: Arch in Craven Terrace for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, 1887. Photographed by J. Bordley of Settle.
The Centenary of Settle's Oldest Garage
In 1909, two brothers, C.W. and O. Lancaster arrived in Settle from Habergham near Burnley to open the town's first garage. These were the very early days of motoring and theirs was to be one of the first purpose-built garages in the country. They employed F.S. Button, a civil engineer from Habergham, to design the distinctive building which is still at the heart of today's premises on Duke Street, now F. H. Ellis.
Having made a shaky start, the business was soon sold on, becoming part of the West Yorkshire Garage and Motor Company Ltd. It was here, in 1913, that the young F.H. (Fred) Ellis became an apprentice. By 1915 he was in a position to buy the garage and carry on the business with his three brothers. It was known as the West Yorkshire Garage, a name which is preserved in the present-day address. After World War I, Fred specialised in repairs and brothers John and Norman concentrated on the charabanc and taxi work which was to provide so many local residents with their chance of a day trip to the seaside or a cricket match.
During World War II the site was requisitioned by the Air Ministry in connection with the bomb 'dump' based in the area. The business had to move to rented accommodation at the Talbot Garage in High Street and then to the since-demolished stables at Ashfield in Kirkgate. It was not until 1947 that they were able to return to their own premises. In 1957 Fred's son Chris and daughter-in-law, Nancy joined the business which expanded enormously, taking over two other Settle garages. Fred himself retired in the 1960s after fifty years service and in 1966, Dennis Howarth, who had been apprenticed in 1944, became a partner. The business continued to flourish and after Chris and Nancy's retirement in 1987 was passed on to Dennis Howarth and his new partners, son-in-law Michael West and Graham Whaites. Today, this award-winning garage, still trading under the name of F.H. Ellis, maintains its key position as one of Settle's most important assets, under the guidance of Dennis' son Steven and original partner, Michael.
Adapted from original research by Chris Ellis.
Image: Field map of Hellifield, 1839, brought to the Hellifield History Day and donated to the North Yorkshire County Record Office.
Celebrating Hellifield History
On 15th November 2008 volunteers at Hellifield ran a very successful history day. There were displays about the railway, auction mart, church, chapel, WI, Peel, gala, school and the Institute. Many visitors brought in their own photographs for people to see and for the museum to copy. Below are a selection of those photographs giving a snapshot of Hellifield through the decades.
Roman Cave Treasures
In 1837, as Queen Victoria came to the throne, exciting discoveries were made in a cave on Attermire above Settle ...
Men out rabbiting sent their terriers down one hole and they popped out of a higher one. On investigation they found large stones blocking the entrance to a cave: what became known as Victoria Cave. Inside were an extraordinary number of Roman period items including 57 bronze brooches! There is still a great debate as to why the brooches (plus coins, spindle whorls and beads) were placed there - to hide them? As part of a ritual? As some part in the process of making, transporting and trading them?
In 1870 the cave was excavated by local gentlemen (Sir James Kay- Shuttleworth, Mr Walter Morrison, Mr John Birkbeck and others) and aided by W. Boyd Dawkins, the curator from Owens College, Manchester. He wrote up their finds in 'Cave Hunting' published in 1874.
Image: Rhymes: for 1837 & 8. Composed and Set to Music by R. Hardacre, Long Preston, The Celebrated Ribblesdale Poet.
A collection of Richard Hardacre's verses. These are extracts from the poems written for the years 1828 - 1839 mentioning: the hard times felt by local cotton weavers; the new Workhouse at Giggleswick; the building of Settle Town Hall and churches at Settle, Rathmell and Skipton. The poem is read by Stewart Robertshaw and recorded by Long Preston History Group. Many thanks to them for permission to feature it here: click on the sound file to listen to Richard Hardacre's poems (MP3, 678kb)
The 'Celebrated Ribblesdale Poet'
Richard Hardacre lived in Long Preston from about 1780 to 1841. He was a cotton weaver and sexton (grave digger) for the church. He was also a bell ringer, musician and poet and regularly published a sheet of verse which included a review of the year. The poems are an important record of life in Long Preston and have been used by the Long Preston Local History Group in researching the village.
Hardacre's poems featured national news such as the building of new 'Union Workhouses' for the relief of the poor by groups of parishes from 1834 (including one at Giggleswick). Local news also often featured the economic hardships suffered by local people, particularly the cotton weavers, who worked from home before local mills opened:
"The cotton weavers do complain,
Their wages are so low again
And bread is now so very dear,
Is the complaints of the last year"
'On The Times' 1828"What can I say respecting times,
Cotton trade is never at one,
Sometimes there's work and sometimes none;
And their wages so very small,
Which makes things worse and ruins all.
'On The Times' 1837
In 1841 Richard is recorded as living in the Alms Houses in Long Preston. This indicates the poverty in which a hard-working cotton weaver could expect to end his days.
Settle Businesses Past and Present
The local archives contain many guides to Craven. These were written for visitors bound for the "wildest country in all England" (J. R. Thomson 'Guide to The District of Craven' 1879) on the newly opened Settle to Carlisle Railway. The guides feature fascinating advertisements for businesses serving the new tourists. Ashley Morgan from Pioneer Projects at Bentham Looking Well has located some of these businesses and taken photos of the relevant buildings today ... not all of them have changed for the better!
In the second half of the 19th century Settle was considered a "neat clean town with an unmistakeable air of prosperity" (J. R. Thomson 'Guide to The District of Craven' 1879). It had all the trappings of a civilized Victorian town - schools, churches, grand Town Hall, music hall, Mechanics Institute and Literary Society (each with a library). The area also had numerous attractions such as the swings, see-saws and merrygo- rounds on Castleberg, the caves of Giggleswick Scar and Attermire Scar, Giggleswick's Ebbing and Flowing Well and Stainforth Foss.
Settle Businesses Past and Present
12 images of local businesses, chiefly:
3 images of each at different periods.
Pick and Mix! (2 boards)
Can you find today's building on the map of Settle? Can you match it to an old photograph of the building or an advert for the old business which used to be there?
These two boards contain images relating to various businesses in Settle and a historic map of the town to try to place the location of each business. Some of the photos relate to:
Life in Victorian Settle
As part of their Victorian History project, children in class 3 at Settle Primary School studied images and adverts from the museum's archives and some 3-dimensional objects. They thought about lots of different aspects of life in Settle such as rich and poor lives, shopping, working and transport. From their studies, they produced these banners. Can you find any of these objects?
Life in North Craven During World War II
Class 2 from Giggleswick Primary School took a close look at life in this area during the war. The pupils looked at the stirring messages given by war-time posters as well as objects held by the museum. They were very struck by some of the objects such as the toy rabbit made from an old pair of men's trousers and the gas mask made for a baby. Stories of evacuees escaping the bombing in the cities also enthralled them. They used what they had learned to make their own war-time posters.
Coming to Clapham: The Growth of Tourism
Clapham, at the foot of Ingleborough, with its caves and waterfalls, grouse and pheasant shooting, well tended cottages and hospitable folk has long been a popular tourist destination.
Ingleborough has always attracted visitors. The summit plateau is a prehistoric site. Later, beacons from Ingleborough reputedly signalled Viking invasion and the Armada. Horses were raced round the site before 1700 until a fatal accident occurred!
Gentry, on the newly popularised 'British Tour', visited from about 1750 when hostilities with France prevented travel abroad. The dramatic scenery of the area soon became popular with the writers and painters of the Picturesque and Romantic movements. North Craven, by now a nationally recognised destination, featured in early guidebooks.
In 1837 Ingleborough estate workmen directed by Josiah Harrison opened up a new and extensive cave system. Josiah was appointed the first guide. By 1838 Frederick Montagu was the 50th official visitor and already cave formations had been damaged by trophy hunters! Visitors were asked to sign a book:
"This hint will, I trust, prevent the necessity of some gentlemen, who, in the absence of cards, think it requisite to carry knives to leave their names with ..."
'Gleanings in Craven' 1838
By 1846 the Black Bull Inn, Clapham, was renamed The Bull and Cave to attractvisitors and from 1850 the railway brought many more tourists to Clapham making the cave into a business. Mill workers from the cities could enjoy:
"... the rural quiet and the enjoyment of fresh air , contrasting the tranquility of Clapham at that hour with the noise and confusion at Bradford."
Walter White 'A Month in Yorkshire' 1858
Entry charges were set at Ingleborough Cave and The Flying Horse Shoe Inn opposite Clapham Station was built. By 1910 400-500 parties a year visited the Cave, bringing with them inevitable problems. By 1857 visitors had been banned from the gardens of the Farrer Estate when litter became a problem.
Gaping Gill is a 360ft/110m vertical pothole on the path to Ingleborough, connecting with Ingleborough Cave. It was first attempted in 1842, but only successfully fully descended in 1895 by a Frenchman, Edouard Martel:
"I despair of giving my readers any idea of the view on which I gazed as I stood at the foot of my ladder ... There were no stalactites or sparkling diamonds ... but an immense cathedral unsupported by a single pillar ... one of the five or six largest caves known at present to exist in the whole world..."
E. Martel in 'Alpine Club Journal',1896, quoted in E. Bogg
'Two Thousand Miles of Wandering in the Border Country,
Lakeland and Ribblesdale' 1898
In about 1888 a new guide was appointed to the cave - Harry Harrison - grandson of Josiah the first guide. He continued guiding for many decades. He was also a composer, church organist and poet:
Exploration of this and other local potholes followed - North Craven became the focus of a new sport. Since the 1950s thousands have descended Gaping Gill by winch.
Summit bonfires brought the crowds back to Ingleborough to mark Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887. In 1895 the commercial potential of visitor numbers led to plans for an electric railway from Ingleton to the summit, but these were quashed by opposition from local Lords of the Manor.
The Three Peaks were first walked in one day in 1887. In 1892 the Three Peaks Club was conceived - the walk became competitive, was first run in 1948 and became a race in 1954, women competing from 1979. Numbers grew, today limited to 550. The Race is now sponsored, attracting media coverage. In 2008 it featured in an international Challenge.
In 1939 Harry Scott started "The Dalesman" publication in Clapham, sending news of Craven to Dales fans worldwide.The village was also promoted by the Yorkshire Dales National Park, formed in 1954. In 1970 the Reginald Farrer Nature Trail opened, in memory of the renowned local botanist (whose alpine gardens and nursery were open to the public earlier in the century) followed by Ingleborough Hall Outdoor Education Centre in 1972.
Today Clapham welcomes a minimum estimated 154,000 vsitors a year and is considered by recent guidebooks much as it has always been:
"One of the prettiest little villages that anyone could wish to find; it is almost as if it was planned with the picture postcard in mind."
'AA Leisure Guide to the Yorkshire Dales' 2007
Researched by Clapham Village History Project
Creative North Craven
The performing arts play an important part in the culture of North Craven - past and present. The museum collections show how local people have preserved traditional forms of the arts - folk dance, seasonal celebrations and mumming.
In the 19th century there was a national revival of many of the traditional arts. In this area the much respected Dr Buck (a local doctor and a talented amateur musician) researched, recorded and encouraged the performance of songs, music and plays. Many churches also promoted traditional spring-time celebrations, to fit in with the Christian calendar.
"Dances from Yorkshire" collected locally by Leta Douglas in the 1930s and published by the English Folk Dance and Song Society as "Dances from the Yorkshire Dales". Played here by Jackie Fish on the accordian. Many thanks to Jackie and John for their work and for permission to feature them here: click on the link to play the song: Huntsman's Chorus (MP3, 11Mb); Buttered Peas (MP3, 9Mb); Brass Nuts (MP3, 7Mb);
In the twentieth century Yorkshire folk dances were collected by Leta Douglas and performed by her troupe of girls on summer tours of the Dales. They are lodged with the English Folk Dance and Song Society and still available today. Some of them have been revived by the Langcliffe Country Dancing group as a part of 'Archive Alive'.
Dr Buck helped to recreate interest in the tradition of mumming - popular short performances in the vein of pantomime with a list of stock characters and performed at Christmas and Easter (pace egg plays) in pubs, halls and houses. The Craven pace egg play of 'St George' was revived by him in 1894 and again by a group in Rathmell in 1947. The Dalesman magazine has perpetuated interest in mumming over the years by reporting on productions in the area.
The Ingleton Waterfalls Walk
There is a wealth of material in the museum collection, dating from 1870 onwards, written for visitors to Ingleton. This has inspired a project to research the history of the Waterfall walk and make a film about it.
Early guide books to Craven recommend a visit to the twin valleys of the Doe and the Twiss, promising a thrilling combination of a 'romantic dell', a 'frightful chasm' and 'curious caves and rocks' ('Yorkshire' J. Bigland 1815, J. Housman 'A Descriptive Tour and Guide to the Lakes, Caves, Mountains and Other Curiosities ...' 1800).
However it was not until a series of articles appeared in the Lancaster Guardian and the first guide book was published ("Rambles about Ingleton", 1865) both by Joseph Carr, that ideas were formulated to open the waterfall walk to the public. An Improvement Committee of local land owners and 'worthies' was formed in 1885 to make pathways more accessible and provide benches. Profits were also to have benefited the local community but ... numerous disputes over rights of way, entrance fees and routes over many decades meant that local people lost heart in the scheme and eventually it fell into to private hands. The right to free entrance for people from the village, which was strongly contested in the early days, does however still remain a benefit today.
"[between Pecca Falls and Thornton Force] Mrs Parker, wife of the Low Bentham postmaster in 1885 slipped and fell into the deep pool beneath and was drowned"
'Tramps and Drives in the Craven Highlands' Harry Speight 1895
Many thanks to Peter Rollinson and his Pioneer Project 'crew' from Bentham Looking Well for making the film.
"The Ingleton Waterfall Walk" film: The exhibition included a short film about the history of the Ingleton Waterfalls Walk, lasting about 6½ minutes. On this website, this is a 3-minute extract from the beginning of the film. The film was made for the exhibition by Peter Rollinson and his Pioneer Project 'crew' from Bentham Looking Well (http://www.pioneerprojects.org.uk/lookingwell.html). Many thanks to Peter Rollinson for providing the extract and permission to place the extract of the film on the Museum's website. The film & extract are copyright Peter Rollinson 2009. Extract: waterfall_video.flv (Flash video file/format, flv, 13.1Mb).
Image: Advertising poster from c. 1930: A Yorkshire Beauty Spot: Ingleton
Flowers of North Craven
The people of North Craven have never taken their environment for granted. For centuries, local botanists have been recording the occurrence of plants and, just as importantly, considering how the environment affects them.
The botanist John Windsor in his book 'Flora Cravoniensis' of 1878 describes the changes he has noted:
"I have found the aspect of the country - and I may add the localities of many plants - somewhat changed by the numerous alterations, inclosures, &c with have latterly taken place; and I may here especially mention the draining off and conversion, I suppose, into useful land, of Giggleswick Tarn, once so rich in plants ..."
J N Frankland noted more optimistically in the 20th century , how changes bring new plants to the area:
"...The number of species of plants growing in Craven today is probably much higher than it was in the 16th century...the main changes have been the gradual rise and spread of the modes of transport, especially the building of the railroads and the construction of the Leeds to Liverpool canal...these changes have enriched our flora considerably, for along these routes have come plants alien to the district."
'A Flora of Craven' compiled in the 1950s, published 2001
Bentham Looking Well Studio's Cancer Support Group have studied the popular meanings of different flowers - the 'language of flowers' and looked at Victorian flower arrangements. They have produced a book of paintings called "Peace Within" containing some of their favourite plants and flowers.
Traditionally different flowers have been given specific meanings, for example, a red rose means 'I love you', however, a yellow rose may signify jealousy. Great care should be taken, therefore, that the right message is sent when giving flowers to others! People from all walks of life have taken an interest in the botany of North Craven including William Kenyon, a nailmaker, of Settle; John Howson and John Windsor from Giggleswick school; Lister Rotheray, a wool-sorter who lived at Skipton and Long Preston; Reginald Farrer of Clapham and Dr Margaret Buckle, a teacher at Settle Girls' High School and fierce protector of the local environment and particularly of its flora.
Image: Painting of peonies, lilies and forget-me-nots by Anne Polkinghorne. These flowers signify a happy marriage, purity and memories.
The Dialect of North Craven
The museum's archive contains items relating to the dialect traditionally spoken in this area. These have inspired several different creative projects. The 'Doing Well' art group from Pioneer Projects (based at the Looking Well Studios in Bentham) have created an illustrated alphabet using the Glossary as inspiration. The 'Creative Group' of writers, also from Bentham, have made a game of 'Call My Bluff' with some of the more obscure words.
Two volumes of 'The Dialect of Craven ... with a Copious Glossary ...' written in 1828 list thousands of words, many of which nobody would recognise today. In his introduction the author gives his reasons for compiling the glossary: he wants those from outside Craven - 'outcumlins'- to respect the local dialect as a practical language, rather than laugh at it; he wants local people to take a pride in their own tongue rather than importing other 'outlandish' words:
"at they [outcumlins] may larn at our discowerse hes a meeanin in't as weel as theirs; at they mayn't snert an titter at huz, gin we wor hauf rocktons ... Sud t'lads o'Craven yunce git a gliff o'what a seet o'words I've coud togither, it'll happen mack 'em nut seea keen, at iv'ry like, o'luggin into'th' country a parcel of outlandish words, er seea shamm'd o' talking their awn."
William Carr 'The Dialect of Craven... with a Copious Glossary...' 1828
The glossary also includes an amusing fictional dialogue between 'Bridget and Farmer Giles' by way of illustrating the vocabulary in context. What better subject to demonstrate the colour of Yorkshire vocabulary than the weather ?! :
Interest in the the Yorkshire dialect continues, encouraged by projects such as BBC Voices (www.bbc.co.uk/northyorkshire/voices2005). However, the occurrence of very local accents is known to be dying out. I wonder if the difference between a Craven and a Richmond accent is still discernible as it was in Carr's day?
Tom Twisleton was a renowned local poet in the second half of the 19th Century. He grew up at Winskill Farm above Langcliffe. He chose to write about local people and places, and to write in the local dialect. Often his poems promoted 'temperance' (a sober life free of alcohol) and his poetry proved to be very popular; he sold thousands of books and gave many readings ('recitations'). Hellifield Book Club and Settle Middle School each looked at his poetry and produced poems of their own in response:
By the late 18th century, printing was an important trade in many small towns and Settle was no exception. Local printers spent much of their time producing items such as posters, advertisements, cards and billheads. Although these were originally intended to have only a short life, they now provide historians with a fascinating source of information.
This book belongs to...
Books can often tell us a lot about their owners! By looking at bindings, bookplates, inscriptions, notes on flyleaves and in margins we can find clues which add greatly to our knowledge of how books have been used and by whom.
At one level, bookplates can be straightforward labels of ownership with the basic purpose of reminding a borrower to return a book. Often however, the design and content of a bookplate can give an idea of the interests of an owner or where they live. Elaborate coats of arms and Latin mottoes can signal aristocratic connections and birds or animals a love of nature.
Inscriptions and Notes
Inscriptions can take the form of simple signatures or perhaps messages from a donor. They can provide information about the books being bought by a particular owner at a certain date, which can be of special interest to historians or biographers. Sometimes they can hint at hidden stories, as in the poignant message reproduced here. Handwritten notes on flyleaves or in margins made by owners or booksellers can add much to the value and interest of a book.