We are delighted to announce that the Archive of Willie Riley is now catalogued and available to readers. The Archive is rich in detail about 19th and 20th century Bradford and district, Lancashire, Methodism, and the life of a professional author. We have already seen glimpses of the stories it has to tell e.g. Three Yorkshire Romances, Sweet Memories of Chamonix.
Willie Riley was born in Bradford in 1866. After a business career involving wool and magic lanterns in particular, he turned to authorship, writing the delightful Yorkshire tale Windyridge to entertain friends who had recently been bereaved. It was a great best-seller, leaving its traces in the names of houses across Yorkshire. Riley followed it up with over 30 other books, characterised by his love of Yorkshire, his ability to tell a good story, and his religious faith. He lived in Silverdale, Lancashire for the latter part of his life: he died in 1961. He fell out of fashion recently and was almost forgotten even in Yorkshire. However he is now being revived and Windyridge is back in print!
The Archive catalogue and more information about Riley can be found on the Archive webpage. The website created by Riley fan and scholar David Copeland is also packed with useful detail about this intriguing writer.
Sadly a few items in the Archive were badly water damaged during their history and are too fragile to make available without further treatment. But everything else is freely available … please contact us if you would like to use it.