Tag Archives: Yorkshire Dales

Bradvent Calendar, part 2

Second round-up of the Special Collections Bradvent Calendar.  More info in our previous post.

Day 13

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Fishing by torchlight looks tricky!  Christmas card from Japan.  Mitrinovic Archive.

 Day 14

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Awe-inspiring scenery of Chamonix, from photograph album in the W. Riley Archive

Day 15

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Snow on houses, Richmond Road, during building of Main Building of University of Bradford, circa 1962, University Archive B3

Day 16

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Cycling Santa says giving gift tokens helps the war effort, 1941, Reynolds News

Day 17

Dales-born photographer Cherry Kearton and friend, Penguin Island

Dales-born photographer Cherry Kearton and friend, Penguin Island

Day 18

14 Bombing Days till Christmas.  The ICDP call for peace in Vietnam, 10 Decmber 1966

14 Bombing Days till Christmas. The ICDP call for peace in Vietnam, 10 December 1966

Day 19

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Ingleborough in the snow, cover of book by WR Mitchell

Day 20

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Bored on Christmas day?  The Doctor’s Visit, a compendium of old games, suggests   passing a lighted match around (Jack’s Alive!)

Day 21

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A quirky Sun for the winter solstice, detail from issue of Reason, 1964

Day 22

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Entertainment of … convalescent soldiers, Bradford Technical College, 22 December 1916

We’ll share Part 3 after the New Year!

 

“People before Things”: remembering Bill Mitchell (1928-2015)

Sad news: Bill Mitchell, journalist, historian and University of Bradford honorary graduate, died yesterday, aged 87.

wrp7 W R MitchellBill needs no introduction to anyone with an interest in the Yorkshire Dales: the first editor of the Dalesman Magazine and a prolific contributor to other journals, he wrote hundreds of books and articles about Dales people, landscape and wildlife.  Throughout his career he applied and often quoted the principle “People before things”, said to him by Dalesman founder Harry Scott in 1948.

Bill was a lovely person, with an incredible fund of engaging anecdotes and lively stories.  He will be much missed.

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Find out more about Bill’s life, works and archives:

Mitch_Ingleborough

Who (or What?) is Your Yorkshire Icon?

Our wonderful county of Yorkshire is an incredibly distinctive place,  full of amazing characters, stories, places, and food.  For its 75th anniversary, the Dalesman Magazine is asking people to vote for their Yorkshire icons, to choose the top 75.

Yorkshire sheep somewhere in the Dales, from the Butterfield photo archive.

Yorkshire sheep somewhere in the Dales, from the Butterfield photo archive.

As you might expect, many of the suggested icons have connections with the University, Bradford, or our collections.   For instance, The Dalesman and Bill Mitchell, Harold Wilson (our first Chancellor), J.B. Priestley and of course sheep and WOOL (which made Bradford and the University).

More to follow when the final 75 are revealed!

PS This covers the whole of Yorkshire, not just the Dales!

Welcoming Le Tour to Yorkshire!

Thrilled that the Tour de France is coming to Yorkshire for the first two stages in July 2014!  The route will take in iconic and difficult terrain near Bradford and in the Yorkshire Dales.  This image of cyclists on Kex Gill Pass during the 1930s gives a sense of the challenges to be faced, although we hope the weather will be slightly better for the Tour.

Cyclists in the snow, Kex Gill Pass near Blubberhouses, Yorkshire, by Fred Robinson Butterfield, 1930s

Cyclists in the snow, Kex Gill Pass near Blubberhouses, Yorkshire, by Fred Robinson Butterfield, 1930s

This photo was taken by keen cyclist Fred Butterfield: find out more about him and his fascinating Yorkshire photographs in this entry from our 100 Objects series.

Bradford University and the City have a long interest in cycling.   Like rambling, it has long been popular in this region, the closeness of incredible landscapes to Yorkshire’s industrial cities allowing workers and students to find themselves in rural and remote settings just a few minutes outside the urban bustle.   J.B. Priestley’s writings often show the value he and his contemporaries placed on the Dales as a place for freedom, beauty and adventure.

Here’s the Cycling Club on Richmond Road, just outside the University, in November 1968.  It looks rather chilly, and the accompanying news story observes that “the weather this term has not been favourable”, but “the more hardy members have been going out regularly each week”.

It might be cold, but notice the lack of cars on the road – bliss!

Bradford University Cycling Club outside the University about to set off for a Wednesday afternoon ride, from Javelin 28 November 1968.

The more hardy members of Bradford University Cycling Club, from Javelin 28 November 1968.

Cycling is still really popular at the University: if you’d like to know more, see the University Bicycle Users Group and the Cycling Club websites.

Yorkshire Dalesfolk – in their own words

Today sees the launch in lovely, snowy Settle of a most welcome project which will bring a wealth of historical information to new audiences.  W.R. (Bill) Mitchell, journalist and prolific author, has spent his life gathering and sharing stories of the people and creatures of the Yorkshire Dales, documented in books, articles, photographs and oral history cassettes.

W.R. 'Bill' Mitchell

W.R. ‘Bill’ Mitchell (from WR Mitchell Archive project website).

Led by Settle Stories and funded by the Heritage Lottery, the W.R. Mitchell Archive Project is digitising and cataloguing these cassettes (some of which are held in Special Collections at Bradford) to unlock their wonderful content, about farming, industry, nature and everyday life. Bill spoke to well-known Dalesfolk like Kit Calvert and Marie Hartley, and many many more.  His understanding of their shared landscape and his journalistic experience mean that the recordings bring out the full richness of these peoples’ lives and heritage.

For lots more detail about Bill Mitchell and the project, see the new project website which has just gone live.

Settle Stories – Help needed

I recently mentioned The Settle Stories project, which will digitise Bill Mitchell’s oral history interviews with Yorkshire Dalespeople.  The project is now calling for volunteers to help with this fascinating work.  Roles include admin, outreach, promotion via the web, helping with events, and transcription, background research etc.   Note that many activities do not require travel to Settle.  To find out more, see the documents attached below.

Information about Settle Stories project to digitise WR Mitchell audiocassettes

Volunteer Opportunities

Settle Stories

Readers who love the rich history and beauty of the Yorkshire Dales may be interested in a new project which has recently received Heritage Lottery Funding.  Settle Stories will digitise a large collection of audiocassettes documenting Dales writer and journalist Bill Mitchell’s interviews with Dales people, made during the 1980s and 90s.  Bill’s expertise and knowledge enabled him to get the most from his varied and fascinating speakers.   The project incorporates story-telling and work with schools.  There are many opportunities for volunteers to take part.  As home to the W.R. Mitchell Archive, which includes correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, ephemera and more cassettes,  Special Collections will work closely with this very welcome project.

Images of the Month: Three Yorkshire Romances

For Valentine’s Day, a trio of Yorkshire novels with bittersweet love stories at their heart.  Caution … spoilers!

Love on the Stage

Lost Empires

Lost Empires

This cover for a 1965 Popular Library paperback reprint of J.B. Priestley’s Lost Empires seems all wrong.  The novel is set in the music-hall world of 1913!  However,  more by accident than design (I doubt the designer read the book), the cover conveys a deeper truth about the story.  Like many of Priestley’s novels, which draw on the picaresque comic English tradition, it shows a young man – Richard Herncastle – facing difficulties but discovering wisdom, and love with the right woman. Lost Empires is more than a cosy nostalgia-fest though: the music-hall world is glittering, but sordid, and the hero faces betrayal and unhappiness.  Over it all is our knowledge, and Priestley’s, of the shadow of the Great War.

(The jacket refers to a major motion picture, which did not happen, but the 1986 Granada TV series was a wonderful adaptation, starring Colin Firth as Richard).

Love in the Dales

Olive of Sylcote

Olive of Sylcote

W. Riley’s delightful Yorkshire tales often feature romantic problems, which are happily resolved.  Here we meet Olive, who lives in Sylcote, a village in Nidderdale.  She looks rather glam, and is described as “a goddess come down to earth in the likeness of woman … she looked very cool and sweet”. Olive is torn between John, “a simple big-hearted fellow of her own county”, and Gordon, “a man from the town, with all the town’s allurements”.   I think we can guess how this will end, but the journey is interesting.  There is lots of detail about life in the Dales and insight into the Methodism that was so important to Riley.

Special Collections has copies of all Riley’s books, and his Archive.  We are helping to encourage interest in this long-neglected writer.  His first and most famous book, Windyridge, was recently reprinted – a delightful read.

Love and the Looms

The Price of Adventure by William Holt

The Price of Adventure by William Holt

The Price of Adventure (1934), by William Holt, is set in the Calder Valley in “Luddenbridge”.  It tells the story of the restless weaver Jack Coates, how he finds his way in life, and his relationship with Victoria Marle.  The striking cover design, I think, relates to the couple’s (platonic) running away together to Spain, which contrasts with the milltown setting of the rest of the book.

Special Collections has (as far as I know) nothing else about this intriguing Communist writer and artist, who apparently had many different jobs, founded a mobile library, and was filmed in later life travelling round Europe on a rescue horse called Trigger .  A flavour of his extraordinary life can be found on his  Wikipedia entry.  He seems to be well remembered as a local character in Hebden Bridge and Todmorden.


Windyridge on the Web

I am delighted to announce a new website devoted to Willie Riley, author of Windyridge and other popular tales of Yorkshire life.   The site was created by David Copeland, who has studied and written extensively about Riley for over 20 years, recently completing an M.Phil at the University of Bradford on his life, works, and legacy: “From Bradford Moor to Silver Dale”.  The website includes some of David’s key discoveries,  including a detailed account of Riley’s fascinating life, a bibliography, and photographs.  Riley’s Archive, much of it unearthed by David during his researches, is being donated to Special Collections at the University of Bradford.

Images of the Month: le Tour de Yorkshire (via Cambridge)

As July is the month of the Tour De France, a selection of photographs with a bicycling theme for you to enjoy.

Bicycles in the bleak midwinter

Cyclists on a snowy day at Kex Gill Pass, Blubberhouses. Brr! The photo comes from a wonderful album of photographs of the Yorkshire Dales, taken by keen cyclist and photographer Frederick Robinson Butterfield during the 1930s on days out in the Yorkshire Dales.

The Hopkins family plus bicycle

A bicycle takes pride of place in this photo, in the Hopkins family garden in Cambridge circa 1912. Jacquetta Hopkins (later Hawkes) is in front, with her siblings Frederick and Barbara behind. We do not know who the smaller boy was. This image is one of a new batch of Hopkins photographs just received from a family member, many showing Jacquetta as a cute but determined toddler.

Trying out electric bicycles

And finally, a favourite from the University Archive: the Department of Mechanical Engineering with innovative electric bicycles in 1982.