20th May 2016
Our programme of evening talks began on September 20th 2017.
Our latest talk held on Wednesday 17th January 2018 was Val Fermer’s entertaining and informative look at the history of the licenced premises in the Parish. Despite the snowy weather, over 20 members and friends came to Newbiggin Public Hall to hear about the former establishments in Newbiggin, which over the years changed their names several times – being known variously as The Oddfellows, The Horseshoes, The Pig and Whistle and The Commercial Inn. Some of the current and former public houses in Ravenstonedale village and nearby had been temperance houses and coffee houses at various times in their past, and we were also treated to stories about the families of the numerous innkeepers and their customers, which included a dramatic elopement to Gretna Green, duly celebrated by the happy couple in one of the pubs on their return to the village.
For our first evening talk of the 2017-2018 programme on 20th September 2017 we were very pleased to welcome back Ian Carradice, who gave us glimpses of life in Ravenstonedale – and the wider world – from about 1905 to 1920, seen through the picture postcard album of his grandmother, Lizzie Fothergill, who lived at Wray Green, Fell End. Sometimes the interest in such albums comes from what is written on the postcards, not just the scenes depicted on the front, although some postcards were made from family portraits and photographs, which is fascinating from the point of view of family history research. Lizzie’s family were keen correspondents – as Ian pointed out, a postcard then was perhaps the equivalent of a text message sent now – but of course it’s available to future generations to study and learn about the day-to-day life of their ancestors…obsessions with health and haymaking were evident among the Fothergills which no doubt reflected common topics of conversation and concern (as in Ravenstonedale nowadays too!). It was a super talk – even though Ian pointed out it is a “work in progress” as he follows up all the leads – and we wonder how many of the audience went home and searched out their own family postcard albums to take out the cards and discover the messages hidden inside…
Our annual exhibition on 14th and 15th October in High Chapel from 2pm to 5pm each day featured some of the old maps of the Parish and sales prospectuses which we hold, including a bound copy of the first Ordnance Survey maps of the Parish dating from 1859, donated to the History Group earlier this year. More of our photographic archive relating to Parish gardens past and present, and more of the history of Ravenstonedale School – photos and yearbooks from around 2000-2001 – were on show too, as well as the story of how the Parish Millennium Map was created.
The evening talk on Wednesday 18th October in Newbiggin Village Hall at 7.30pm by John Dunning told the story of Westmorland Motorway Services which he and his family started when some of their farmland was compulsorily purchased to build the M6 motorway through the Lune Gorge. None of the usual motorway services providers were interested in building a service station between Lancaster and Carlisle (“not enough people would use it”), so the Dunnings decided they would start their own. Now as well as the two at Tebay, they own and run Rheged and the two Gloucester services on the M5 and have expanded into the Borders as well. All in all, a fascinating talk.
On 15th November Andy Lowe returned to give us another of his popular talks – this time entitled “Inside a Lakeland Farmhouse”. He showed us how much can be learned from clues inside these houses to do with methods of construction, those who lived there and their daily life, superstition, and social change. For instance, it was interesting to discover that the saying “a square peg in a round hole” was originally a good thing, not a misfit, as a square wooden peg in a round hole to fix two pieces of wood together would grip better than a round peg in a round hole. Of course there are examples of these 17th and 18th century houses and barns around our Parish too, and we hope to fix up an evening walk around some of them with Andy next summer. Keep an eye on the website for details.
On Wednesday 13th December at 7.30pm in High Chapel we held our annual Christmas get-together with a Quiz. Dave’s Quiz this time was an Eggheads inspired list of multiple choice questions on the Lakes and Dales, followed by the killer Sudden Death questions (no choices) to sort out any ties between the teams….all did very well with the winners scoring an impressive 29 out of 40. Thanks to Bill for his keyboard accompaniment to our carol-singing and to Ann for her decorations.
Our annual Ravenstonedale Parish History Group newsletter was published in early September and emailed to all members. Members who do not have access to email receive a copy in the post. Please note that the venue for Les Neal’s talk on 21st March 2018 will now be in High Chapel. This is a change from the venue shown in the newsletter.
Over the summer we have organised several events. Continue Reading →