Our programme of evening talks began on September 20th 2017.
We were very pleased to welcome back Ian Carradice, who gave 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 next event is our annual exhibition on 14th and 15th October in High Chapel from 2pm to 5pm each day. It will feature some of the old maps of the Parish and sales prospectuses which we hold, including a bound copy of the first Ordnance Survey maps from 1859, kindly 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 will be on show too. The four millennium embroideries held at St Oswald’s, High Chapel, Low Chapel and Newbiggin Chapel feature embroidered signatures of all the Ravenstonedale school pupils at that time – we’d love to meet you if you signed those! And we’ll also be exhibiting a tea towel for the first time (!) – do come and see why…As ever, we need help with putting names to faces in school yearbooks and photographs….Entrance to the exhibition is free but a charge will be made for refreshments.
The next evening talk is on Wednesday 18th October in Newbiggin Village Hall at 7.30pm and is a talk by John Dunning on the story of Westmorland Motorway Services, which all began with Tebay and has grown from there.
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 the evening talk on 17th January 2018 will now be Newbiggin Village Hall and the talk on 21st March 2018 will now be in High Chapel. This is a change from the venues shown in the newsletter.
Over the summer we have organised several events.
On Friday 1st September eleven members of the History Group visited the Swaledale Museum in Reeth, where the Curator Helen Bainbridge gave us insights as to how we could best reorganise our ever-growing archive to make it more easily accessible to members and researchers, particularly those interested in their ancestral ties to the Parish. We are also discovering families who migrated in the past between Swaledale, Arkengarthdale and the Eden Valley (nowadays linked by the spectacular route from Kirkby Stephen through Nateby). We can thoroughly recommend a visit to the Museum – probably more than one as there is so much to take in! Their website is at http://www.swaledalemuseum.org/index.html
The History Group AGM was held on Wednesday 17th May 2017 at 7.30pm. Our thanks to all the members who attended. Our Treasurer and Membership Secretary who has filled these roles since the Group began is now standing down. We are very pleased that we have had a volunteer (yes really!) to join the committee and details of the new committee and their responsibilities will be in the Newsletter.
On Thursday 22nd June, some members of Hesket Local History Group visited Ravenstonedale for a walk around the village, similar to the walk we organised for Shap Local History Society last year. We visited the Church and the Coldbeck area before returning along High Dykes to Townend, and then walked up the hill past Low Chapel to High Chapel. Three members of our committee kindly shared their local knowledge about the buildings and the history of this part of the village and it was much appreciated by the visitors, and some local people who joined the walk.
Four Ravenstonedale village gardens, the allotments and the Kilnmire traditional haymeadows (as pictured in High Chapel) were open for the National Garden Scheme over the weekend of 1st and 2nd July. The History Group put on an exhibition of photographs of Parish Gardens Past and Present in High Chapel, where the refreshments were on sale between 11am and 5pm each day. The exhibition showed photos and plans of former Victorian Parish gardens, as well as photos taken during Parish “garden trails” in the early 2000’s which raised funds for St Oswald’s Church. There was also a display about the history of Tarn Gill Bridge (aka Chantry Bridge) and the History Group’s contribution to the Friends’ ongoing efforts to save the bridge from demolition. Some folders featuring previous Local History exhibitions were also on display.
The NGS opening raised over £2500 for the various nursing, medical and carers’ charities which are supported, and this includes over £700 takings from the excellent teas, coffees and cakes served in High Chapel co-ordinated by the High Chapel Community and Heritage Centre Committee. 50% of the refreshments takings goes to High Chapel and 50% to the NGS for their charities.
On Wednesday 19th July, eight History Group members enjoyed a guided walk around Shap by kind invitation of Shap Local History Society. Arriving in a torrential downpour, we sought refuge in the Heritage Centre where we were given an introductory talk by Jean Scott-Smith. When the rain stopped, we visited the church and walked around the village, noting the different styles of architecture and hearing about aspects of life in Shap from pre-history onwards…ending up back at the Heritage Centre for delicious homemade scones and cake! Our thanks to Jean and to Liz for their hospitality.
Last year’s exhibition entitled The Three Parish Schools – or is it Four? on 8th and 9th October 2016 was a great success – over 100 people attended over the two days and we were very pleased to welcome former pupils from Ravenstonedale, Newbiggin-on-Lune and Fell End Schools who were able to help us identify many of the pupils in the school photographs we have been given. Our thanks to everyone who lent or donated items for the exhibition – we are particularly pleased to have been able to show the cast-iron fireguard which stood round the stove in Fell End Schoolroom to one of the former pupils who used to stand next to it to keep warm during the 1940’s when she attended the school from the age of 5.
The first evening meeting of last season was on Wednesday 21st September 2016, Continue Reading →