Hawes exhibition celebrates groundbreaking Dales history book

Joan Ingilby (seated) with Marie Hartley in their work room.

A new exhibition opening at the Dales Countryside Museum (DCM) in Hawes celebrates a book which ‘just in the nick of time’ recorded the traditional ways of life in the Yorkshire Dales.

Marie Hartley and Joan Ingilby’s groundbreaking work, Life and Tradition in the Yorkshire Dales, was published 50 years ago – and the exhibition reveals how it was researched and written.

On display are photographs and objects from the DCM collection, as well as items from the Marie Hartley archive brought from Leeds University Special Collections.

The exhibition is part of a wider project involving a programme of walks, talks demonstrations and workshops, and the re-issuing of the book by the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society.

It will run from Easter Sunday on 1 April to Tuesday 3 July.

“For those of us who work to conserve and interpret the cultural heritage of the Dales, Life and Tradition is our bible,” said DCM manager, Fiona Rosher.

“Its 50th anniversary deserves celebrating because the book is a unique chronicle of a centuries-old way of life which has now disappeared. As Marie Hartley and Joan Ingilby wrote, they carried out their research ‘just and only just in the nick of time’.

“Marie and Joan founded DCM, and many of the artefacts held here at the museum are illustrated or described within the book. We would like to use the 50th anniversary of its publication to inspire people to start engaging actively with their local heritage – and recording what they find out.”

Life and Tradition in the Yorkshire Dales covers topics such as dairy work, farm buildings and implements, sheep, peat-cutting, hay-making, thatching and sport and games. Tools and objects used in these activities are on display, alongside the photographs the authors took of local people at work.