Historic Garsdale to Hawes railway line book restored

From left, museum staff Audrey Thwaite, appeal organiser Ruth Annison, and conservators Pamela and Stephen Allen.

A huge book containing the original 1870s drawings for the now closed Garsdale-Hawes branch line has been restored.

The work on the book produced by the Midland Railway has been carried out with support from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF).

The Book of Bridges, as it is known, is more than two feet high and a yard wide.

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The pages have been cleaned one at a time and a full restoration carried out by paper conservators Stephen and Pamela Allen from Durham.

Mr Allen gave an illustrated talk last month about the project at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes, where the book is kept.

The SDF granted £1000 to the project, roughly a third of the total needed, with the remainder coming from a public appeal and parish council donations.

Appeal organiser Ruth Annison said: “These are the original drawings for the Garsdale to Hawes branch line and we are very privileged that they have survived.  It’s nice to see an old book looking good again.

“Stephen and Pamela Allen have done a superb restoration job and I would like to thank them and all the donors, including the Sustainable Development Fund, as well as the staff at the Dales Countryside Museum.”

This year is the 140th anniversary of the opening – in 1878 – of the six-mile Garsdale to Hawes line.

Museum manager Fiona Rosher said: “The Book of Bridges is a detailed structural design manual for the Garsdale to Hawes line and so it is of strong local interest.

“It’s great that this important document has been conserved.”

Each page of the book has been digitally scanned.

These scans will be printed and made available to view at the Dales Countryside Museum.

The book itself will be made available only for specialist research.