One of the largest parts of the Every Barn project has been to create new exhibition panels for the Keld Resource Centre. We’re pleased to say that these are now ready to be installed – along with a built-in audio player so we can share some of the voices of the people who have taken part in the project. The interior of the main exhibition room has been fitted out like a cow byre so the panels will work perfectly in the space.
Each panel covers a different aspect of the project, from the historical origins of the unique barns and walls landscape to the Muker Barns restoration project that has been running parallel to the Every Barn project.
We’ve already shared some of the wonderful family photos that local people have let us scan for the project, here on this blog. We’ve now found a whole load more evocative old photos in the collections at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes. Not all of them come from Swaledale but they are pretty special as some are really early. Here are some of the the highlights. Firstly some dairying pics, probably from Wensleydale.
And next, some haymaking images, some we know are from Swaledale, others may be from Wensleydale or elsewhere in the Yorkshire Dales:
The ‘Art Barn’ part of the Every Barn project is in the hands of Yorkshire Dales-based artist Helen Peyton. Local charity, the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust has generously funded her to produce a piece of work that we can reproduce on items such as tea towels, tote bags and mugs. We will be offering these to local visitor businesses in the first instance but would like eventually to be able to sell Art Barn souvenirs to help raise money to preserve Swaledale cowhouses into the future.
Helen has been out and about looking for inspiration and she has just sent us this update and photos:
“As you drive over the pass at Buttertubs into Swaledale, it has to be one of the finest views in the whole of the Yorkshire Dales and I am one of the luckiest people because I have been invited by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to make artwork linked to the cowhouses in Swaledale and the project Every Barn Tells a Story.
I start as I always do with any artwork at the museums; my linocuts are based on their collections. I am fascinated by why we collect objects, how our memory and emotions can be linked to them. The stories behind a museum artefact give us a wonderful base to understanding an area, its diversity and traditions.
My first visits were to Keld Resource Centre, Swaledale Museum in Reeth and the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes and between them the wealth of information is captivating. To start with, everything is interesting or beautiful and would make a lovely linocut and I think it is the trickiest aspect of any commission, isolating your interests and just settling on one thing. Immediately I am attracted to cheese and butter production and in particular the butter marks or moulds that imprint a decorative pattern onto the surface, these are particularly pleasing as a printmaker to find something so charming and intricate, similar to the way I cut wood or lino for printing.
Another interest lies in the old packaging, posters and maps from the area…
Watch this space to see which I select to develop into linocuts or letterpress.”
We went along to a rather special event in Keld last week celebrating the end of the community effort to develop Keld Resource Centre, with the official opening of its new meeting and exhibition space on the upper floor.
Ernest Whitehead cuts the ribbon outside Keld Resource Centre 28 April 2017
We’ve already made great use of the room for the Every Barn project and can thoroughly recommend it.
The event started off in Keld Chapel and we were fascinated to hear about the chapel’s origins. There’s apparently been a chapel on the site since at least the 1540s, which ended up being wrecked during a riot in the seventeenth century. A poem found years later suggested that this was sparked by a stranger looking for someone to sell him a calf in the chapel:
“There was a man that stood up in the place Where he had sate, and did proclaim ‘Oyez! Oyez! I want a calf, if any here Can give me notice of one, far or near, I duly will his labour recompense And will for his trouble give him twopence'”
Extract from papers belonging to Anthony Clarkson of Smithyholme who died in 1857
The chapel was eventually rebuilt in 1789 for the preacher Edward Stillman who up to that point had been preaching in local barns and people’s houses.
It just goes to show the part that cattle and the cowhouses have played for centuries in this part of the world! Read more on the Keld Resource Centre website