Old photographs

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:

Yorkshire Film Archive visit

A major part of the Every Barn Tells a Story project is the production of videos recording the best memories and some of the history of the cowhouses around Muker parish. We have already appointed a film maker to help our in house staff and they have been out and about capturing the glory of the haymeadows before the rain set in.

Yesterday we travelled over to York to visit the team at the Yorkshire Film Archive to have a look through some of their footage with a view to incorporating archive clips into our own footage.

We’d already viewed a film in the collection called Dale Days online here . This was filmed in 1940 by Charles Chislett and shows a group of four children on an idyllic holiday in the Yorkshire Dales. They seem to have been based in Bainbridge in Wensleydale, but make at least one trip over the Buttertubs Pass into Swaledale. We loved this clip of a farmer carrying a rather heavy backcan full of milk up Hunger Hill, Faw Head, near Gayle in Wensleydale.

Screenshot from Yorkshire Film Archive website

Later on there is a long sequence showing a farmer handmilking Northern Dairy Shorthorns in a cowhouse and then following the milk in churns to the creamery in Hawes where it is made into cheese. Scenes that would all have been very familiar to our farmers in Swaledale in the 1940s.

We also saw some superb sequences of early haymaking in the Dales including some on original film stock from an old collection which we have arranged to have digitised for the project. All very exciting, so a big thank you to Graham Railton and the team at the YFA.

Early tourism and local milk

We had a look round the little village of Thwaite last week. It features on one of our trails and we wanted to check out how many agricultural buildings you walked past on the proposed route. This little cow’us caught our eye, right beside the roadside.

Painted milk sign, Thwaite

We assume that in days gone by, tourists staying perhaps at local campsites, could call into the farm here and buy milk fresh from the cow. Those were the days!

We also love this little anecdote (there is a well-known campsite at Usha Gap farm):

“The stories used to be…if a young farm lad had had a rough night, the night before, hard work getting up, but get up, go out into the warm [in the cow’uss], get his head into a cow, sat on a stool milking, able to nod off again…just milking the cow, the warmth of the cow”

Annas Metcalfe (73) of Usha Gap Farm