Art up close: 600 years of pressing the flesh

The word “flesh” can conjure a variety of images. Whether human, animal or vegetable, alive or dead, beautiful, ugly, shocking or sensual, flesh provokes a reaction, so it is not surprising that artists over the centuries have drawn inspiration from it and the latest exhibition at York Art Gallery explores this response in a fascinating, thoughtful way.

Bill Watkins inside his museum

Never fade away: Hull singing star the world forgot

He turned down Hollywood so he could stay in Hull: there was nothing conventional about David Whitfield’s singing career. On a quiet suburban street, away from the UK City of Culture buzz (and the fascinating Festival of Roadworks), Bill Wilkins unlocks the door of his garage extension and stands back to let me take in the David Whitfield Museum. It’s astonishing. Practically every square inch is crammed with mementoes and memories of Whitfield, the singer whose biggest hit, Cara Mia, sold 2.5 million copies in 1954.

Ian Sargent in the Vineyard. Picture by Simon Hulme

Say cheers to red wine from white rosé county

It’s a few days before the first harvest of the year at Laurel Vines and Ian Sargent is surveying what looks likely to be a bumper crop. By the end of the month he hopes that around 6,000 tonnes of grapes will be on their way to becoming wine – that’s 2,000 tonnes more than last year – and among them will be the grapes for the company’s first ever red.

Dr Peter Addyman at his home in  York

The Chart Show: Mapping 2,000 years of York’s history

The man who’s been called “Mr Jorvik” leads me to the end of the smart York street where he lives. “This is a good example of the layers of history we have in York,” he says. “We’re on the edge of a Roman road, above a Roman cemetery; there are multiple Romans six or eight feet down over there. Over to the right is the site of a cock-fighting pit, and here’s the birthplace of Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree, the great industrialist and social reformer. Look...”

One of Mister Finch's trademark hares.

Hare today, gone tomorrow: The age of the internet artist

The internet has revolutionised the lives of artists and makers who can now showcase their work without moving from their back bedroom. It can also spare them the agony of touting their wares around galleries. Still, there are obstacles.

Bill Mitchell at his home in Settle, in 2012. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

The ultimate Dalesman: Bill Mitchell’s Yorkshire

Few have written more words about Yorkshire than WR Mitchell. Known to most as Bill, aside from his 40-year career on The Dalesman, which he joined in 1949, he published more than 200 books, wrote innumerable articles and gave countless lectures.


Video exclusive: Alan Bennett reads from his new volume of diaries

FOUR premieres at the National Theatre, a West End double-bill transfer and two movies would be more than a lifetime’s work for most writers, but Alan Bennett managed them all in a single decade.

Dixe Wills says St Mary's at Lead cuts a rather Eeyore-like figure.

Small mercies: Inside Yorkshire’s tiniest churches

Dixe Wills is one of those people who believes that small is beautiful.

Clotted cream, raspberry jam and scone.
 Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Which clotted cream tea is best: Devon or Cornwall? Neither - it’s Yorkshire’s

Afternoon tea is a quintessentially English affair and our hunger for this treat is on the increase. At Bettys’ six tea rooms across the county, 99,000 traditional afternoon teas are sold every year, plus an extra 22,000 of the recently launched Lady Betty Afternoon Teas at Harrogate and York. And what would an afternoon tea be without scones and lashings of indulgent clotted cream?

Joevanka Gregory hard at work at Creative with Nature in Todmorden

Bobbing and weaving with willow

Bending and weaving slender stems of willow doesn’t appear to be a physical job, but Joevanka Gregory is proof that it requires brute force. She is tiny, less than 5ft tall, but her upper body strength is equal to that of most men. “Willow weaving was men’s work historically,” says Joevanka, whose shop and studio is in the centre of Todmorden.

Manager at Jumbo Records, Adam Gillison, with Rod Stewart's 'Every Picture tells a Story'. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

It’s a (45rpm) record: 45 years of Jumbo in Leeds

THROUGHOUT THE past four-and-a-half decades, it has been a flag bearer for Leeds’s independent music scene.

Music 1
Thomas Hezekiah Goode, outside his shop on Abbeydale Road

Portrait of city: Exhibition shines spotlight on the many nationalities which make-up Sheffield

Frenchwoman Magali Fleurot admits she was “a little bit apprehensive” back in 1998 when she was told that her student placement across the Channel would be in Sheffield. “People said: ‘I’m sorry... but you’ll be all right’,” she says. “People have an assumption about the north of England, that it’s all grim...” In the event, she found Sheffield, and the rest of South Yorkshire, “a wonderful shock to the system” and has settled there. Why? “It’s the ‘You all right, love?’, the ‘Ay up sweetheart’, the amazing countryside, the freedom to be who you are without being judged, and most importantly, the people. Nowhere else have I come across such welcoming and kind people; they take you under their wing. My bus journeys are always full of nattering.”

Sculptor Brendan Hesmondhalgh in his studio at Bottoms Hill, Holmfirth. Picture by Simon Hulme

Beauty of the beast: The sculptor conjuring mammals from memory

A rotund, black pig sits at the door apparently enjoying the breeze on her leathery skin. Inside, several gnarly toads observe each other from their respective plinths while, across the room, a whippet offers his long nose to the air, eyes squinting in that attitude of self-satisfaction typical to sighthounds. The first surprise on visiting Brendan Hesmondhalgh’s Holmfirth workshop is that these sculptures, so expressive of their living inspirations, are made entirely from memory.

Big Lad with Manor Lodge farm ranger Ethel Worthington. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Fundraising drive launched as illness fells Sheffield’s Big Lad

HE HAS pulled his weight for years in the grounds of a former Tudor estate in South Yorkshire. But the keepers of a shire horse called Big Lad are now appealing for others to take up the slack.

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Embroiders work on the Battle of Stamford Bridge Tapestry, at the Community Centre, Stamford Bridge, York. Picture by Simon Hulme

Woven into history: Yorkshire’s answer to the Bayeux Tapestry

So the story goes, the Bayeux Tapestry was commissioned and created in a royal court by a French queen and her ladies in waiting. Yorkshire’s version has less regal origins, but it’s no less an epic undertaking. Stretching over 12 panels, each one 3ft in length, the Stamford Bridge Tapestry tells the story of the largely forgotten battle of 1066, but with a few modern additions. “If you look ever so closely you’ll see the odd soldier holding a mobile phone or an iPad,” says Chris Rock, chairman of the Battle of Stamford Bridge Society who has used his skills as a graphic designer to create the blueprint for the tapestry. “I wanted to inject a bit of humour into it.”

Mark Bennett at  Woodlark in Malton amongst wood 'drying in the stick' for years  including  burr maple, quilted willow, burr oak and silver birch

Sawdust and magic

Some people lose themselves in the woods, but Mark Bennett found himself in wood. At the age of 46, Mark is a cabinet-maker from Malton who has an artistic way with local wood, using traditional techniques as he saws, carves and joins. If a tree comes down in your garden and you want something made from the fallen trunk, Mark is your man. Visit him today in his workshop and Mark seems at peace in his world. He spends hours by himself each day in what was once a Jacobean stable, with only the radio for company. And all that wood.

Phil Clayton with the Yorkshire Mill Sourdough after being turned out of the ovens. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

Our daily bread: A slice of life for the sourdough boys

It’s early morning at the aptly named Hill Top Farm at Spaunton, near Kirkbymoorside. Beneath a low drizzly cloud, a small field of Paragon spring wheat slowly emerges. It’s still ripening, but when it is finally harvested it is destined for an organic flour mill just a few hundred metres away. Keeping a weather eye on the wheat and hoping for an extended spell of sunshine is farmer and miller Philip Trevelyan, of Yorkshire Organic Millers. He produces organic lamb and small amounts of cereals, including organic wheat grown on the farm since 1975 and milled on the premises since 2005. Other wheat milled by Philip comes from organic suppliers within a 30-mile radius in North and East Yorkshire, at Driffield, Pickering and Whitby.

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Ray Matthews with his wife Maureen after he has finished his 75th marathon at Newman School. Picture: Andrew Roe

Ray, 75, rises to marathon challenge - so what does Facebook know anyway?

A pensioner who successfully completed 75 marathons in as many days at age of 75 has managed to disprove Facebook after the social media giant’s staff said his target was too “unrealistic”.

News 1
Ashley Flay who is raising the awareness of the dangers of asthma, after the death of his younger brother Jack Bairstow. ..Picture by Simon Hulme.

Family determined to raise asthma awareness after loss of 16-year-old Jack

JACK BAIRSTOW’s family had known for several years that he suffered with asthma.

Simon Cockerill (left) with Mark Lockwood, from Westfield House Farm, Wold Newton, Driffield, in a field of barley

The beer they’re drinking faster than we can brew it

One of the newest enterprises on the Yorkshire brewing scene has “bottled out” of one potentially lucrative branch of its business. At least so far, because at the time of writing, you can enjoy the result of their labours only by searching them out in a cask in a pub. The bottles for 1883 Best Bitter, 86 Golden and 84 Indian are all stacked up and ready to be filled. The labels are printed and waiting. The orders are coming in. So what is the problem?

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