Dales farmer Hannah Hauxwell's letters and photos to go on display in new exhibition

Fans of 'daughter of the Dales' and unlikely TV star Hannah Hauxwell will be able to view her personal correspondence as part of an exhibition about her life.

Hannah lived in spartan conditions
Hannah lived in spartan conditions

Hannah, who died in 2018, became globally famous after she featured in a Yorkshire Television documentary, Too Long a Winter, about her austere and solitary life farming in one of the most remote parts of the North Pennines.

Hannah Hauxwell's hand-stitched quilts are up for auctionHannah, who never married, took over an isolated smallholding from her parents and lived there for most of her life before retiring to a cottage in nearby Cotherstone in her 60s. Viewers were touched by her resolve and cheerfulness as she endured Victorian conditions - her home, Low Birk Hatt Farm, had no running water or electricity and she could go weeks without speaking to another person.

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Hannah was seen as a throwback to another age, and she acquired a global following after the programme was broadcast in the US.

Hannah endured harsh winters in Baldersdale

Now the Fitzhugh Library in Middleton-in-Teesdale is staging an exhibition of Hannah's personal effects, including letters, photos, farm receipts and birthday cards that span four generations of the Hauxwell family.

Watch the bleak 1970s documentary that turned Hannah Hauxwell into a household nameHannah was a notoriously private person, but the writings will show her 'personal side' as well as providing a fascinating insight into life in remote Dales communities in the 20th century.

A friend of Hannah who was tasked with disposing of her estate donated the items to the library.

Included in the collection is a letter written in 1939 by a relative who had walked from Baldersdale to Barnard Castle to visit the local newspaper offices and find out if war had been declared.

Hannah lived in an isolated farmhouse

Others make references to tank movements nearby and the London Blitz.

The exhibition will take place from September 13-17 and the library is open on Monday and Tuesday from 10.30am-2.30pm.

The Yorkshire farmer famous for her self-sufficient frugality

Hannah Hauxwell, who died aged 91, first became well-known when she was interviewed by the Yorkshire Post in 1970 about her yearly budget of just £170. She had inherited her parents' farm, Low Birk Hatt in a North Pennine village called Baldersdale, when she was 34.

Hannah Hauxwell is laid to rest at emotional funeral serviceShe had no electricity or running water, and tended her small herd of cattle in ragged clothing when temperatures were below freezing.

Yorkshire Television later made a documentary about her called Too Long a Winter, which chronicled her struggle to survive in the harsh Pennine winters. The series was well-received, and a local factory even raised money to have the farm connected to a power supply.

Film crews returned for a follow-up series two decades later, and documented Hannah's decision to sell the farm and move into a nearby cottage when her health began to fail.

Future TV appearances even showed her visiting Europe and the US for the first time.

Hannah was a natural in front of the cameras, unaffectedly discussing privations such as a cow pail she used as a bath and bread deliveries which were left at a gate three fields away. She drank from a stream.

This is what Hannah Hauxwell's old farmhouse looks like today following stunning renovationHer story of drinking a pint of warm milk in a byre and snuggling up beside her favourite cow for warmth during a particularly cold night touched the nation's hearts.

Hannah's Victorian world, still lit by oil lamps, seems barely credible to a modern audience, and it's difficult to believe she lived in such poverty only 40 years ago.

She was in her 60s when she sold up in 1988 to a couple who have renovated the farmhouse extensively. Her retirement cottage in Cotherstone was also sold after her death.

The site is part of the old North Riding of Yorkshire - dubbed 'England's last wilderness' - but administrative changes have seen it since become part of County Durham.