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Industrial past of the Dales goes on record

A view across the magnificent landscape of the Yorkshire Dales National Park taken from Winskill Stone which is a 74-acre area of limestone grassland and limestone pavement.
A view across the magnificent landscape of the Yorkshire Dales National Park taken from Winskill Stone which is a 74-acre area of limestone grassland and limestone pavement.

THE DALES is known worldwide for its fabulous landscape, but a new project is shedding light on its industrial past.

Memories and stories of the often-forgotten history of mining and quarrying in the Ingleborough area have all been uncovered.

Quarry Tales: Ingleborough Dales is an oral history project that has been recording the memories of those involved in the quarrying industry, from the ups and downs of strikes, to mechanisation and expansion and company changes.

The personal experiences of the story tellers give a glimpse into quarry communities that are still a part of the past and present.

All recordings will be deposited in the British Library to form part of a nationally important oral history collection which can be accessed by anyone in years to come.

The minerals of the Yorkshire Dales have provided generations with work. Starting in Roman times, in the 18th and 19th centuries the area was one of the
main lead mining areas in the country.

Coal was also mined for heating homes, lime kilns and lead smelt mills while quarried limestone has built houses for centuries.
It is now used for road building and the construction industry.

One of the largest areas of limestone in the UK is found in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, near Malham and Ingleton.

The project, by Quarry Arts, follows a similar successful one in Clitheroe in Lancashire.

Bobbie Millar, Quarry Arts director, said: “Our aim is to collect as wide a range of memories as we can – not just those of former and current workers in the quarrying industry, but those affected by it, their families and local residents.

“There is very little oral history on quarrying, that is why we wanted to do it. It is an extremely important part of history.”

Quarry Tales: Ingleborough Dales forms part of Stories in Stone, a scheme of conservation and community projects concentrated on the Ingleborough area. It was developed by the Ingleborough Dales Landscape Partnership, led by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project will also look at specialist language used in the local industry so it can be compared to elsewhere.

To get a glimpse into the quarry communities the team have talked to professionals, historians, the national park and campaign groups.

They have also been working with schools across the Ingleborough Dales. Through a series of art-based activities, children are encouraged to discuss the quarrying process, its importance and the issues surrounding it, especially in the Yorkshire Dales. The children also took part in a question and answer session with a representative from the quarrying industry, former quarry workers or campaign groups.

Quarry Arts will hold feedback events on January 22 in Ingleborough Community Centre and in Horton-in-Ribblesdale on January 25, both at 7pm. Email office@quarryarts to attend.