While plans are developing to create a heritage centre displaying memorabilia and archives from Northallerton Prison at the former jail site, Hambleton District Council’s scrutiny committee heard support for a move to instead create a museum elsewhere in the town.
Members were told the district’s other market towns all benefited from their heritage, with links to Captain Cook, York, the Yorkshire Dales and James Herriot being cited.
Councillor Kevin Hardisty said: “Whilst we all love Northallerton we don’t actually have an awful lot of history. We have the fact the Bishop of Durham created a palace which is in now what was a cemetery, and they established a grammar school in 1322 and even established a house of correction. We don’t have a castle like Skipton, Helmsley or Pickering, but we do have a fantastic retail offer.”
Welcome to Yorkshire director David Shields told the committee while Northallerton would be well served by focusing on its array of independent retailers to draw visitors, “anything that can add to the overall visitor experience would be beneficial”.
The authority’s opposition leader, Councillor Claire Palmer, questioned whether plans for the heritage centre should be changed to allow for a museum in the town.
Members suggested Northallerton could follow Ripon in creating a museum using artefacts from its former prison.
Separately, two Labour heavyweights will be visiting Yorkshire today as the party launches a new campaign to save Britain’s high streets.
Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald will be in Pudsey while Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Tony Lloyd will be in the Calder Valley talking to customers and shop owners.