'War and the Washburn Valley': Bravery of Harrogate soldiers to be showcased in new exhibition

The bravery of 11 men from the Washburn Valley who died fighting overseas is take centre stage in a new series of exhibitions to commemorate the end of the First World War.

A new exhibition to commemorate the end of World War One begins next week
A new exhibition to commemorate the end of World War One begins next week

'War and the Washburn Valley' begins Wednesday, October 5 at the Washburn Heritage Centre and will showcase a number of talks, films, workshops and more to provide a window into life at home and overseas during both world wars until January 26.

Among these is the special premiere on Saturday, November 17, with a new film commissioned by the centre, highlighting stories of people from the valley and their memories of the war.

A centenary commemoration ceremony will also be held on Friday, November 9, with the Pinsuti Choir, alongside other performances of poems and music filling the air at Fewston Church. Profits from the sale of tickets, costing £8, will be donated to Help for Heroes and Combat Street.

Your full guide to the exhibition:


A Day with Clay Wednesday 17 October 10am-4pm Make and decorate wraparound vases and lidded boxes from slabs of clay under the guidance of Fiona Mazza, who will take them for firing at her workshop in Pateley Bridge, from whence you can collect them a few weeks later – ideal and unique Christmas presents! £60, members £48, including coffee, lunch and tea.

Washburn Whist Drive Wednesday 14 November 2-4:30pm Come and join us, whether you are an expert or beginner, for an entertaining afternoon of whist led by Gladys Spence in memory of the many fund raising whist drives organised by the Comforts Committee of the Washburn Valley during WW1. After the tensions of the game, relax and enjoy a delicious afternoon tea. £15, members £12.

Christmas wreath-making Workshops Sat 8 December 10am-12noon or 2-4pm Join in one of our traditional and ever popular Christmas wreath-making workshops led by Daphne Wilson. £15, members £12, including seasonal refreshments.


WW1 Centenary Commemoration. Friday 9 November 7:00pm Pinsuti Chamber Choir – poems and music; light refreshments. Tickets £8.00 from John Charman, 01943 466712.

Profits to Help for Heroes and Combat Stress.


Wilfred Owen Trail in Ripon Friday 5 October 10am-12noon

Meet Ted Flexman on the Market Square outside the Town Hall at 10am. The 2 mile walk will take in seven locations that are strongly connected to Wilfred Owen's time in Ripon during 1918. This was the period when he wrote much of his best work. Hear poems in context, see some of his revisions displayed and be introduced to the Wilfred Owen Pilgrimage Route in the Cathedral where the tour will end at midday. £7.50, members £6.

The National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire Monday 22 October 8:30am-6pm Leave Swinsty Moor car park by coach at 8:30am to visit the UK's National Site of Remembrance. The 150 acre site is laid out with an evolving maturing woodland landscape featuring 30,000 trees and a vast collection of Memorials. Explore on foot or on the Land Train. A golf buggy can be pre-booked for those with limited mobility. Refreshments are available from the excellent restaurant and coffee shop. The coach will arrive back at approximately 6pm. £30, members £24.

Army Foundation College, Pennypot Lane Tuesday 4 December 4:30-8pm A visit to the Army Foundation College with an introduction by Lt. Col. Hall, followed by a tour of some of the facilities and equipment and concluding with a meal. All visitors will be collected by coach from Stack Point car park at 4:30pm and returned there by 8pm. £30, members £24.


Unless stated, all talks are at the Centre from 7:30 to 9pm, with home-made light refreshments, costing £7.50, members £6.

“My subject is War and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the Pity” Wednesday 10 October. Come to hear and discuss some of Wilfred Owen's War Poetry with a strong local connection. Ted Flexman will also give a background to Owen's time in Ripon, illuminated by extracts from his postcards and letters home. Readers will be very welcome and if you have a favourite poem from the period there will be an opportunity for you to share it with the group.

How stories create the world Tuesday 30 October In a 'post-truth' world, what matters more: facts and evidence or resonant stories? Join Alex Evans, a former special adviser to two UK cabinet ministers and the UN Secretary- General, for a talk on his book The Myth Gap and how he came to realise the power of stories to make and change our world.

From Strawberry Dale to Passchendaele Thursday 8 November Author John Sheehan reviews the experiences of the local Harrogate Battalion at the Somme and Passchendaele through to the end of the War, illustrating his talk with many photographs and maps.


Walks start at varied times and places and usually end about 2pm after a two course lunch with tea/coffee. No dogs unless stated otherwise. £12.50, members £10 unless stated otherwise. Distances can vary with the weather.

Blubberhouses Moor walk Thursday 25 October 9:30 am A medium grade walk of almost 4 miles on moorland, field and woodland tracks. Starts at a layby opposite Anchor Farm, a mile South of Blubberhouses, SE 169543. See a sphagnum moss bog with wartime links and visit the site of a tragic WW2 Home Guard accident.

Farnley and Leathley walk Tuesday 20 November 9:30 am Meet in Farnley Church car park SE 214481 to explore the war links in Farnley and Leathley churchyards, hear about Leathley's Home Guard leader and enjoy field, riverside and village scenery. About 3.5 miles, some muddy ground, a few stiles and one steep hill. Finally drive to WHC to enjoy a modern take on 1940s style soup, sandwiches and cake.

Winter Solstice walk Friday 21 December 2:30 to 5:00 pm From the Centre, enjoy a leisurely and easy walk round Swinsty reservoir as the sun sets on the shortest day, then enjoy seasonal refreshments back in the warmth of the Centre. Dogs allowed on this walk. £7.50, members £6.00.

Washburn War Memories - the films Saturday 17 November 2:30 to 4pm Join us in the afternoon to see the world premiere of a new film commissioned by the WHC about the war memories of people in the Valley. This promises to be entertaining and humorous as well as poignant. There will also be another chance to see the first "War Memories" film shown in 2012. Refreshments will be served in the interval.

All About Gin Tuesday 27 November A very popular wartime drink, gin is now enjoying a new surge in popularity. Hear from Mike Carthy, co-founder of The Spirit of Harrogate (the home of Slingsby Gin) and his mixologist about the history of gin, how different botanicals are used to give gin its special flavours and the best ways to serve it. £12.50 for non-members or £10 for members, including refreshments and a G&T.

Descent of the Blue Nile Saturday 12 January 2:30-4pm Exactly 50 years ago, the Emperor Haile Selassie invited a group of British scientists and soldiers under the leadership of John Blashford-Snell to make the first descent of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia. It took three months to achieve, tackling white water, waterfalls, crocodiles and ambushes by bandits. Our speaker Roger Chapman led the rubber boats which paved the way for modern white-water rafting.

Special weapons of WWII Thursday 17 January 7:30-9pm Expert Mark Murray-Flutter surveys the issue of unusual weapons carried by troops and agents in WWII many of which are not well known.

Nidderdale venture Saturday 26 January 9:00 am Meet in Dacre Banks on the B6451, in the layby near the church SE 197623. The Nidderdale Way takes us to farmland and woodland with striking views and lots of dry stone walls. 6.5 miles, often fairly good going but a strenuous walk with some tough sections e.g. rough stream banks. Lunch in the house of a WHC member in Dacre. £12.50, members £10. Suppers...

Wartime Supper and Singalong Friday 2 November 7-10pm Enjoy some wartime cheer with a welcome drink and a tasty three course supper made from wartime recipes, then join in a good old sing song (words provided) with all those well-known wartime ditties. Cash bar. £24, members £19.50.

It's Christmas! Tuesday 11 December 7-10pm Celebrate with a welcome drink and a delicious seasonal supper once again prepared by Daphne Wilson and her team, hear about a Christmas during WW1 and join in with the carol singers. Cash bar. £27.50, members £24.

At a glance

Fri 5 Oct Visit: Wilfred Owen trail, Ripon Wed 10 Oct Talk: Wilfred Owen war poetry Wed 17 Oct Workshop

A day with clay Mon 22 Oct Visit: War Memorial Arboretum

Thur 25 Oct Walk: Blubberhouses Moor Tue 30 Oct Talk: How stories create the world

Fri 2 Nov Supper: Wartime supper and sing along

Thur 8 Nov Talk: Strawberry Dale to Passchendaele

Fri 9 Nov Special Event: War commemoration in words and music in Fewston Church

Wed 14 Nov Activity: Whist Drive and afternoon tea

Sat 17 Nov Films: War films and tea

Tues 20 Nov Walk: Farnley & Leathley

Tue 27 Nov Talk: All about gin

Tues 4 Dec Visit: Army Foundation College

Sat 8 Dec Workshop: Christmas wreath making

Tue 11 Dec Supper: Christmas supper

Fri 21 Dec Walk: Winter Solstice walk

Sat 12 Jan Talk: Descent of the Blue Nile

Thur 17 Jan Talk: Special Weapons of Ww2

Thur 24 Jan Visit: Members only event

Sat 26 Jan Walk: Nidderdale venture Advance payment is required for all our events: BACS, cash or cheques to Washburn Heritage Centre please; sc: 05-06-61 ac: 32359640.