Life and Tradition in the Yorkshire Dales: A Celebration

1 April to 3 July 2018

This exhibition celebrated Marie Hartley, and Joan Ingilby’s ground-breaking work, Life and Tradition in the Yorkshire Dales, first published in 1968 – and the exhibition reveals how it was researched and written.

The research for the Life and Tradition book started in 1964, when Marie Hartley and Joan Ingilby decided they “would record in book form all the old ways of life in the Dales on the farm and in the home”.

 “At that time it was becoming obvious that the traditional ways of life in the Yorkshire Dales that had continued for centuries were changing. Now, thirty years on the change is complete, and it would be impossible to collect the information for this book or to take the photographs. We were just and only just in the nick of time.”

Marie Hartley and Joan Ingilby Askrigg, 1997

Life and Tradition in the Yorkshire Dales cover topics such as dairy work, farm buildings and implements, sheep, peat-cutting, hay-making, thatching and sport and games. 

Their pioneering work resulted in photographic records, drawings and notes that captured a disappearing way of life. The enthusiasm, vigour and generosity with which they approached their task were infectious and generated support from many people. Their combined skills of photographer, writer and artist created a unique record of a past way of life in the Dales. Artefacts were collected to enable Marie to produce illustrations which led to the creation of a unique collection and the founding of the Dales Countryside Museum.

The exhibition displayed photographs and objects from the museum’s collection, as well as items from the Marie Hartley archive brought from Leeds University Special Collections.

The exhibition was a part of a wider project involving a programme of walks, talks demonstrations and workshops, and the re-issuing of the book by the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society.