Thanks for photographs go to Beverley Ward, Sue Griffin, Julie Burman, Christina Sandford, Ann Vaughan, Gill Hurdle, Jackie Wiggins, John Wiggins.
Betty’s Tea Shop, Harrogate
A coachful of u3a members spent a long weekend together discovering Yorkshire. We stayed in Harrogate and enjoyed Betty’s Tea shop.
Great Yorkshire Show
We visited the Great Yorkshire Show and learnt about woolly pigs, obedient pigs, runaway pigs and what makes a piggy squeak!We made friends with big goats, little goats, curly horned goats, straight horned goats and many other sorts of goats and watched them on parade. We watched sheep, being weighed, sheep being brushed, sheep being shorn and their wool being woven. We were humbled by the size and majesty of prize cattle.
The animals were just a small part of the ‘The Show’. We were all astounded at the size and variety of exhibits.
Skipton: Castle, Church and Woods
We were all delighted by Skipton, which none of us had visited before. It was a market day and some people enjoyed retail therapy. Others discovered the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and enjoyed a walk which climbed steeply through Skipton Woods. Yet others visited Skipton Castle and The Craven Museum. Craven was the name of a medieval shire including parts of West and North Yorkshire. Skipton was within this shire. The name means garlic fields. Wild garlic was growing along the banks of the canal and in the woods.
The Craven Museum
Skipton Town Hall is the ‘cultural hub’ of the area. The Craven Museum is part of that hub. It is small, but has much to offer and has been shortlisted for the Family Friendly Museum Award 2023. The museum traces the history of the area from prehistoric through Roman Times to the present. 60,000 local artefacts – rocks, rare books, photographs, furniture, art or taxidermy representing millions of years of Craven History are on display.
We found out some memorable snippets of information.
Lead mining was carried out in Craven for thousands of years and a lead ingot mined by the Romans, cast in a special shape to aid transport, is on display.
John Dewhurst and Son Ltd of Skipton is well known for Cotton Reels and Sylko Machine Twist embroidery thread. There was a working cotton mill in Skipton between 1829-1983.
Robert Thompson, the furniture carver now known as the ‘mouse man’ came from Skipton. His signature trademark included on all his pieces is a mouse representing the state of trade workers of the time as being ‘poor as a church mouse’. The museum houses a fascinating exhibition of furniture up to modern times.
The most exciting exhibit of the museum, Cravens National Treasure, is the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays printed in 1623 . It is on permanent display. There are 235 copies worldwide. Without it, 18 of Shakespeare’s plays would have been lost forever, including Macbeth, Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet. The pages are turned regularly to avoid fading. It belonged to John James Wilkinson, a local Skipton businessman and bequeathed to the museum by his sister in 1936.
Pamela and Brian Huggett
Harewood House and Himalayan Gardens
Sunday was spent at Harewood House and Estate which belongs to the Lascelles family (NB Lascelles Road in Slough!) It was designed and created by some of the best and now most famous craftsmen of the 18th century – John Carr, Robert Adams, Thomas Chippendale. Many fine pieces of furniture and paintings of the Renaissance era are on display, as well as displays of modern art. We learnt a lot about how to ‘read’ the portraits of aristocrats of yesteryear by considering the size and frame of the painting, the pose and expression of the sitter, their clothing and hairstyle, the composition of the background and any materials e.g. curtains used in the composition. A three-quarter length portrait was most common. A full-length portrait would have been more expensive. It would ‘cost an arm and a leg’, hence the expression we use today.
On our journey to Harrogate, the group visited Northampton, which was also a town unknown to many. Here we had a guided tour of 78, Derngate, a small terrace house exquisitely renovated by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1916 for his client, W.J Bassett-Lowke, well known as a model engineer. We cannot share the wonderful interior designs, as no photography was allowed. You are encouraged to visit yourself!
Northampton is a market town in the East Midlands of England, on the River Nene. It is approximately 60 miles north-west of London and 50 miles south-east of Birmingham and is one of the largest towns in England.
A great fire destroyed the town in 1675 and the town was rebuilt around large market square and the main streets radiate from this. Their names indicate medieval trades such as Sheep Street, Silver Street and Gold Street. The tourist office today occupies the old courthouse and judges lodgings built after the fire.
A most imposing building is the Guildhall built in the 19th century. Statues of royals and dignitaries stand between the arched windows on the first floor. Carved within the arches of each ground floor window are scenes of historical events that took place in Northampton.
Northampton County Museum was a much-appreciated surprise. After lunch, most of us had time only to be amazed at the exhibition of shoes – old, new, practical and fantastical! At one time, Northampton was the centre of Britain’s shoe industry.
The boot, shoe and leather trade thrived in Northampton from the late 17th century It began to decline in the 20th century but is still the home of many international brands. The industry is celebrated in a wonderful exhibition of shoes and shoemaking in the County Museum. Most of the shoemaking factories have disappeared but some remain as listed buildings.
Keighley and Worth Valley Steam Railway
The Keighley and Worth Valley Steam Railway took us to Howarth, a pretty, but now very commercialised little village and we had the opportunity to enjoy the scenery and learn about the lives and background of the Bronte sisters.
A Thank You List of Complaints
As a thank you to Jackie for facilitating an outstanding holiday, I have written a good-humoured list of complaints.
‘The Show’ just had too much to take in and the retail therapy went a long way with the group.
Skipton was just too lovely, good coffee, loads of independent shops, a beautiful church, a canal, not to mention the pork pies.
Dave has complained that he had to move his 3 pairs of shoes because Adele bought another pair of Pavers.
Julie complained the pole dancing (climbing) only lasted 19 seconds.
Beverley and John’s complaint was that they didn’t get a chance to don their old police force uniforms and arrest someone for having too much fun.
Laurie, Pat, Christina and Paul complained that their ribs hurt from all the laughter.
Jackie your big heart, incredible warmth, thoughtfulness, and outstanding organisational skills have given us a lovely holiday seeing more of this stunning country we all live in.
Behind every capable woman is a loving supportive, wild dancing man.
John, we all appreciate your gentle kindness.
My thanks to all contributors and my apologies if some photos are in the incorrect sections,
Dave Humphries (Web Editor)