Time travelling to the past in Nidderdale.

Heritage, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire, Yorkshire Dales

If you come for your holidays to Nidderdale in the Yorkshire Dales – and my goodness, I do recommend it – you’ll want to have an afternoon pottering around Pateley Bridge.  It’s just won Britain’s Best Village High Street 2016 award.

Pateley Bridge High Street (geograph.co.uk via Wikimedia Commons)

And if you come to Pateley Bridge, you jolly well ought to visit Nidderdale Museum.  Tucked behind the High Street near the Primary School and the Parish Church on the site of the former Workhouse,  it’s a little treasure trove.

A photo in the museum collection of Pateley Bridge High Street in the very early twentieth century.

This little museum is entirely staffed by volunteers who cherish each donation and display as many as they possibly can in an engaging and informative way.  You’ll punctuate your visit with delighted cries of ‘I remember that!  My granny had one!’  Or ‘Oooh, I never knew the railway went there.  I wonder where the station was?’. You’ll have an animated discussion with a fellow-visitor about being an ink-monitor at school, or about the mangle that was hauled out on washdays when you were a small child.

You’ll also see things that were not part of your own heritage, but which were an important part of Nidderdale’s past. You’ll discover that this pleasant rural area was once an industrial power-house, with textile workers by the score and lead mines dotted over the landscape. You’ll be reminded how very tough day-to-day life was on a Daleside small holding or farm.

Here’s a very quick tour:

We had a Ewbank carpet sweeper at home … and this splendid bed-warmer, simply heated by a light bulb … and a cream-maker.

We had inkwells like this at school, and I spent many painful hours in the company of copy books like these.

But look at this parlour:

I don't quite remember a room like this.

I don’t quite remember a room like this.

And this wholly intact cobbler’s shop, transferred to the Museum in its entirety.

I definitely remember a cobbler's shop like this.

I definitely remember a cobbler’s shop like this.

And here’s a glimpse of life on the farm, before labour-saving machinery came along.

Tools both heavy and huge in use on the farm.

Tools both heavy and huge in use on the farm.

We’ll be going again and again.  So much to see, to reminisce over, to learn from.  This engaging museum is a treasure in its own right.

My visit was one of the perks of being a National Trust volunteer. Brimham Rocks is Fountains Abbey’s nearest neighbour, and staff there organised this trip – thank you!  The museum is open at weekends until mid-March, then daily during summer months.  

23 thoughts on “Time travelling to the past in Nidderdale.

  1. Fabulous High Street. Has it been used in any period dramas or adverts yet? If not, sure to be soon. I love that ‘parlour look’, but oh my goodness can you imagine the dusting. ☹️


  2. Wish I’d gone on the trip now!! I love Pateley and we looked at some properties out there when we wanted to make the move from town to country.
    Nidderdale (an AONB as opposed to part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park for reasons that still defeat many) is often overlooked but we love it out there.

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  3. I love this post! And as you say the memories evoked! My grandmother had a carpet sweeper like that, which I had entirely forgotten. And a cream maker. Love the horse brasses and the paper cutouts decorating the dresser shelves, and, and. …

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  4. Yes, we had Ewbanks, it was my Sunday job at home, my husband’s father had a bed-warmer but my hb’s uncle (a great improviser) made one from a milk powder tin with one bulb in! Inkwells were a pain, someone would always put blotting paper in them and they’d be useless.

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    1. Ooh, what naughty children! I don’t remember that one. Just permanently inky fingers from holding the dip pen so tightly.. Love the idea of the milk powder tin hot water bottle!

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