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THE STORY OF SCHOOLS IN THE UPPER DALES

The Story of Schools in the Upper Dales was a project run by The NASH and Dales Countryside Museum about the history of village schools in Upper Wensleydale, Swaledale and Arkengarthdale. The story unfolded through the gathering of oral histories in which the memories of people who attended Dales schools from the 1930s onwards was recorded, new research and a school engagement programme. 

A spectacular 4.5 metre-wide community photo mosaic was created with art and design studio The People’s Picture.  A Mosaic of Dales Youth featured 2,283 photo tiles of youth and school-life in the Upper Dales which were shared by local people and came together to create a whole new image.

A multimedia exhibition ran at Dales Countryside Museum from 17 May to 18 July 2021 telling The Story of Schools through the big reveal of the mosaic, interpretation boards, audio recordings, a short film and artefacts. The exhibition is due to tour to Tennants in Leyburn as part of Swaledale Festival 2022.

The material in this project is for educational purposes and forms part of a learning resource available at Dales Countryside Museum. Use the links on the right to explore the mosaic and exhibition, and check out the project blog below for summaries of some fascinating oral history interviews. 

A big thanks to our funders – The National Lottery Heritage Fund and its players, and the Sustainable Development Fund


Latest News

Barbara Buckingham - Reeth...

Barbara Buckingham - Reeth...

Published: 04 October 2021

Emily

News, Story of Schools

I was at Reeth School for the beginning of the Second World War. The war affected our school days very much, in the sense that it interrupted it. The continuity went because we kept getting children and teachers who’d come in from Gateshead...

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Eleanor Scarr - Bainbridge...

Eleanor Scarr - Bainbridge...

Published: 04 October 2021

Emily

News, Story of Schools

I was born at Thornton Rust in 1947. There was no school in Thornton Rust, it shut in about the 1930s, so Bainbridge was our primary school. You went the term that you were five, so for me it would be September because my birthday is in...

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Basil Allen - Hawes School, 1940s

Basil Allen - Hawes School, 1940s

Published: 30 September 2021

Emily

News, Story of Schools

Hawes when it was a day school kept the sexes separate, with separate door entrances and even separate external gates to go in. The entrance on Main Street that is now blocked up was the headmaster’s house. There used to be a big garden at...

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Jean Cockburn - Aysgarth...

Jean Cockburn - Aysgarth...

Published: 30 September 2021

Emily

News, Story of Schools

I would go when I was five years old, to the Aysgarth School. Me two cousins would take me, just on their own, we used to walk on. Where the surgery is now, that was the school. And we had a teacher in one room, Miss Heseltine, which you started...

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Brian and Jennie Sunter

Brian and Jennie Sunter

Published: 15 June 2021

Emily

News, Story of Schools

We loved meeting this well-known Swaledale couple and recording their school stories from Low Row and Keld in the 40s. Brian and Jennie Sunter have been married for 61 years and speak in resonating...

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Giant artwork to be unveiled

Giant artwork to be unveiled

Published: 05 May 2021

Emily

News, Story of Schools

The Dales Countryside Museum (DCM) in Hawes is re-opening on Monday 17 May with a special exhibition telling the story of schools in the Upper Dales.

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New Podcast:  Voices From The Dales

New Podcast:  Voices From The Dales

Published: 24 March 2021

Emily

News, Story of Schools

Episodes One and Two of new podcast series 'Voices From The Dales' share audio material gathered in this project, and have been published to complement the opening of our special exhibition at DCM, The Story of Schools.

Read more
Eric and Vera Alderson on...

Eric and Vera Alderson on...

Published: 12 January 2021

Emily

News, Story of Schools

Eric and Vera Alderson have been married for 62 years. Before Christmas, we met them to record their memories of Askrigg and Hawes Schools during WWII. NB owing to lockdown the Story of Schools exhibition at Dales Countryside...

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Norman Guy, Stalwart of Muker,...

Norman Guy, Stalwart of Muker,...

Published: 12 October 2020

Emily

News, Story of Schools

I went to Muker School.  I was born in 1939, so in those days I would’ve started in January 1945 when I was 5 wouldn’t I, yeah. There was no kitchen at Muker, we came home for our lunch. I lived in the house just behind the...

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