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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


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‘A Big Arkengarthdale Family’ -...

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Enid Lundberg was a teacher at Arkengarthdale School for 25 years. On a sunny but windy summer’s day we met in her garden looking onto Calva Hill. Enid has an energetic spirit, vivid memory and is refreshingly to-the-point,...

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Images for a giant community photo mosaic celebrating youth and schools in the Upper Dales will be collected over eight weeks, starting on Monday 21 September. The mosaic of Dales youth is being created by digital artist Helen Marshall of The...

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This is an extract from an intriguing little book filled with elegant handwriting that I was given a few years ago: 'Sept 2nd By train to Hawes Junction walked to Lunds School Bad attendance at school on account of the backward...

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John Waggett, 75, has farmed in Upper Swaledale all his life. He has twinkly eyes and a rich, melodic accent. He is one of the few remaining speakers of the Swaledale dialect and went to Gunnerside Methodist School in the 50s. The main photo...

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Earlier this year we stumbled across this in Swaledale Museum’s newsletter archive: ‘The Museum was privileged to launch John Place's handsomely illustrated biography of Reginald Place, Schoolmaster of Reeth. John's talk...

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From Pupil to Teacher: Sally...

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In Part I Sally Stone recalled her childhood at West Burton School.  Here is Part II, where she reflects on returning to the school to be a teacher and headteacher.  The picture shows Sally with her four...

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Back in February, Mark Cronfield of Fellfoss Theatre and Heather Hodgson, Education Officer for The Story of Schools, met with Emily from The NASH.  Mark, who is an experienced heritage theatre practitioner, will be bringing school heritage...

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