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Skipton community research project

This project, hosted by the Skipton Civic Society, was co-ordinated in 2008-2009 by historical buildings consultant, Sue Wrathmell, whose call out to the local community for additional volunteers to help with the surveying and research was answered by a number of UWHG members.

After some early morning sessions with volunteers from the Civic Society, measuring and photographing specific buildings in the town, the follow-up work, carried out by the UWHG volunteers on behalf of the project, was mostly archive based.


The little band of UWHG volunteers worked steadily through an unexpectedly huge wealth of material providing the historical background to about sixty of the listed buildings in Skipton.

The major sources being investigated, transcribed and analysed by the UWHG volunteers on the SCRP team were the Census Returns of 1841 to 1901, the research notes of the late Dr Rowley (whose impressive research papers are housed in the Skipton Reference Library. The transcriptions were made with the kind permission of his widow, Mrs Valerie Rowley, who is taking an active interest in the project), and the Craven Herald newspaper archives (most of which are on microfilm). In addition, relevant archaeological artefacts in the Craven Museum have been photographed and are to be included in the project’s database. One of our members is also provided administrative assistance in collating the material as it came into the project office.

The information gathered is proved to be extraordinarily broad in its coverage, and detailed in its depth. A number of intriguing themes are emerging, and a number of possibilities for leaflets, events, databases and spin-off projects are developing.
Initially intended as a means of providing a set of paper-based files to support and aid the planning processes as the town develops, the SCRP is rapidly proving that the historical records can also be used to encourage a wider public awareness of Skipton’s fascinating and complex heritage.  Various options for presenting the research are still under discussion. The project has already resulted in the production of several informative leaflets by the Civic Society

It is hoped that the SCRP pages will be an exciting and valuable addition to the new Skipton Civic Society website currently under development, and the UWHG are pleased to be able to make their contribution to this fascinating project, supporting the work of the Civic Society in preserving and protecting the built heritage of the town.

Skipton Civic Society was granted English Heritage funding for the Skipton Community Research Project (SCRP) into the listed buildings of the town centre. The Project Officer was Colum Giles, of English Heritage, and the Project Manager was Andrew Mackay of the Craven Museum and Art Gallery. The Project Support Team was drawn from the Skipton Civic Society.

For further information:
SCRP Co-ordinator Sue Wrathmell c/o the Skipton Civic Society, 43 Otley Street, Skipton BD23 1EL.

Further Reading:
(All available from Skipton public Library)

DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT – List of buildings of special architectural or historic interest. Parish of Skipton” (1997)
ELLWOOD, Ken – “Skipton” (1991)
FRIENDS OF CRAVEN MUSEUM – “Around Skipton-in-Craven in old photographs”
HATFIELD, Ella – “Skipton” (1991, rev. ed. 2005)
ROWLEY, Geoffrey – The Book of Skipton (1983)
WILLIAMS, David – Medieval Skipton (1981) – also available for loan to UWHG members from the Group’s Library

The Rowley Collection (old photographs of Skipton)

Jane Lunnon, UWHG; July 2008

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