Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Archive Alive! project ran from June 2008 to June 2009 at the Museum of North Craven Life, culminating in an exhibition to celebrate the wealth of fascinating materials contained in our local archive collection and the innovative projects which they have inspired.
The Heritage Lottery Fund grant enabled the purchase of the Collins Collection, a private collection of over 300 books and printed materials on the local area, covering the archaeology, geology, flora and dialect of Craven and including many guidebooks to Craven, indicating the growth of tourism in the area as the railway network expanded. The collection also includes photographs, posters, pamphlets and other ephemera on a huge variety of themes.
The archive was originally collected by a London based antiquarian bookseller, John Collins. He regularly visited North Craven on holiday and began to take an interest in local sales. Collins said,
“I recently succumbed to an inordinately expensive copy of poems, Tom Twisleton’s
‘Splinters struck from Winskill Rock’. I pretend that I bought it because it’s not in the British
Museum catalogue … but really I bought it because Winskill is just over our horizon as we
wake up on holiday.” (‘Happy Hunting Ground’, The Times, 1984).
The work of Project Officer Sue Mackay was also funded by the Lottery grant. Sue contacted community groups in North Craven who were interested in looking at the archives. Some groups used the
material to further their own research and some were inspired to start new projects.
An article on the Archive Alive! exhibition appeared in “Dales Heritage” (Issue 10, April 2009, p3) with thanks and acknowledgements to the Dales Heritage partnership of Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Craven District Council, Richmondshire District Council and Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.