The Riley Collection

Members of the Riley family of Settle, and their lifelong friends and neighbours the Greens, gifted an amazing collection of objects, diaries, photographs, drawings, books and memorabilia that paint a picture of everyday life over more than a century.

Frederic Riley (1878–1960) was a man of wide-ranging talents, coupled with great energy, a zest for life and a gift for communicating his enthusiasms to others. Like many residents of Upper Settle, the family were active supporters of Zion Congregational Church and Fred was soon organising nature rambles for the Sunday School children and giving lantern slide lectures with titles such as ‘Wonders of the Wayside’. He conducted the orchestra and wrote and produced plays in aid of church funds. He was a keen photographer and travelled many miles on foot and bicycle to record the landscape and natural history of the area. A prolific writer, he published two full-length books and numerous shorter works, illustrated with his own photographs.

The collection also provides insights into the lives of his children, Marjorie (1909–1997), an inveterate traveller, and James (1912–1985), a pioneer of research on mast cells, which eventually led to his ground-breaking discovery of the origin of histamine within these cells.