After more than 11,000 votes were cast, the April 2014 edition of Dalesman reveals the results of our poll to find the 75 Greatest Icons of Yorkshire.
The humble Yorkshire pudding has been voted number one, beating York Minster into second place in the poll, with the stunning Yorkshire Dales receiving the third highest number of votes.
The earliest recorded recipe for Yorkshire pudding dates from 1737 when the batter-based dish was cooked beneath a shoulder of mutton to catch the dripping. It was designed to be a cheap and filling dish for poorer families, and was often served on its own before the meat course. However, times have changed, and on National Yorkshire Pudding Day earlier this year one Dales hotel created the world’s most expensive Yorkshire pud, made with truffle and gold leaf, and on the menu for an eye-watering £500.
Also named amongst the top-ten Yorkshire icons were the Bronte sisters in fourth place, the North York Moors in fifth and Fountains Abbey in sixth.
Alan Bennett was voted the greatest living Yorkshire icon, polling in seventh place. He was followed by Wensleydale cheese, made famous by Wallace and Gromit, in eighth place. The top ten was completed by Whitby Abbey in ninth and Yorkshire Tea in tenth place. The county’s favourite cuppa has seen a surge in popularity recently, thanks to celebrity fans who include Russell Crowe and Louis Tomlinson.
The poll was carried out by Dalesman magazine to mark its 75th anniversary.
Some of the county’s best-known names have also chosen their top icons of Yorkshire. Sir Patrick Stewart said, “Nowhere is more iconic for me than the Three Peaks in the Yorkshire Dales National Park; Ingleborough, Whernside and Penyghent. I knew this landscape as a child when at weekends I would cycle there from my home in the industrial West Riding.”
Alan Titchmarsh said: “For me it has to be Alan, Bennett, a man of great insight, great warmth and enormous generosity of spirit.”
Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu chose York Minster, saying: “It is a magnificent building which brings joy to so many people, worshippers, visitors and York residents alike.”
Geoffrey Boycott, voted in at number 19 in the list, opted for the club that made him famous, saying: “Yorkshire is famous for many things, but wherever you travel in the world, if you mention Yorkshire, people will ask about cricket. So for me the greatest Yorkshire icon is Yorkshire County Cricket Club and its home ground, Headingley.”
Fellow cricketing legend Dickie Bird opted for William Wilberforce, the Yorkshireman credited with bringing an end to slavery. “He did a tremendous amount of campaigning and thanks to his efforts, brought an end to slavery, bringing freedom to millions. A true Yorkshireman.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “There are many fantastic icons of Yorkshire, from Geoffrey Boycott and Jessica Ennis-Hill, to the Dales themselves and even Yorkshire Tea whose headquarters I was lucky enough to visit a few years ago.”
Other big names who have chosen their favourite icons of Yorkshire for April’s anniversary edition of Dalesman include Alan Bennett, the original Calendar Girls, double Olympic gold medallist Andrew Triggs Hodge, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband.
Sir Bernard Ingham made a rather more unusual choice – the ‘Yorkshire gene’. He said: “Of course, the gene is being weakened by the diaspora of families and inter-marriage with lesser mortals. But in its pure form it is to be found in the wonderful stubborn awkwardness of the true Yorkshireman.”
Dalesman editor Adrian Braddy said: “The top 75 Greatest Yorkshire Icons demonstrates the diversity of this amazing county and its people who have so many reasons to be proud. From stunning architecture to beautiful landscapes and from sporting prowess to pioneering inventions, Yorkshire has it all.”
Other icons to make the list include stainless steel, invented in Sheffield, drystone walls, Captain James Cook, the White Rose of York, brass bands, James Herriott, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, David Hockney, the flat cap, Ribblehead Viaduct, Fred Trueman, Whitby fish and chips, Richard III, the Arctic Monkeys, Brian Blessed, Swaledale sheep, Kes, Dracula, Roseberry Topping, Heartbeat, Dame Judi Dench, Rugby League, rhubarb and Bettys tea rooms.
Dalesman magazine was first published in April 1939 from the front room of founding editor Harry Scott’s home in the Yorkshire Dales. It grew to become the best-selling regional magazine in Britain.