Craven Museum, in Skipton

Memories of life in a rural corner of Yorkshire are to be preserved for future generations.

In the 1980s and 90s, local residents were recorded talking about all aspects of life in Craven, including farming, schooldays and World War II.

The resultant oral history collection, currently stored on 64 cassette tapes, will now be transferred into a digital format by staff at Craven Museum & Gallery, Skipton, thanks to a £3,400 ‘All Our Stories’ grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The museum’s Talking Treasure project is one of the first in the UK to receive such a grant.

Museum volunteers will receive training from Leeds University staff and students to transfer the tapes into digital format. A new audio display will then be developed for the museum.

TV presenter and historian Michael Wood said, “We British love our history, and no wonder: few nations in the world, if any, have such riches on their doorstep, and so much of it accessible to all of us. It is really tremendous that the people of Craven have been inspired to get involved to tell their own story and to dig deeper into their own past. It’s brilliant that so many people are being given the chance to get involved through the All Our Stories grants. Having travelled the length and breadth of the British Isles this last year filming The Great British Story, I am certain that fascinating and moving stories will be uncovered which will not only bring to life the excitement of local history, but will illuminate and enrich every community’s connection with the national narrative.”

Commenting on the award, Councillor Chris Knowles-Fitton, leader of Craven District Council, said, “It’s great that the museum has been awarded this grant to preserve an important aspect of the district’s heritage. We love where we live and are lucky to be able to find out more about the area’s past and the people who lived here.”

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