Looking at Old Buildings
The group usually meets on the 4th Thursday of each month though occasionally at other times, focussing on visits to look at old buildings to see how they are constructed and to look for any interesting features that may help to date them. Where possible tours are pre-booked with an experienced guide but sometimes there is a self-guided tour. Travel may be by coach, public transport or car sharing and it has been agreed for the latter a small scale of suitable donations for expenses by passengers in cars on such occasions.*
Each visit is arranged by one or two members who are also responsible for putting the information regarding the venue, time and travel arrangements in the Newsletter for the previous month.
* These are £1 per person for return journeys of up to one hour (up to half an hour each way), £2 for two hours and £3 for three hours with parking fees to be shared by the number of occupants in the car.
JULY 2017 - ROCHDALE
On Thursday, 27th July, our visit to Rochdale was a great success. We started with a guided tour of the very impressive Victorian Town Hall. Many cotton and wool towns built impressive town halls but this exceeded anything I have seen. The huge rooms, majestic staircase and snug mayoral chambers all had hand painted walls with Art Nouveau designs. Some had lots of detail and all had beautiful colours. Colour was also the outstanding feature of the windows with many a story to tell. There were Minton tiles on the floor of the entrance hall. In addition to being a town hall the wings of the building also encompassed a Police Station with Courts, a Fire Station and Exchange, though the latter was not much used.
Lunch in the restaurant of the Town Hall maintained the high standard of decor, but modern this time and the food lived up to it.. After a walk past the Gracie Fields statue and pausing to look at the recently uncovered medieval bridge and sheep statue we reached the Pioneers Museum.
We all appreciated the clear enthusiastic delivery of our young guide. It was here that in 1844 the first meeting was held to start a Cooperative shop. The original minute book was on view and a film was shown of the early days when people came to buy pure food at fair prices. They started with just butter, sugar, flour and oatmeal. They were also encouraged to become members of the Cooperative movement. Women members as well as the men had a vote, long before they were given the vote in political elections. Visitors now come from all over the world.
Throughout the day everyone we encountered was friendly, polite and helpful which contributed to an enjoyable and fascinating day.
Thanks go to Debi Burridge for arranging this visit and thanks to Gill for this excellent write-up.
There will be no group activity in August because of the Open Meeting and the planning meeting for the new session 2017 -2018 will be on Thursday 28th September at 2.00pm in the Castleberg Room at the Victoria Hall.
JULY 2017 – LITTLE SALKELD and ACORN BANK WATERMILLS
I gasped as we approached the VIVID PINK buildings which were our first destination of the day, Little Salkeld Mill, a working watermill fed by a plentiful supply of water from a brook off the River Eden in Cumbria and which is now Cumbria’s only fully-operational mill producing organic flour on a commercial basis, which is sold in the shop on the premises, on line and through some retail outlets, including Booths in Settle.
The oldest part of the building was built in 1760 though there is evidence of several earlier mills on the site. There are two overshot cast iron mill wheels, one in a wheelhouse and the other adjacent but outside.
We were welcomed by Phil, an enthusiastic entrepreneur who, three years ago and with no previous experience purchased the mill when the previous owners wanted to retire. With support from them and through membership of the Traditional Cornmillers Guild, he, his wife Cheryl and his stepson now mill oats, barley, rye and spelt to make the different flours for bread which they also make and sell on site, together with other specialist flours like semolina and pancake flour. They also run bread making courses.
We were divided into two groups for our tour – one group sampling the delights of the tearoom and purchasing goods from the shop, whilst the other marvelled at many of the small ingenious ‘Heath Robinson’ type ‘fixits’ such as the hoist for lifting sacks between the floors, and learning more about the different flours and the sources of the various grains. Outside we wondered about a plastic bottle tied in place of a missing weight to control the volume of water along the millrace! Phil is very cheerful and innovative and obviously enjoys his work!
After a lunch break we left for our next destination, Acorn Bank Watermill, situated in the lovely grounds of this National Trust property.
Here we could decide which parts of the property we visited, as the mill is not operational every day and wasn’t operating but does have excellent display boards which perfectly complemented the information we had already gleaned at Salkeld. It is thought that there were mills here from the 1200s but this restored mill dates only from the early 19th century. When the National Trust took over the whole property in the 1980s it was derelict, and restoration of this now flour-producing mill has been lovingly carried out by volunteers, and is still a work in progress. Their work was recognised by their being awarded the Marsh Heritage Volunteer Award in 2012. Flour was produced in 2011 and today is sold in the shop and used in the Tearoom.
The three mill-wheels were fed from a hill above from the interestingly-named Crowdundle Beck, two being overshot and one pitchback, although only one remains today. This enabled water to provide power for the now disused Gypsum Mines on the opposite edge of the grounds.
There is an interesting blog written by the volunteers giving great technical details for the mechanically minded. Dating back to 2007 you can see it at: - acornwatermillblog.blogspot.co.uk
There is also a Herb Garden, which features more than 300 varieties and the house is being gradually brought back to life, although it is at present unfurnished.
We left at 3.30pm after a lovely trip and our grateful thanks go to Jim Woodward-Nutt for organising it.
MAY 2017 – VISIT TO GAWTHORPE HALL
The sun was shining and it was already very warm when we left Settle. The coach journey to Gawthorpe Hall was by the scenic route over Pendle to Padiham. We arrived just before 11 a.m. in time for a minute’s silence, standing in the sunshine outside the front door, to remember the victims of the Manchester bomb.
The Hall has recently undergone a £500,000 renovation to the external stonework and windows and is looking very attractive. We had an interesting tour of the ground floor and second floor by a very knowledgeable guide who explained how the Hall had been lived in and altered by successive Shuttleworths and Kay-Shuttleworths from 1600 until 1970 when it was given by the family to the National Trust after the death of Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth.
The Entrance Hall has been returned to its appearance in the 1850s having been used as a kitchen after1945. The arched wooden screen and some of the oak paneling found in a barn has been replaced but some had been lost. The Great Hall is an impressive space with a large fireplace and a minstrels’ gallery which was used for performing music and plays, eventually becoming the family dining room. The walls are decorated with paintings from the National Portrait Gallery as the family had removed their family portraits when they moved to Leck Hall.
We had to view the Drawing Room in two groups as there was not room for all of us at the same time. This room is little altered from the days when Charlotte Brontë was a visitor, indeed one of the sofas has not been reupholstered since she sat on it in 1855!
The stairs wind round inside the tower which forms the central part of the hall and we went up to the long gallery on the second floor. Here the current Lord Shuttleworth had played cricket as child. The elaborate plaster ceiling has since been repaired.
At midday the general public were admitted and we were left to explore the first floor and gardens at our leisure. Some us picnicked in the garden and some had lunch inside or outside the Tea Rooms. The first floor which housed the Hall bedrooms is now home to the Gawthorpe Collection, hundreds of textiles from all over the world amassed by Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth who was renowned for her knowledge and skills in needlework.
Outside many of us enjoyed a stroll around the gardens, admired the formal gardens and the view of the river Calder. Later as we gathered by the Tea Room for tea or ice cream, we learned that the bus would not start and we worried that we might have to push it. But it didn’t take long to mend it and we were soon on our way through Burnley and back to Settle.
Many thanks to Ann Webster for arranging a very interesting day out.
APRIL 2017 – FARFIELD MILL, SEDBERGH
Thanks are due to Rosemary Harrod and Heather Chappell for arranging this excellent visit to
Farfield Mill near Sedbergh
On arrival straight into the café area we were able to book our lunches, have a coffee and
then wander freely until it was time for a talk by one of the Preservation’s Trust members.
Maureen Lamb, one of the many volunteers who had been involved with the mill for many
years and was part of the driving force behind its restoration, gave a most informative talk
after which we were free to resume our roaming.
Built in 1837 the mill became famous for the production of horse blankets, even supplying
the Royal stables for almost 100 years. The Witney Loom is a 300 years old prized
possession originally used in Whitney, Oxfordshire for the famous Whitney blankets.
In the late 19th century the mill was destroyed by fire, but the business was so prosperous
that a new larger mill was operating within a year.
Sadly demand for woven woollen goods declined and the mill was scheduled for closure.
A Preservation Trust, of which Mrs Lamb was a founder member, was set up in the 1990's.
Funding was eventually secured to finance the development, within the mill, of artisan
workshops producing a wide variety of quality goods.
Opening in 2001, pottery, glassware, jewellery, textiles and a fascinating collection of other handcrafted items are attractively presented on the upper floors. The lower floors house
looms and machinery from the Victorian era, still operating for small commissions and also
used for tuition workshops.
As befits a mill used exclusively for wool, there are also interesting videos featuring the
social aspects of life for those who worked in its production, their rigid rules and conditions
and of course the sheep, especially the hardy Rough Fell breed.
One wonderful exhibit was a “Dream Coat”. Each year the primary and secondary pupils from Dent & Sedbergh collaborate on a project involving a new skill taught at the mill. In 2015 they were taught to weave, each producing a square as beautiful as they could make it. All 500 came together to form “Dream Coat” housed at present in the mill which was on display the day of our visit. Inside the lining of each square is hidden a child’s wish never to be seen – apart from two which fell out. One said “I wish everyone in England had the benefit of living next door to a Gregg’s bakery” and the other “I wish I could see my Dad again
We left the mill at 2.15pm for a brief stop in Sedbergh in order to be back in Settle by
Our May visit will be to Gawthorpe Hall organised by Anne Webster.
MARCH 2017 -
MARKENFIELD HALL & RIPON CATHEDRAL
The LAOB outing to Markenfield Hall and Ripon Cathedral on 23rd March was a really great day out, helped enormously with blue skies and brilliant sunshine following a really miserably wet day beforehand. Markenfield is credited with being the most unspoiled surviving early fourteenth century house in all England and was originally built for John de Markenfield, an associate of Piers Gaveston and a servant of Edward II. It is something of a hidden gem, tucked away across fields and accessed via a farmtrack, though originally next to an old medieval road, long since disappeared. Upon entering past the old farm buildings we were greeted with a beautiful Tudor Gatehouse and the pretty moat lined with daffodils and graced by a beautiful pair of black swans.
We divided into two groups and with very knowledgeable guides explored the various parts of the house learning about the structure and the history dating from an entry in the Domesday Book (1066). Firstly we visited the Undercroft (originally part of the Hall’s kitchen and storage area) and the splendid Medieval vaulting of the most unusual Utility Room on the ground floor before going upstairs via a very handsome barleytwist staircase. This took us to the Great Hall with such a high ceiling, adorned with bookcases and original paintings. We then visited the Chapel and the Four Poster Bedroom.
In 1150 the estate belonged to the Le Bret family who adopted the name de Markenfield, though variously spelt through the centuries as Merchefeld, Merchingfeld, Merkingfeld€, Merkenfelt, Markinfeud and Markenfe(i)ld. They took part in the Rising of the North in 1569 after which the Hall was confiscated by the Crown. It descended to the 7th Lord Grantley who began a restoration project in 1980 to convert the hall from a farmhouse into a family home.
We then drove on to the CATHEDRAL. Our visit here coincided with a lunchtime cello recital which was well attended and enjoyed. The cathedral has a history dating back to the 7th century with gothic windows dating back to 1220 which look stunning.
Again we were divided into two groups for a fascinating tour of the Cathedral and were able to see the Markenfield Tombs and memorial window. They are the remaining tombs of members of the Markenfield family who lived at Markenfield Hall (where coincidentally we had just visited!). We also noticed the far seat looking towards the Altar from the choir stalls, which depicts a griffon chasing a rabbit, with another rabbit hiding down a hole. We were told by the guide that this is believed to have inspired Lewis Carroll to write Alice In Wonderland, and that Lewis Carroll's father was a Canon there from 1852 - 1868. The wood carver who carved some of the pews in the cathedral, Robert Thompson, left his mark on the carvings in the form of a little mouse. Sounds familiar? Otherwise known as the ‘Mouseman’.
Note to future visit organisers – there are NO public toilets OR café facilities in the Cathedral - but tea, coffee & sandwiches can be purchased to eat during these monthly recitals.
Thank you both, Lynda and Pat, for March’s very interesting write-ups. The visit in April, organised by Rosemary Harrod (with Heather Chappell), will be to Farfield Mill, Nr Sedbergh and the one in May, organised by Anne Webster, to Gawthorpe Hall.
Ruth & Elizabeth
SAMLESBURY HALL The LAOB outing to Samlesbury Hall on 23rd February
was a great success despite the threat of Hurricane Doris. The hall, built in
1322, was very impressive from its black and white exterior to timbered ceilings
and stained glass. Surprisingly, the rear of the hall has brick walls with imposing
chimney stacks. Looking at the building now, it's hard to accept that it that
it was allowed to deteriorate so much that it came close to being demolished
in the 1920's. It's very close to the main road but this in no way detracts
from its ambiance but would come as a huge shock to the previous residents if
they came back to haunt it. It is now managed by a charitable trust. Entry is
free and they rely on donations, sales and the provision of eating places for
the upkeep of the hall as well as weddings, conferences and meetings etc.
Some of the party had booked the guided tour and we were in for a real treat.
The guide, in the persona of a Southworth witch named Janey, was amazing. Remaining
in character throughout, she related the history of the previous owners of the
hall and the trials and tribulations of being catholic under a protestant regime.
From re-enactments, with the assistance of members of our group, we learnt about
priest holes, murders and ghosts. Janey was on the lookout for a rich husband
from amongst the group and was very hands on in her endeavours. She explained
how she associated girth with wealth. She chose my partner John to play the
part of the priest who was hidden in a priest hole in the side of the fireplace
in the entrance hall. From then on, for the rest of the tour, she called him
“Father John”. Being "a priest" probably saved him from being considered
husband material by Janey. That, and the fact that he is so thin that she wouldn't
think he had enough money to put food on the table. Luckily she didn't asked
him to physically get into the hole as I'm sure he would have been too tall.
She was impressed by the way he sprang to his feet from a prone position on
the rug. Eventually the priest's luck ran out and he was arrested and executed
when a servant girl betrayed him
When we moved to the chapel, Janey told the story of Lady Dorothy Southworth
who had accepted a proposal of marriage from the son of a nearby family but
how the young man had been murdered as he wasn't catholic. At this a second
member of the group, playing the secret lover, was killed. Lady Dorothy was
sent to a convent and died of a broken heart. She is said to be the White Lady
who now haunts the hall.
The Southworth family eventually got into such debts, due to being fined for
their adherence to the catholic faith, that they lost the hall. Some of them
even lost their lives.
Some of us lunched in style at a long table in the ancient Banqueting Hall whilst
others sampled the café after which we were free to explore the hall
and grounds by ourselves. The trust allows visitors to sit on the furniture
and touch exhibits. No barriers or roped off areas here. In the hall grounds
there is a café with a seated courtyard for light refreshments. A short
stroll would take you to the menagerie and bees area but due to the inclement
weather, I chose to spend more time inside.
Outside areas might be better appreciated in fine weather. A return visit with
the family in summer perhaps?
Pat DukeMarch visit is to Markenfield Hall & Ripon Cathedral, organised
by Lynda Boyce and it is hoped to have an April visit to Farfield Mill near Sedbergh.
Our visit this month will be to Samlesbury Hall and in March we hope to visit
Markenfield Hall and nearby Ripon Cathedral.
This month we usually aim to book a visiting speaker for an afternoon talk in
the Victoria Hall to be open to all U3A members & others. Unfortunately the
speaker this year had to cancel so after an appeal to all our members for someone
who might be able to step into her shoes at fairly short notice, we were delighted
to welcome Alan Hemsworth who gave us a most interesting and humorous talk entitled
"Inns - Ancient & Modern" featuring mostly local buildings, many
of which now no longer exist in their former roles! Alan is an experienced and
excellent speaker in his own right, always ably supported by his wife Dorothy.
Together they physically research new material & keep up to date their old
material to ensure they are aware of the changing trends in this interesting field.
We are indeed privileged to have such an entertaining speaker as a member of this
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Our November visit was to have been to two working mills near Leeds but this had
to be cancelled because there were not sufficient numbers for the out-of-season
guided tours which both needed a minimum number of subscribers to be viable.
The December meeting is always the U3A Christmas Event in the Victoria Hall at
which I have it on good authority that a great time was had by all.
An extra visit, also in September, was a real action-packed trip to Leeds courtesy
of Saida Simmons. We travelled by train & our first venue was the Leeds Club
established in 1852 as a Gentleman's Club to provide a meeting place for eminent
surgeons and professional business men. Here we were provided with a very nice
complementary finger buffet followed by a conducted tour of the very sympathetically
restored building, with special attention being given to the most impressive Gentlemens
Toilets. Closed in the early 2000s it re-opened to the general public in 2013
as a Conference and Events venue.
We then moved on to the nearby Leeds Library. Opened in 1768, this beautiful building
is the oldest surviving subscription library of its type in the British Isles.
Saida is a present member and we were taken on a tour which included the Old Librarian's
Office which houses very old and rare irreplaceable books. We were very privileged
to be able to handle some of the oldest books in the country. One, published in
1433, was presented to the library in 1839!
Our final venue was Mill Hill Unitarian Chapel right in the heart of the city
where we were fed tea & biscuits whilst a guide gave us a most interesting
resume of the history of this lovely building prior to allowing us then to wander
at will with copious illustrated, comprehensive handouts .Joseph Priestley was
once a minister here and former congregations included many of the forebears of
the late Arthur Lupton who was one of the original members of Settle District
We were pleased once again to welcome a number of new members to this large group
although the planning meeting in September was not well attended. However from
input from those present we have drawn up a rough plan for this seasons visits
and have already visited Lawkland Hall & hope to visit Leeds (October), Armley
Mills Industrial Museum & Thwaite Mills Putty Mill (November), Kipling Hall
(February), Ripon Cathedral/Markenfield Hall (March), Manchester (April), Gawthorpe
Hall (May), Acorn Bank/Salkeld Mill (June) and Rochdale (July). We hope to have
a talk, either just for the group or open to the U3A in January & we don’t
do anything in December because of the U3A Christmas Social Event.
We were pleased once again to welcome a number of new members to this large group although the planning meeting in September was not well attended. However from input from those present we have drawn up a rough plan for this seasons visits and have already visited Lawkland Hall & hope to visit Leeds (October), Armley Mills Industrial Museum & Thwaite Mills Putty Mill (November), Kipling Hall (February), Ripon Cathedral/Markenfield Hall (March), Manchester (April), Gawthorpe Hall (May), Acorn Bank/Salkeld Mill (June) and Rochdale (July). We hope to have a talk, either just for the group or open to the U3A in January & we don’t do anything in December because of the U3A Christmas Social Event.
LAWKLAND HALL was the venue for September’s visit so efficiently organised by Dorothy Hemsworth. On an almost April-like afternoon of sun and downpours we were warmly welcomed in the lovely entrance hall by the current owner of this beautiful Elizabethan family home, Giles Bowring. Many people are unaware of its location here almost on our doorstep and its Catholic connections with the better known Yorke & Ingleby families and with Austwick Hall and it is now a member of the Historic Houses Association which supports Britain’s privately and charitably owned historic houses, castles and gardens.
Dorothy had divided us into two groups to be conducted around the house and to be allowed to wander round the stunning substantial gardens – the province of Felicity, Giles’s wife, herself a horticulturist by profession. Because of the showers each group was able to have an extended time in the lovely dining room where there were laid out for us numerous documents of historical and local interest which we were invited to peruse at leisure whilst still being able to pop out into the gardens between the showers.
This old photo shows a view from the road, Graystoneber Lane, of the central block. There are two wings either side, the East Wing C17 with two storeys and the West Wing C16 with three storeys. This contained a chapel with a chimney flue arranged to accommodate the provision of a Priest hole which can now be viewed through a tough glass pane in the doorway over which to walk into the room. It is known that there was at some time a resident priest.
Unfortunately all the furniture & fittings were sold prior to the start of WWII & we were able to browse their catalogues of sale among all the other documents.
There is an amazing sunken bath in one of the three bathrooms thought to have been a copy of one to be seen in the Hotel Danieli in Venice and there are two original stone lions from Italy in the gardens.
The buildings have been well preserved and some fine mullioned windows which had been removed are beautifully restored.
There are extensive wooded grounds of around 4000 acres and a home farm though previous farms have now been sold and there is a new lake fed from a stream beyond the formal beautiful gardens.
Our visit concluded with tea & biscuits served by Felicity and we would like to record our thanks to them both for their gracious hospitality.
This years meeting will be held on Thursday 22nd September 2016 at 2.00pm in the Castlebergh Room in the Victoria Hall.
All are cordially invited and former members will be able to re-join this group if you did not do this already at the Open Morning but please bring your membership number with you! You must be a member of the Settle District U3A.
We hope you will come with lots of suggestions as to where to go this year. Remember that all ideas are welcome even if we’ve been there before & while there is no obligation to feel that you must organise what you suggest, we would encourage anyone to have a go, maybe together with another member.
Ruth & I will always be pleased to help & support in whatever area is needed.
Thanks for last year’s visits go to Debi Burridge, Margaret & Michael Cullingworth, Rosemary Matheson & Sue Bennedik, Derek & Mary Hewitson and Anne Webster.
Ruth Evans & Elizabeth Evans
The Looking at Old Buildings group visit to Richmond took place on EU Referendum Day, 23 June 2016. Thankfully the only crisis of our day was that all the public loos in town were closed! Our local guide took us straight to the Town Hall where the Mayor, Cllr Russell Lord, welcomed us and showed us the serious and fun features of the Council Chamber. In particular he pointed out the Royal Charter, which must be on view at meetings for decisions made to be legal. He also passed round his historic mayoral gold chain of office for close inspection. Next was a brief history of the town by our guide and a walk to see some of the features - including Friars Wynd, a narrow lane, originally used by townsfolk to get water from the well in Friary Gardens. It also has the remains of an iron rail track used by a local ironmonger to get stock into his premises from the market place. Anecdotes about the houses along Newbiggin rounded off our morning.
After lunch we had a guided tour of the Georgian Theatre Royal (pictured). It is Britain’s most complete Georgian Playhouse and was built by actor-manager Samuel Butler in 1788. In use until 1830 it was then used as an auction room and wine vaults. It wasn’t until 1960 that a public appeal was launched and restoration began. A Grade 1 listed building, it re-opened in 1963. Further major restoration works, including the addition of a museum, began in 2002 and it re-opened once again in 2003. It now has a regular programme of musical and theatrical productions. It is a typical eighteenth-century country playhouse. The seats are arranged in rectangular form: sunken pit, boxes on three sides and a small gallery above. The current seating capacity today of 214 is only half the original number. The furthest seat is under 11m from the stage. Performers and theatre-goers are therefore in very close proximity!
Thanks go to Anne Webster for organising a fascinating day and beautiful weather and to the drivers who took us there when reduced numbers meant a coach wasn’t a viable option.
On 26th May 2016 the visit was organised by Mary & Derek Hewitson to the Lion Salt Works Museum at Marston, near Northwich in Cheshire. The Lion Salt Works opened in 1894 and finally closed in 1986 and was owned by the Thomson family. The museum is fascinating and has been left in its original condition, being made safe and accessible for visitors, including disabled.
We were taken on an excellent guided tour where we experienced the conditions in which the men, women and children worked, seeing the original lead pans and learning how the brine was dried and a replica of the Manager’s Office and the Pub on the site of which the works were built. We were also shown how the buildings were liable to subsidence and were shored up by adding more layers of bricks. There are still myriad tunnels underground which are used for archive storage etc.
The site is at the side of the Trent & Mersey Canal along which the salt was transported by barge to the ports for distribution around the World. Across the canal the site of the large Adelaide works was pointed out and this disappeared completely due to subsidence and is now covered by water.
Margaret & Michael Cullingworth
The star of our last week’s visit to Appleby Castle was undoubtedly Bibbys of Ingleton! Not only did our 16-seater coach have about 30 seats but John its driver went the extra mile for us providing superb toilet support rescuing what could have been a disastrous event. The Castle is great & will become greater but at present forgets to factor in weather & the needs of group visitors! Once we were warm & dry & in useful dialogue with the owner, Sally Nightingale, we were able to visit, in addition to the two Great Halls, the top of the Round Tower, the Dungeons & some of the magnificent bedrooms, the State one of which has walls completely lined by 400 year old tapestry & with 6 others is now bookable for Guest Accommodation & was laid out ready for immediate occupation. Originally a motte & bailey castle from Roman times it still has a moat & there are still 30ft deep ditches in places. We were also given a demonstration & try-on of many different styles of armour by one of the very enthusiastic guides. This is the only occupied one of Lady Anne Cliffords 6 northern castles & she commissioned a great many expensive changes when she inherited it in 1605.
On a cold, wet 24th March 2016 the LAOB group visited the Bronte Parsonage Museum, which this year celebrates the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Bronte's birth. The Parsonage was for many years the home of the Bronte family and houses a fine collection of original artefacts, literature, letters and paintings and a display telling the history of the talented but doomed children.
After lunch, our guided tour around the village took us to the graveyard, where an estimated 40,000 bodies are buried, past the Old School Room and the Black Bull pub, where Branwell Bronte sank into alcoholism, and to the path which leads to the moors where the sisters loved to walk. We began to appreciate how the character of the village and particularly the atmospheric landscape may have influenced the work of the remarkable Bronte sisters whose books are world famous.
Thanks to Rosemary Matheson & Sue Bennedik for organising this visit.
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December 2015/January 2016
For our November meeting, 26 members went to Bradford to see the Victorian Undercliffe Cemetery, bought for £5 by a builder who in addition to making use of some of the gravestones had plans to build houses on the site. Planning permission refused, the cemetery was saved from neglect and vandalism by local residents and providing a tranquil green “lung” for the city. At the Sunbridge Wells underground project we visited neglected Victorian buildings and cellars undergoing transformation into a “Victorian Centre” which will host independent shops and businesses. Many interesting features including a spiral staircase, brewing jars, a prison cell and original quarry walls will be incorporated into the new centre. Hopefully the cellars where the Beatles once performed in the 1960s will soon be filled again with music and people.
Our final visit of the day was to the Midland Hotel. now beautifully restored. A feature of the bar was a large mural with a view of Forster Square as it was in the middle of last century, with trams and trolley buses, railway vehicles and a horse pulling a cart loaded with wool, the sacks labelled 'Isaac Holden', one of the mill owners whose family memorial we had been inspecting earlier in the day. We were then taken to see two restored ballrooms and two very large and comfortable bedrooms, leaving the Hotel through the listed 'Victorian Tunnel', the original entrance to the Hotel from the concourse of Forster Square Station, now gone.
A 33-seater Bibby's coach has been booked for the next visit of the "Looking
at Old Buildings" group on Thursday 26th November 2015. Leaving the Settle
Cricket Club Car Park at 8.50am we are bound first for the Victorian Undercliffe
Cemetery at Bradford where Mr Neil McLellan will conduct a guided tour, the
cost for which is £3.00 per person.
From there we will be driven to the car park of the Midland Hotel where a tour,
with complimentary tea & coffee, has been arranged for about 2.15pm. We
expect to leave from there at about 4.00pm.
However, for those who may have already been to the Midland & may not want
to repeat that & for any others with enough stamina to fit in something
between these two (maybe with a quick sandwich on the coach to sustain them
beforehand) we are privileged to be able to have a tour of the new SunbridgeWells
underground development currently being built under the centre of Bradford.
Originally this area is thought to have been some sort of quarry as early as
the 13th century, dungeons in the 17th century, air-raid centres, a brewery,
magistrates courts, merchants, cellar bars (one of which hosted the Beatles
in the 60s) & other ventures. When completed it will be a Victorian Centre
hosting small shops & businesses - a great tourist boost for Bradford.
The cost of the coach will be £13.00 & we await further details regarding
cost for the SunbridgeWells tour.
Please contact Elizabeth 01729 825148, 07779 548918 or email@example.com
for further details.
17 members visited the village of Linton in Craven on Thursday 22nd October.
The village is a Medieval settlement but most houses date from the 17th century.
The 'yeoman' farm houses are set around a green on either side of a beck with
5 crossing places - a ford, 3 bridges and some stepping stones. The name is
derived from the Anglo-Saxon word Lin - flax - and Tun - farmstead. The most
striking building is the Grade II* Fountaine's Hospital, ascribed to Sir John
Vanbrugh and/or his associate Nicholas Hawksmoor. The founder was Richard Fountaine,
born in Linton in 1639, who was a timber merchant and made his money after the
Plague and the Great Fire of London. He became an alderman of the City of London,
and left money at his death in 1721 for an almshouse to be built the village
of his birth. A charity was set up which maintains the building and chapel.
During a walk around the green the group noted the walled midden (now a garden)
by one house, the former home of the Yorkshire writer Halliwell Sutcliffe, (featured
in the film 'Calendar Girls') and the sundial on the green designed by Sir Clough
The group then drove to see the church of St Michael and All Angels down by
the River Wharfe. This is a lovely building with a long history going back before
Saxon times. From Medieval to Victorian times there were two Rectors and two
congregations worshipping here at separate times because of differences of opinions!
Inside the church there is a very good display about the history and outside
some fascinating tombstones. One is to a two year old boy who died after developing
pneumonia when he had played Cupid in the nude in a procession in Grassington.
And another to two brothers who were famed for their singing.
Click here for Michael's photos
Thursday 22nd October
A gentle walk of about an hour to an hour and a half around Linton near
Grassington looking at the buildings, in particular Fountaine's Hospital and
the church. Meet at the Cricket Club at 10am to share cars. There is a good
pub in the village, tea shops in Grassington, or one in nearby Hebden, or at
Airton on the way back. We're going in the morning to make the most of the shorter
Debi Burridge 01729 825922, 07763973379, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
It was good to have ideas from different members at our planning meeting on
Thursday. We were pleased too to welcome some of our new members and we now
have potential visits for the session up until August 2016. Some are visits
the group has done in previous years, which some former members may have missed
but would like to have another opportunity to enjoy.
There is a general feeling that members prefer travel by coach and that if
the journey may be more than about an hour away we might take advantage of other
venues in the vicinity. An example being a visit to Preston in August when we
hope to visit the Harris Museum and the Avenham and Miller Parks. Other venues
are Appleby Castle; Bradford Midland Hotel with possibly the Sunbridge underground
tunnels due to open shortly or the Undercliffe Cemetery; Bramhope Puritan Chapel
plus Adel church; another visit to Manchester where last year the John Rylands
Library proved to have far more to offer than we were able accomplish in our
visit; talk/tour/walk at the Haworth Bronte Parsonage Museum; Quarry Bank Mill
& Styal village; The Lion Salt works at Northwich; Richmond Georgian Theatre;
Some of the Lake District's Mills.
We look forward to meeting the rest of our new members for what looks to be
a great year ahead!
Ruth and Elizabeth
Visit to Leighton Hall on Thursday 27th August 2015
26 members and guests visited this beautifully situated hall in brilliant autumn
sunshine. A Georgian house built in 1763, it was refaced in 1822 in the Gothic
style. It is still lived in by a descendant of the owner of the original house
built on the site in 1246 which was burnt down in 1715 when the owner supported
the "wrong side" in the Jacobean Rebellion. The house became the family
home of the Gillow family (world renown top class furniture makers and furnishing
designers) in 1822 and still contains some beautiful examples of Gillow furniture
including a magnificent mahogany expanding dining table.
An interesting house, with lovely gardens, a great view of the lake district
(on a good day) and a falconry display included in the price, and a teashop
on site. We enjoyed a very warm, friendly welcome and would recommend a visit
to the Hall to anyone who simply enjoys a relaxed afternoon out.
Our 3rd annual 'walk-around' visit organised by Hilary Baker for July was to
Clapham where we had a different experience in that instead of seeing it from
an architectural viewpoint we saw it through the amazingly detailed historical
'eye' of Ken Pearce who kindly stepped in when James Innerdale became unable
to be with us. Ken's knowledge-gained in just around ten years-is phenomenal
& we had an excellent tour.
The August LAOB visit on 27th will be to Leighton Hall which is about 3 miles
from Junction 35 on the M6. Nita Hart is arranging this visit which will be
on a car-sharing basis as she has not had enough enquiries to warrant hiring
a coach. If you can offer/would like a lift, please contact her on 01729 830299.
The cost for the tour will be £6.95 not including the U3A 50p! There will
be a more detailed notice in next week's newsletter & any further information
will available at the General U3A Meeting in the Victoria Hall at 10.30am on
Thursday 13th August.
Our June visit will be a guided tour/talk at the Folly in Settle. Alison Armstrong,
an authority regarding this building, will be our host.
It is on Thursday 25th June at 10.00am, and will cost £2.50 (including
U3A 50p). They will kindly provide tea and biscuits for which donations will
be much appreciated.
As they can accommodate only 30 people, requests to be included will be on a
first-come first-served basis so please contact me as soon as possible if you
would like to go.
Elizabeth 01729 825146
Last week's LAOB visit to Blackwell Arts & Craft House was a lovely experience.
Organised most efficiently by John & Linda Lister we were blessed with a
glorious sunny day so that we were able to really appreciate the peace and harmony
outside as well as the beauty and simplicity in the house.
The next visit has been arranged by Sally Edwards and will take us by coach
to Manchester on Thursday 28th May where two tours have been arranged:
to the John Rylands Library and the Victorian Swimming Baths.
We leave the Cricket Club Car Park at 9.20am arriving at the library for 11.05am
and then from there at 1.15pm. And we leave for home at 3.30pm to arrive in
Settle at approximately 5.15pm.
- Coach £13-£15 depending on numbers - not including driver's
tip at £1.00?
- Entrances Library free but suggested donation of £1.00 pp
- Victoria Baths £5.00pp
- Optional food/drink £1.50 for tea/coffee & biscuits at Baths (if
Lunches are available at the library if pre-ordered but there are cafes
All money (max £22.00 for all options & including U3A 50p)
is required by May 14th at the Thursday monthly speaker meeting which Sally
will be attending. Please contact her for further details, to book a place and
to choose your options.
March Visit to Heron Corn Mill at Beetham on Thursday 26th March 2015.
Built in 1740 this is a Grade 11 listed, working Corn Mill which also has a
Turbine driving an electricity generator. Both will be demonstrated.
A coach has been booked & the total cost of the visit is £15 which
includes coach fare, admission & refreshments.
The coach will leave Settle Cricket Club at 10.00am, returning at around 3.00pm.
Jim (Woodward-Nutt) would appreciate your payments in advance and can be contacted
on 01729 851808 if you require further details.
Two visits have been arranged for the meeting on Thursday 26th February 2015,
the first starting at 2.00pm:
1) Castlebergh Masonic Lodge, Chapel Square, Settle (formerly the Sunday School
for the Methodist Chapel) to be shown around by the Grand Master, John Fox.
We will then move on to:
2) The Old Court House, Station Road, Settle which is now home to the Settle
Amateur Operatic Society, where we will meet the President of the Society, John
Reid. (Please note that there are a lot of steps leading up to this building).
The total cost will be £5.00 per head (which includes the U3A 50p. charge)
to be paid in advance either to myself, to Alan Hemsworth or to Elizabeth Evans.
Dorothy Hemsworth (Tel: 01729 823902)
The January meeting this month, arranged by Alan Hemsworth, is open to all
because there is to be a speaker in the Victoria Hall at 2.00pm.
Jean Robinson will tell us all about the recent exciting excavations that have
taken place at Raikes Road Burial Ground in Skipton, which is a Victorian Cemetery
that has been undisturbed and neglected for many years. This should be a most
interesting talk. Please encourage as many as possible to join us.
We will be making a charge of £1 for members and non-members alike.
go to the top
The arrangements for the visit to Temple Newsam on Thursday 23rd October are
now confirmed. The coach will leave Settle Cricket Club Car Park at 11.00am,
picking up from Long Preston Maypole Green at 11.15, Hellifield end of
Hammerton Drive at 11.20 & from the exit at Booths car park, Ilkley at 12noon
& arriving about 12.30 so allowing time for food & viewing the Grayson
Perry exhibition if desired, before the guided tour Hidden Temple
Newsam which has been re-arranged for 2.30pm & lasts for ¾
hours. The House, Farm & Grayson Perry exhibition are all self-guided but
we are advised that the latter needs viewing before the tour as the light will
be too poor afterwards.
Any outstanding money will be collected by Elizabeth on the outward journey.
Money for the Synagogue visit in November will be collected by Ruth on the return
journey. We plan to leave no later than 5.00pm.
Those travelling independently (5 people)will need to identify themselves by
name at the Reception in the Great Hall of the house to be admitted but there
are no actual tickets for the Group although those visiting the Farm (6 people)
will need to obtain a ticket for this at the same time as the group is admitted
- again from Reception in the Great Hall.
There are limited toilets in the house but lots of toilets in the central courtyard
area and toilets in the café too. There are lifts in the house but not
to the 3rd floor where the Grayson Perry exhibition is, & a stair-climber
which goes upwards in the house but not downwards.
The café is open until 2.30 for hot food and until 4.30 for drinks,
cakes & pre-packed sandwiches.
There are still 4 spare places on the coach so please contact me on 01729 825148,
07779 548918 or email@example.com
if you would like to join us.
Our recent planning meeting marked an encouraging start to the new session
when future visits to Temple Newsam (currently being organised for 23rd October),
a synagogue near Leeds, Raikes Road Burial Ground at Skipton, The Masonic Lodge
& Zion Chapel in Settle, Heron Corn Mill at Beetham, Blackwell Arts Centre
at Bowness, Manchester Victorian Swimming Baths & Town Hall, a visit around
West Burton, Braithwaite Hall in Coverdale(private NT property), Blackpool Tower
Ballroom, and Thornton-Cleveleys Windmill were all up for discussion and adopted
by various volunteers for investigation for the rest of this years programme.
It was good to welcome some new U3A members too. Ruth Evans & Elizabeth
The first meeting is on Thursday 25th September 2014 at 2.00pm in the Victoria
Hall. This will be a Planning Meeting to which all members are invited.
For this group to continue, we need people to come to that meeting with ideas
of places to visit, even places that may have been visited in the past. We will
be looking for people to organise trips which would include advertising it in
the newsletter, being the point of contact and making all the arrangements that
would be necessary for that trip.
The group meets on the fourth Thursday in the month so events should be arranged
on those dates if possible a list of which you will have already received
We look forward to meeting you on 25th September.
& Elizabeth (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The next meeting is on Thursday 22 May, and will consist of a visit to Holgate
Windmill, York, which is one of the few 5-sail working windmills still operating
and producing flour - which can be bought at the mill. The cost of the visit
is £3 and places are limited.
So I would like the money in advance, please. The visit is planned to start
at 11.00am, which will mean leaving Settle by 9.15, as the driving time is 1½
hours. The mill is in Windmill Rise, but we are asked to park in Acomb Road
(B1224) and walk through the footpath (2 mins).
People requiring transport, please let me know. I will provide a map on request.
After the mill visit, you may care to visit the railway museum, which is only
a short distance away.
30 Newton Way, Hellifield.
The meeting on 24th. April will be a guided tour of St Mary's Church, Whalley.
The present building, dating from the 13th. cent., replaces the original 6th.
cent. church on this site,from which some stonework and ancient crosses remain.
We will meet at the church at 2 p.m. Tea/Coffee and biscuits will be available
after the tour. There is no parking at the church ( BB7 9SY). There is a large
car park a short distance away across the main road.
Any queries please contact me on 01729 840 319. Joan Schofield.
Update for the Looking at Old Buildings Group
Because no-one has come forward to act as co-ordinator there will be no meetings
in January and February 2014.
March - Wendy and Clive Newby have arranged a visit to St John's Church in Lancaster.
April - Joan Schofield is arranging a visit to a building of interest in Whalley
May - a visit to Holgate Mill in York with Jim Woodward-Nutt
June 26 - a walk around Burnsall with James Innerdale organised by Hilary Baker
July - Michael Cullingworth is arranging a visit to Astley Hall
August - Margaret Cullingworth is arranging a visit to Lothersdale Mill
September - Ann Sadaghiani is looking at a trip to see various buildings in
So far nothing for Oct, but the usual planning meeting in Nov.
If you are interested in any of these, look out for further information in
the newsletter, on the website or at the monthly speaker meeting. Or maybe someone
will offer to become the co-ordinator! Please will organisers collect 50p from
everyone who attends and deliver the total to John Parry, the Treasurer.
Debi Burridge (if all else fails you can ring me for information! 01729 825922)
Looking at Old Buildings: Thursday 27th March 2014 at
"A boom-time church for a rich city parish" is how St John
the Evangelist has been described.
We have arranged a guided tour around the Church of St John the Evangelist
in Lancaster. Our Guide, Mandy Holten, works for The Churches Conservation Trust
and has a wealth of knowledge about Lancaster as well as St John's. There is
no set charge but a contribution to the work of CCT would be much appreciated.
St John's can be found on the junction of North Road and Chapel Street, LA1
1PA for those with Satnav. It is a very short walk from Cable Street Car
Park and about half a mile from the railway station.
Wendy and Clive Newby
Something different this month! A tour of the Undercliffe Cemetery in Bradford.
Undercliffe Cemetery is a Grade 11* English Heritage listed site in the Parks
and Gardens of Special Historic Interest category. Undercliffe Cemetery was
opened in 1854, contains 23,000 graves and holds a total of 124,000 burials.
The Cemetery offers unrivalled opportunities to appreciate the finest examples
of Victorian funerary art set within the original design of this 26 acre parkland.
Undercliffe offers good vantage points and fine panoramic views across the city
of Bradford and out over the Aire Valley.
We meet at the Lodge which is on the Undercliffe Lane entrance at 2pm on Thursday
22nd August. The Tour lasts between 1 hour and 1.5 hours and consists of a short
historical overview at a central point followed by a guided walk around the
cemetery with perhaps 10-12 stopping places each of which has a point of interest.
The cost is £3 per person and there is plenty of parking onsite. The paths
are fairly level. Sadly there isn't a cafe.
Please let me know if you are going (by Monday August 12th), as I need to let
the guide know numbers beforehand, and also if you need/can offer a lift. Debi
The July visit is on Thursday 25 July to Smithells Hall, Bolton, entry £2.
This will be a self-guided tour. The hall is open from 10 am to 3 pm. so I suggest
that we meet in the Cricket Club Car Park at 9.30 am to car share.The journey
is approximately 45 miles and I have planned a route that avoids Darwen and
takes you through some beautiful countryside. Please let me know if you would
like details in advance (01729 823978). The hall dates back to the 16th Century
and stands in parkland, where you can picnic.
Unfortunately there is no cafe, only a coffee/tea machine.
Looking at Old Buildings Thursday 27th June 2013
The June outing will be to Gawthorpe Hall.This is a fascinating Elizabethan
hall once owned by the Shuttleworth family and also home to the Shuttleworth
We will meet at 2pm at the main entrance. There is a cafe for sandwiches cake
and coffee open from 12 noon.If you could inform me as to who is going it would
be a great help and also if anybody needs a lift please contact John Lister
01729 824344 or mailto:email@example.com
Hope to see you at Gawthorpe Hall Burnley Road Padiham BB12 BUA
On May 23rd James Innerdale, a conservation architect, is going to take us on
"A Walk round Dent", looking at the old buildings in the
village. We meet James at 2pm at the National Park car park in the village.
This should be a really interesting meeting and I have ordered good weather!
It would help to have an idea of numbers so please could you let me know if
you intend to come (01729 840609) Also same number if you need a lift. Hope
to see you in Dent. Hilary Baker
Outline of future visits:-
June - York, Hilary Baker
July - Bolton, black and white Halls,
August - Undercliffe Cemetary, Bradford guided
tour, Debi Burridge
September - Hoghton Tower, Blackburn, Shirley
October - Cliffe Castle, Keighley, Debi Burridge
Look out for further details of these nearer the time in the newsletter and
on the website.