The lighthouse and the sea at Orford Ness

Settle Stories archive gets funding 


Mention the word “archive” and you may think of musty documents and fading pictures in a darkened room.  

But thanks to £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), a new archive being set up by Settle Stories will let students and fans of the Yorkshire Dales go on-line to hear stories about what life was like when the oldest among them were young.

These vivid word-of-mouth memories of a recently past age were recorded starting in the 1940s. When Bill Mitchell joined The Dalesman magazine, his editor told him to put people before things. This he did by recording hundreds of hours of interviews with the men and women of the Yorkshire Dales which formed the basis for his written work. This library of recordings, once digitised, will enable a new generation not only to read history - but listen to it!

Bill Mitchell was born in Skipton in 1928. After gaining journalistic experience on the Craven Herald, he joined The Dalesman in 1948, later becoming editor. He retired in 1988, but continued to write about Yorkshire, producing over 100 books, and many articles for other journals and local newspapers. In 1996 he was awarded the MBE, and, in the same year, the University of Bradford awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters. WR Mitchell is a well known figure in Settle and Yorkshire. These recorded interviews from the 1980s and 90s capture a social and cultural history which is dying out. Many of the people interviewed have now died.

Commenting on the award, Settle Stories Director, Sita Brand, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. It will allow young people to learn about their Yorkshire heritage and will make the archive available and accessible to future generations.”

Explaining the importance of the HLF support, the head of the HLF Yorkshire, Fiona Spiers, said: “This is an excellent project for the community of Settle and the Yorkshire Dales. It will make available a significant, but hidden archive of Yorkshire to the public, allowing them to have access to a window on the past and learn from days gone as well as provide training and skills in research and archiving for local volunteers.”

Notes to editors

Settle Stories Ltd.
Settle Stories exists to lift the spirit, engage the mind and stimulate the imagination as well as build community through stories and storytelling. We promote and encourage excellence in traditional and modern forms of storytelling through the annual storytelling festival in October as well as workshops and artist residencies. We collect and document stories including life stories, and storytelling techniques. We nurture a storytelling in the community through our regular storytelling club.

Further information
For images and interviews, please contact
Sita Brand at Settle Stories on 07748 960 776 or

JE York, copyright Bill Mitchell 
JE York. Copyright Bill Mitchell