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Dr Arthur Raistrick – Craven Herald 12 April 91

Arthur Raistrick - Craven Herald
12 Apr 1991 Craven Herald Raistrick

The world of Geology has lost one of its most respected members with the death of 94-year-old Arthur Raistrick

Until recently he had lived at Home Croft, Linton, but died in Skipton on Tuesday.

Born in Saltaire, he was educated at Bradford Grammar School, and held several degrees including a M.Sc and a Ph.D in civil engineering and geology from Leeds University, and two honorary doctorates.

He started his research into mining in 1924, and published his first scientific paper on the glaciation of Borrowdale Cumbria the following year. His first book was entitled “Two Centuries of Industrial Welfare”.

A former reader in applied geology at King’s College, Newcastle (University of Durham), he had several works published, covering numerous aspects of the North of England and was engaged in research right up until his death.

Dr. Raistrick was also a lecturer for the Workers’ Educational Association many for years, and having researched most of England’s coal mines, had a deep understanding of miners and a kinship with them.

Lead mining was another consuming interest on which he was an acknowledged authority.

He held several honours, dating back many years. He was a fellow of the Geological Society, which presented him with the Lyell and Clough geology awards and a silver medal for his work on coal seams.

The Society’s Yorkshire group awarded him the Sorby medal for his study of the optical properties of rocks and minerals, and he was the first recipient of a distinguished service medal presented by the local Archaeological Society

A member of the Northern Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Raistrick had close connections with several museums, including ones in Skipton, Settle, Earby and Coalbrookedale in Shopshire.

He was also interested in the countryside, serving on the Yorkshire Dales Park Planning Committee, and was President of the county Ramblers Association and president and recorder of the Upper Wharfedale Field Society for many years.

Music was his other love. As a youth, he learnt the organ, travelling great distances to attend recitals, and made a study of Bach and his organ works. He was also a much-respected Quaker.

Paying tribute to him, former editor of The Dalesman Mr. Bill Mitchell writes: “I will miss Arthur Raistrick’s friendly smile, and the smile that greeted me when I called to see him at the barn he had converted into an attractive house at Linton.

“I will also miss being allowed to share titbits of information from his astonishing knowledge of Dales life. I never came away without having something extraordinary to mull over.

“Once, it was his views on the name Wild Boar for a fell above in Mallerstang. Another time, it was a recollection of Handel Parker playing his hymn tune ‘Deep  Harmony.’

“He has left behind an awesome amount of written work on the Dales, all of it profound He expected others to attain his high standards. I feel a numbing sensation in my brain when l think of letters from him – letters that were critical of something that had appeared in The Dalesman

“Quite often they were critical of what I had written and he once took several pages to put forward his views (adverse) on tape recording. There was a short sharp letter to Clapham when The Dalesman published its first and only cigarette advertisement.

“On the other hand he offered us articles, series of articles, even books, without thought of a fee or royalty payment to help when we were facing straitened times during and just after the war.

“For years, the door of Home Croft, Linton, was answered by his wife, Elizabeth, herself no mean historian and most skilled at recording her researches. Arthur might be heard tapping on his typewriter in what must seams have been the smallest study in Craven. He had been up for hours listening to classical music on record. He went early to this bed.

“Quaker, geologist, historian, author, photographer, rambler, lecturer -there was no end to Arthur Raistrick’s talents. He was, above all, a man of strong personality. Happily he had over 90 years of lucidity in which to remember, then record the outstanding events of a quite astonishing life.”

A memorial meeting for him is being arrange, but as yet a date is not known. Dr. Raistrick is survived by a daughter and grandson; his wife having died some years ago.

Lifelong Romance with the Dales – Yorkshire Post 13 April 91

MARIANNE MACDONALD looks back at a devoted campaigners contribution to the Yorkshire countryside

Dr Arthur Raistrick, the man who idolised the Yorkshire Dales for their powers of spiritual renewal and who devoted his life to their preservation, has died, aged 94.

He had enjoyed a lifelong romance with the Yorkshire countryside. It was his proud boast that he had never taken a holiday outside it in more than 40 years, apart from teaching trips with students.

Although Dr Raistrick was born at Saltaire, his roots were firmly in the Dales. On his mother’s side ran the blood of the Swaledale sheep men. But on his father’s side came the sinewy blood of miners who once battled for existence in remote Pennine hamlets.

When he was a small boy, Arthur Raistrick discovered the Dales in walks with his father. He would take him tramping over limestone tops and wooded valleys. At night, the pair would sleep in barns or call for a night’s lodging at the house of a relative – a Bell, Ryder, Stockdale or Peacock.

During his formative days at Bradford Grammar School, and later at Leeds University -where he finished an MSc and a PhD-his one insistent urge was to get away to the Dales.

Dr Raistrick lived at Home Croft. a converted barn at Linton-in-Craven, near Grassington, dating back to the 16th century and overlooking Rylstone Fell.

Arthur Raistrick
Arthur Raistrick

Until her death 18 years ago, he shared it with his wife, Sarah Elizabeth, a former lecturer at Leeds University. He leaves a daughter and a grandson.

Throughout his life, Dr Raistrick had walked, celebrated, and campaigned for the Dales – book after book detailing the histories, customs, geology and industries that flourish in their midst.

Other writings reveal another interest -such as The Natural Origin of Coal and Coal Seams, which became a standard textbook. For Dr Raistrick was a senior lecturer and then a researcher in geology at King’s College, Newcastle for almost 30 years.

He was also much involved with Bradford and Leeds Universities – both of which awarded him honorary doctorates.

But Dr Raistrick’s literary life’s work was a study of the Pennines from the Aire to the Tyne, a theme chosen as a schoolboy. His many other books included The Pennine Dales, The History of Lead Mining in the Pennines and Quakers in Science and Industry.

“The Tops! The wonderful windy moors where a man can stride off in any direction with on a dry-wall to surmount in his striding”

He was an expert in the prehistoric remains of the Pennines as well as the area’s industrial legacy, and led digs and studies in many parts of the Dales. In 1971 the Yorkshire Geological Society recognised his work with the award of the Sorby Medal.

To keep up his prodigious output, Arthur Raistrick thought nothing of rising at 4.30 each morning to start writing at five o’clock. At 72 he was still lecturing at Leeds University and working in adult education.

Not surprisingly, he was also actively involved in rambling organisations. A former president of Ramblers’ Association, he was also a vice-president of the Youth Hostel Association, which he saw as a real and important link between town and country.

In 1973, addressing ramblers at a rally in his role as president of the Holiday Fellowship an organisation running guest houses and youth centres, Arthur Raistrick memorably pledged his lifelong love for the countryside.

“To know, to love, and to cherish and explore the countryside is one of the surest ways to a balanced spirit to spiritual renewal and physical well-being,” he said.

He supported the National Parks for making beauty freely available and was a member of the first National Park committee for West Yorkshire arid also the first president of Craven Pothole Club.

A Quaker from birth, Arthur Raistrick always had decided views which landed him in jail as a conscientious objector during Kaiser’s War. But his strongest feelings remained for the Dales.

He made it his task to fight against the presentation of a modern sundial to his home village, Linton-in-Craven praised as “loveliest village in the North” In 1950, in what is now an almost forgotten scandal, Dr Raistrick asked why they wanted to install a modern sundial in a village celebrated for its untouched beauty. “Why spoil it with something modern?” he asked.

For himself, modernity was to be avoided. He described the television·as “that thing”, rarely listened to the radio and did not own a car. As far as he was concerned those who drove could not walk across the Dales. “But there’s the glory!” he would exclaim. “The tops! The wonderful windy moors where a man can stride off in any direction with only a dry-wall to surmount in his striding!”

Nor will the Dales and their people soon forget the striding figure of one of their greatest supporters and scholars, the much-loved, deeply mourned, Arthur Raistrick.

Dales Campaigner leaves £193,723 – 17 June 1991

THE Yorkshire Dales campaigner and author, Dr Arthur Raistrick, who died in April at the age of 94, left £193,723 (£192,326 net) in his will.

Dr Raistrick, of Home Croft; Linton, Skipton, was a lifelong campaigner for the preservation of the Dales and wrote numerous books detailing its history, geology and industry.

He was also a former president of the Ramblers’ Association, to which he left £500.

Other bequests were £1,000 to Bradford University of Peace Studies and £500 each to the Retreat Hospital York and the Skipton Preparative Meeting of Friends and the Salvation Army.

A Life Well Lived: How Allan was dedicated to our great heritage

Craven Herald 13 June 2019

Whilst this article is primarily related to Allan Butterfield, it explains how he worked with and was influenced by Dr Raistrick.

It is thanks to people like Allan Butterfield and Dr Arthur Raistrick that many artefacts from the Dales’ industrial past have been preserved for posterity. Their research and recording of the rapidly vanishing remains of the lead mining industry – on show in a Hawes museum – was carried out in all weathers and most weekends. By Colin Speakman

13 Jun 2019 Chimney Grassington Moor Craven Herald

Smelt mill chimney on Grassington Moor – renovated by the Earby Mines Research Group

WITH the death in April of Allan Butterfield, at the age of 79, the Yorkshire Dales has lost a remarkable ambassador.

Born in Glusburn, Allan didn’t have the advantage of formal higher education, being a printer by trade, but from his teenage years onwards had an enduring passion for the Yorkshire Dales He became a lifelong member of Cross Hills Naturalists and soon Craven Pothole Club – in 2004 its president.

But it was with Cross Hills Naturalists that Allan first starting going on rail and coach excursions to the Dales and beyond, learning about the natural environment, Dales history, geology, botany and soon his abiding passion, industrial archaeology.

Whilst he was largely self-taught, though remarkably well read in Dales history and geology, Allan was an example of a rapidly vanishing breed of people once known as “working class intellectuals”, thirsty for knowledge and discovering more about history and their local environment through their own efforts and continuing research.

In his twenties he was fortunate enough to meet and become a close associate of the founder of Industrial Archaeology in Britain — Dr Arthur Raistrick, of Linton, near Grassington.

Raistrick, a president of the Ramblers, early member of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Committee, and founder member of the Upper Wharfedale Field Society and the Yorkshire Dales Society, was one of the great historians of the Dales.

He encouraged Allan and his colleagues, ordinary working men mainly from the East Lancashire area, to form what became known as the Earby Mines Research Group.

They spent their time researching and carefully recording the rapidly vanishing remains of the Dales lead mine industry, which had once been the huge, dominant industrial activity in Upper Wharfedale, Upper Nidderdale; Swaledale, and even parts of Wensleydale.

They also worked physically to restore some of the remains as great monuments to this vanished industrial age — flues, crushing floors, peat stores, engine houses, buddles and bouse teams and restored several smelt mill chimneys such as the one that served the calamine mill on moorland near Low Trenhouse, above Malham.

Under the direction of “Doc”, as Raistrick was affectionately known, on countless weekends, in all season and all weathers, research group members, or “The Earby Gang” as they were known, would be seen out in wilder parts of Swaledale or on Grassington Moor, with Dr Raistrick, in his familiar grey wool suit and black boots, and with “a few bags of cement”.

If you asked them why they were doing this tough work, weekend after weekend, they would reply that if they didn’t save this heritage no-one else would.

A notable example is the magnificent smelt mill chimney on Grassington Moor restored by the Earby Gang.

Dr Raistrick once recalled how the Gang tested the old flue system by burning a couple of tyres in the flues — with such success black smoke coming from the great chimney could be seen for miles around and the fire brigade was called.

Doc and the Earby Gang were nowhere to be seen when the fire engine arrived.

Many of the great artefacts too precious to leave on site for the weather and vandals to destroy were carefully collected and catalogued and brought to what became the fascinating Earby Mines Museum housed in the old Grammar School in Earby.

The first life member of the Yorkshire Dales Society, Allan frequently led walks around local lead mines remains and gave well informed and illustrated talks.

Allan had a distinctive lecturing style enriched with his lovely Yorkshire dialect, and invariably wearing his battered hat even when giving a lecture to a learned audience.

Sadly, falling visitor numbers, rising costs and the infirmities of old age caused the Earby Mines Museum to close in 2015.

Thankfully Allan and his colleagues persuaded the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes to accept and care for a total of 860 objects from this nationally important collection, which is now in the process of being housed in expanded premises.

13 June 2019 Alan Buttershaw Craven Herald

Earby Gang member Alan Butterfield exploring Swaledale’s Mining Heritage

This is thanks to a £90,000 Heritage Lottery grant and generous donations from the National Park Authority itself and from several individuals and groups.

The prize exhibit must surely be the great Providence Mill waterwheel and double-roller ore crusher from Kettlewell, the finest surviving example of its kind in the country.

Thankfully, only a few months before he died, Allan spent a day with museum director Fiona Rosher discussing the collection and his many memories.

This collection in the Dales Countryside Museum will be a lasting tribute to Dr Arthur Raistrick and his talented group of followers.

But maybe the most enduring memorial to Allan and the Earby Gang is to be found high on Grassington Moor. The great smelt mill chimney, a huge, visible-from-afar landmark and symbol of a long vanished industry and human story that is no more – but whose memory is preserved and was made tangible through the work and dedication, over many decades, by people-like Alan Butterfield.