Sunday, 28 February 2010

2. Setting up the Doc Research Group – September 2009

In order to inform the field survey which was planned to begin in the New Year 2010, the Documentary Research Group was established in the autumn of 2009. Local Embsay residents were invited to join us for this, and a small but enthusiastic group formed, which is now very actively engaged in gathering a wide range of primary sources which may help us to better understand the history of the Whitfield Mill, and the development of industrial activity within the village, as well as up on the moor above.

On 29 September 2009, the new group made an exploratory walk around the Whitfield Mill site. We found plenty to think about, and several questions and issues were raised about the Mill, the development of the village and the impact of human activity on the landscape.

Our interest lies in the history of this area before 1900. Ten years ago a very comprehensive project was carried out by another local group who produced a range of resources to celebrate the Millennium, in which they traced the history of the parish during the Twentieth century. The results of this fascinating work can be seen in copies of their files now held at the Skipton Public Reference Library, including Monika Butler’s detailed account of the building of Embsay Reservoir at the beginning of the century (1900-1910).

Jane Lunnon, UWHG Archivist

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