Monday, 20 January 2014

Inspired Men: The founders of Ryedale Folk Museum

As we celebrate our 50th year we thought it only right to tell you a bit about how we first began...
We first opened in 1964 and have a long tradition of rescuing and preserving Ryedale's heritage but we would not be here today if it wasn't for the work of three particularly inspiring men; Wilfred Crosland, Bertram Frank and Raymond Hayes. All three lived in the village of Hutton-le-Hole, the museum's picturesque location, and rather that just despairing at the continued loss of buildings, objects and traditions from across the Ryedale region, they decided to actually do something about it!

Wilfred Crosland (1876 - 1961)
Wilfred lived in the cottage that now forms the museum's main office and gift shop. He was highly regarded as a local historian and antiquary, fathering the idea of a Ryedale museum in Hutton-le-Hole. It was after his death in 1961 that his sisters, Helen and Minnie, asked Bert Frank to take over his museum room.

Bertram Frank (1919 - 1996)
Though first developing a small museum of his own in nearby Lastingham, Bert was thrilled to move to the larger room in Hutton-le-Hole and to have the outside space to rescue and repair dilapidated buildings. It says much for Bert's qualities and organisation that within just a few years the museum was thriving and the first of the rescued buildings had been reconstructed by his gang of volunteers.

Raymond Hayes (1909 - 2000)
Raymond spent most of his life in Hutton-le-Hole, working out of his father’s old photographic studio, being the village postman and turning his hand to archaeology. It was he that approached Bert on behalf of the Crosland sisters after Wilfred’s death and he remained a deeply involved supporter of the museum and its work throughout the rest of his life.

Without Wilfred, Bert and Raymond actively preserving Ryedale’s heritage by collecting everyday items of interest, many of the objects and buildings you see today would not have survived. It was their enthusiasm, spirit and work which created the museum’s present shape and character and we continue to follow this practice today.


Carr House Farm Bed and Breakfast,Ampleforth,North Yorkshire said...

Had the privileged of knowing Mr Bert Frank. He was the one who got together with my Dad and set on to build the aviaries at the top of the field. My Dad filled them with ornamental pheasants another attraction in those early days to attract people to visit. -Anna Lupton,Carr House Farm B and B ,Ampleforth where you can still see my dad now 91 in his active daily life

Gallery@ryedale said...

Hi Anna, Thank you for your lovely story. We are hoping to organize a Open Day for local businesses in March. It would be lovely to meet you and your dad!! I wonder if he knows our Blacksmith Robin Butler, and oldest volunteer Geoffrey Willey, who is now 101! Its stories like these that would be wonderful to capture. I wonder if your dad would be interested in writing something for our blog, and any nice images?

Loreen Lee said...

Thanks to Bert my Dad (Laurie Morley) had many wonderful working hours at the Museum. Only to him it was for the love of it and not work!
Please give my best wishes to Robin Butler and Geoff Willey who Dad also knew.
Congratulations to the Ryedale Folk Museum on your 50th Anniversary and for the White Rose Award - well deserved. Dad would be proud!
Loreen Lee

Gallery@ryedale said...

Hi Loreen, thank you for your comment, and we will certainly pass on your regards to Geoffrey and Robin. If it wasn't for people like your dad and all the dedicated volunteers who love the museum, we wouldn't continue today. If you have any images of your dad at the museum we would love to see them!
Best wishes, All of us at RFM