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.
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