Farmer on a four wheel/trike, © Stuart PetchFarmer on a four wheel/trike, © Stuart Petch

The W.R. Mitchell Archive has digitised 16 out of the 600 cassette tapes collected by Bill Mitchell. Even in this small selection of Bill's tapes the wealth of detailed information about life in the Dales really brings the past to life.

From tales of farming and industry to childhood memories of Christmas presents being just an orange or an apple, these delightful stories evoke a bygone past—stories told in their own words by the inhabitants of the Dales.

Sam Dyson's entertaining account of buying his first farm, or Anne Margaret Mason's tale of how a ‘fresh’ Dickie Vocator received his nickname show vibrant close-knit communities building their lives in scattered settlements.

There are also many tales of dances and socials and other recreational activities as well as detailed descriptions of baking and housework.

The links in the sidebar to the left highlight some of the themes that you will find running through the material in the archive.

Each page ends with a link which will give you a list of all the content in the archive tagged with that Theme. We hope you enjoy these stories as much as we have.