Marie Hartley MBE

Marie passed away peacefully on Wednesday 10th May 2006

Chronological List Of Books-1934-1998 – by Marie Hartley, Ella Pontefract and Joan Ingilby

Marie Hartley at 100
The names Marie Hartley, Joan Ingilby and Ella Pontefract are now synonymous with the study of Yorkshire. Marie Hartley was born in 1905 at Morley near Leeds. She went to the Leeds College of Art and the Slade School London, where she specialised in wood engraving. Then whilst living at Wetherby, Marie joined up with Ella Pontefract to illustrate and write books on the Dales and Yorkshire.

Ella Pontefract and Marie Hartley worked in partnership as author and artist in the 1930’s and – 1940’s. The beginnings of the Dales Countryside Museum go back to 1941 when Marie Hartley was working with Ella Pontefract.

With great foresight, Marie and Ella attempted to prevent the distribution out of the region, of an important collection from Horne’s private museum at Leyburn. They bought thirteen lots from the sale of items, one of which was the packhorse collar with seven bells, and so began the unique collection that we see today. Over the years, other items were purchased and donated and together these provide a wonderful impression of personal, domestic and working life in the Dales. Their collaboration resulted in six books. Ella died in 1945.

Ella Pontefract
After Ella’s death, Marie Hartley was joined by Joan Ingilby. Joan was born at Sleningford Grange near Ripon. She went to boarding school at Leyburn at the age of seven and never forgot early impressions of hills and stone walls.

Marie and Joan spent their time researching the Dales knitting industry and writing The Old Hand-knitters of the Dales. This resulted in the amazing collection of knitting sticks that can be seen within the textile section of the Museum and their first book published in 1951.

They have devoted their lives to the history of the region, and have co-written many books, several of them pioneering works. In 1964 Marie and Joan decided they “would record in book form all the old ways of life in the dales on the farm and in the home”. Their pioneering work produced photographic records of Dales people at work and the collecting of artefacts began in earnest as they acquired objects to enable Marie to produce drawings for their books.

Farm sales and craftsmen’s workshops were both sources of objects. By the late 1960’s it had become widely known that Marie and Joan had created a “sort of museum” and the donation of objects by local people continued. We still benefit from the huge generosity of people from both within and outside the area.

Joan Ingilby
Marie’s enduring work has ultimately led to the creation of a collection that is of local, regional and potentially, national significance. One important contributory factor is the detailed records that were created for the objects acquired. The stock book and card index produced provide information on the provenance of individual items, increasing their historical significance and value in terms of presenting an historic picture of life in the Dales.

In addition, Marie’s combined skills of photographer, writer and artist, created a unique record of the past way of life in the Dales. Her work connects directly with our collection, often showing the exact context within which items were used. Many of the artefacts held here at the Museum are illustrated or described within Marie’s books.

  • 1) The Origins of the Upper Dales Folk Museum, 1984, p4
  • 2) The Origins of the Upper Dales Folk Museum, 1984, p.8

Bearing in mind the need for continuity and to protect the collection from ultimately being dispersed beyond the Yorkshire Dales, in 1972 Marie and Joan offered it to the then North Riding County Council.

The Upper Dales Folk Museum finally opened in 1979. The collection is now owned by North Yorkshire County Council, but housed and managed by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority at their facility, re-named the Dales Countryside Museum.

Joan Ingilby and Marie Hartley
In 1982 she and Joan formed a Friends organisation to act as fundraisers and advocates for the Museum and they acted as Chair and Vice Chair for six years. The Friends organisation, of which Marie is now a Founder President, has flourished and continues to support the Museum by organising a lecture programme, events and fundraising on our behalf.

The creation of the Dales Countryside Museum must rank as one of Marie’s greatest achievements. Marie Hartley was awarded an Honorary Degree at the University of Leeds in 1968. Both authors have received Honorary Degrees from the University of York and the Open University.

In 1993 they received the Medal of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society for their contribution to Yorkshire History and in 1997, were awarded the M.B.E. for services to the culture and history of Yorkshire.
The Dales Countryside Museum
Tribute By Martin Wainwright-Guardian

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