CRAVEN farmers took a bit of convincing when the whole idea of the Women’s Land Army (WLA) and ‘land girls’ was presented to them back in the hard days of the Second World War.

Farmers were ‘more than a little sceptical about the wisdom of employing lasses’ reported the Craven Herald 75 years ago, in April, 1946.

The paper was following up reports from the WLA that it had received a ‘raw deal’ from some authorities, which was a pity said the Herald, which concluded that the land girls had done an excellent job, many had settled down in the area, and that their efforts were still needed in peace time.

Farmers had initially raised concerns of accommodation for the young women, brought in to help on the land while the men were away at war, of domestic arrangements, and how the women would ‘fit in wi’ t’family’.

It was also felt that the type of work in the Dales would be unsuitable for women, what with all the hills and fells, so unlike the flat, arable lands of elsewhere.

It was doubted that the women’s army would ‘take it’, reported the Herald.

But, against all odds, the ‘lasses’ quickly settled down and took to their jobs with real spirit.

“Girls who had previously done nothing rougher than hairdressing or office work turned to turnip singling, milking, hay timing and the handling of tractors and other machines as if they had known nothing else.”

And not only that, the land girls carried off the trophies at ploughing matches and tractor management tests and proved their worth in the arduous daily routine of the Pennine farms. Doubting farmers grew to express real admiration of their work, said the Herald.

The land army girls also joined in the community, attended dances, becoming a part of Craven life with most sorry to see them go.

The Herald referred to a recruitment drive for 30,000 girls to join the WLA, doubling its then number. “There is a scope in Craven for the work of many capable girls, and the need will grow with the year. We cannot afford to dispense with this fine army of workers just yet.

“The WLA has done a grand job during the war. It is called upon to do another big job in peace,” it said.

NOT sure what the postie thought when arriving to empty this Barlick letter box, pictured above over the Easter holiday, but its crocheted top warmer must surely have raised a smile.

Sharon Moorby sent in the picture, and commented, “thought this was a lovely idea, a random act of crochet kindness from the Barlick yarn fairies,” couldn’t agree with you more Sharon.

ON the subject of women, Leyburn based auctioneers, Tennants Auctioneers has collaborated with some of the leading public collections in the North to present a free virtual exhibition celebrating female artists.

The featured artists are from the 18th century to the 21st century, and include the work of Dame Barbara Hepworth, Sophie Anderson and Dame Laura Knight.

Tennants says the virtual exhibition sets out to celebrate the extraordinary skill and imagination of female artists and demonstrates that despite many obstacles, women are just as capable of aesthetic greatness as their male counterparts.

Jane Tennants, director and auctioneer, says: “During this difficult time when public galleries have had to shut their doors, we are delighted to be able to collaborate with some of the great collections in the North to celebrate incredible works of art made by female artists”.

Alongside images kindly loaned by The Bowes Museum, Museums Sheffield, York Museums Trust, The Hepworth Wakefield and Harrogate Museums are a host of paintings, sculpture and prints that have been handled by Tennants Auctioneers, and the virtual exhibition offers a chance to see rare works by female artists that are now in private collections.

The exhibition is available to view, free of charge, at

Pictured top right is Dame Barbara Hepworth DBE ‘s ‘Mother & Child’, 1934

Purchased by Wakefield Corporation in 1951 © Bowness. Photography Jerry Hardman-Jones.

AIREDALE General Hospital at Steeton turned blue on Wednesday, last week, as part of celebrations marking more than a quarter of a million people in the Craven and Bradford district receiving their first dose of the coronavirus vaccination.

Council and NHS buildings were bathed in blue during the evening and into the night to mark the occasion and to recognise the efforts of staff at vaccination sites across the area.

Karen Dawber, Chief Nurse at Bradford Teaching Hospitals, said: “This milestone was a significant one for all of us as our health and care colleagues, partners and volunteers have worked tirelessly since the first vaccine was delivered in our district on Tuesday, December 15 2020. Since then we have been indebted to the efforts of NHS staff, our local councils and community and voluntary groups across the area who have all played a vital role in the successful roll out of our programme.”

To find out more about the Covid-19 visit

THE television crews are back in the Dales busily filming the second much anticipated series of All Creatures Great and Small, the new adaptation of the hugely popular books of James Herriot. Filming has been taking place in and around Kettlewell and will soon be moving to Broughton Hall, below, which in the Channel 5 series is the home of Mrs Pumphrey, played in the first series by the late Dame Diana Rigg. Interestingly, the hall is also used as a set for Gentleman Jack, another very popular television series which tells the story of landowner Anne Lister.

Brian Percival, one of the series directors of All Creatures Great and Small, took to social media to explain the appeal of the drama and his desire to share the beautiful Dales with worldwide television audiences.

He explained how he wanted to bring a ‘more cinematic version’ of the books to a modern audience and how the latest adaptation featured strong women characters.

“Driving through the Dales, it is such a beautiful place, I just thought it would be good to embrace that, give it a more cinematic feel, and allow the audience to enjoy this beautiful environment that James goes into.”

Characters are also well drawn, he said, and there are now stronger female characters that modern audiences could relate to and were not present in the original series.

“I wanted to make a piece of television that people could share and enjoy together. And, given the times the live in, it is quite nice to be able to escape.”

50 YEARS ago, on April 16, 1971, the Craven Herald reported on a busy Easter as Craven basked in the sunshine.The district saw a heavy invasion of tourists, chiefly by car, but there was also touring cyclists and parties of hikers. Malham, Grassington, Burnsall, Bolton Abbey, Ingleton and other beauty spots were patronised on a large scale and hoteliers, cafe proprietors and shopkeepers looked after the visitors with ‘customary competence and courtesy’.