THESE two pictures are of the well steps behind The Folly in Settle - a few generations apart.

The steps are still in place, and are largely the same, apart from the stones on the left being more cemented together than they once were.

The former curator at the Museum of North Craven Life, at The Folly, Anne Read, says of the older image: “In today’s world, we take for granted the fact that we can turn on the tap and fill our kettles with clean water, but as this photograph shows us, it was not always so easy!

"The identity of this man is unknown, but he has come well prepared, wearing a shoulder yoke, to fill and carry two buckets of water taken from the well at the top of Well Hill.

"This is one of Settle’s earliest wells, fed from springs emerging from the limestone crag of Castleberg. The woman standing at the top of the steps will have to carry her bucket by hand, being careful not to spill a precious drop. Notice that there is no convenient handrail and the steps are worn and uneven.

Several Settle residents remember that they were nicknamed ‘the slippy slops’.

The water was used for a variety of purposes: women brought washing to soak, scrub and rinse in the well, which is conveniently divided into three compartments; within living memory, the local blacksmiths in Castleberg Lane at the top of the steps carried red-hot iron hoops down to the well to contract them in readiness for fitting onto the rims of wooden cart wheels.

Health and safety regulations had not yet been invented!"