Marie Hartley

Marie HartleyMarie Hartley, © W.R. Mitchell and the
University of Bradford Special Collections

Joan Ingilby and Marie Hartley were historians who published many books about the Yorkshire Dales.

Marie was born in the town of Morley, close to Leeds, in 1905. She went on to study at Leeds College of Art then at the Slade School in London, specialising in wood engraving. Working with author Ella Pontefract, she used her skill to interpret Dales life.

After Ella died in 1945, Joan Ingilby joined Marie in writing books about the heritage of the area. Joan was born in 1911 at North Stainley, near Ripon, North Yorkshire.

The duo wrote books on a variety of subjects. Many concentrated on the old crafts of the Dales, such as ‘The Making of Cheese and Butter’ (1997), ‘Making a Backcan’ (1997), and ‘The Old Hand-knitters of the Dales’ (1951). These give a unique insight into life in the Dales, recording the fading traditions of the area as well as local industry and the environment itself.

In the interview by W.R. Mitchell, Marie explains how their writing was greatly appreciated by the inhabitants of the Dales as it put them on the map. With the growing number of cars on the roads, increasing numbers of tourists were able to reach the Dales with comparative ease. Although this changed the character of the Dales it also brought a new source of industry and prosperity: tourism. Marie and Joan’s work helped to promote tourist interest and understanding of the heritage of the area. 

From 1947 until they passed away in 2000 and 2006, Joan and Marie lived together at Askrigg in Wensleydale. They were Chairman and Vice Chairman at the museum working to help preserve the historical legacy of the Dales. Even in retirement they showed their dedication to the Dales with their continued involvement in the museum and local history projects.