Revealing the stories behind Wensleydale Railway’s stations
A generous bequest of family photographs has inspired a remarkable research journey
A recent donation of family photographs has sparked a fascinating journey of discovery, enabling staff and volunteers at the Wensleydale Railway to piece together the story of one of its stations, Finghall Lane near Bedale.
The photographs were kindly given to us by Mrs Jane Stringer, who, having inherited them from a family friend, got in touch to find out if they would be of interest to us. The remarkable photographs, which date from the late 1880s through to the 1930s, depict the station in its heyday, with its beautifully-maintained flower beds and five staff including Station Master, George Metcalfe, who ran it from the mid 1890s until just after the First World War. Born at Great Fencote near Northallerton, George was employed by the North Eastern Railway Company all his working life, working his way up from the roles of porter and signalman to the respected position of Station Master over 50 years.
‘This is a real glimpse into the past for us, given that few people had access to cameras until well into the twentieth century’ commented Virginia Arrowsmith, our Heritage Education Officer, ‘and it’s also really valuable resource for us to share with schools, who visit us to explore what life was like on the railway in Victorian and Edwardian times.’
We are running an ongoing research programme into the history of the Wensleydale Railway, which runs from Leeming Bar to Redmire, and we would be delighted to hear from anyone who has a family connection with the railway or can help us piece together its story over the last 150 years. To get in touch, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01677 425805.