Hawes: Dales Countryside Museum

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Hawes Railway Station was at the end of a six mile branch line from Hawes Junction, now known as Garsdale, which met up with the Wensleydale Railway Line built by the North Eastern Railway Company (NER). Constructed of coursed sandstone, the station was built in 1878 in the ornate Derby Gothic style of the Midland Railway. The station buildings and goods shed feature decorated wooden barge boards, dressed stone quoins, lintels and window surrounds. Extended in 1998 by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Hawes Station is now home to the Dales Countryside Museum.

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The museum charts the fascinating history of the Yorkshire Dales and of the people who have lived and shaped the local landscape for thousands of years.

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The locomotive, a Robert Stevenson and Hawthorn 0-6-0T has been cosmetically restored, as have the three Mk.1 coaches, and is a replica of the last locomotive to work out of Hawes Station.

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The railway carriages form part of the museum exhibits and a ‘Creation Station’ provides craft activities for young visitors to engage in.

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The museum is also home to the Tourist Information Centre of the largest town in Wensleydale and the converted station buildings offer an insight into the rich heritage of the region.

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Galleries within the museum showcase historical objects with a range of special exhibitions providing a blend of old and new.

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The John Richard Baker exhibition hall was named after the Yorkshire Dales National Park employee who was the inspiration for Calendar Girls

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Weaving machine in the ropemaker’s workshop

Rope and webbing were used in many different ways on Dales farms. Halters, backbands and sheep hopples, creels, burdens and straps for backcans could all be made from the rope and webbing produced at the ropemaker’s workshop at Hawes. The use of rope was not limited to farming and was used for other purposes such as church bell ropes. Although changing farming methods have caused the range of products to alter, the ropeworks in Hawes continues to operate today, and in addition to the traditional farming and horse related products, supplies things to be used in the house and for leisure.

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