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Elizabeth and Arthur Raistrick Collection

Archive reference: RAI

Dr Arthur Raistrick, the "Dalesman of the Millennium", studied and wrote about many subjects, but he is best known for his work on the archaeology of the Yorkshire Dales. Special Collections holds his library, over 1200 maps and plans, and a small collection of his papers.

Arthur Raistrick

Arthur Raistrick was born in Saltaire in the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1896. He attended Bradford Grammar School, then was apprenticed as an electrical engineer. Imprisoned as a Conscientious Objector during the First World War, he joined the Society of Friends (Quakers) in 1919. He gained an M.Sc. in Civil Engineering and M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Geology (applied to mining) at Leeds University. In 1929 he was appointed Lecturer in Applied Geology at Armstrong College, Durham, a year later marrying Elizabeth Chapman (1892-1973), a fellow-Quaker and lecturer at Leeds Training College.

Raistrick was an extra-mural teacher at Leeds, Durham and Newcastle Universities from 1945 to 1970. He devoted considerable time to research and writing on industrial archaeology, particularly that of the Yorkshire Dales; he studied the archaeological and geological evidence in the field, colouring and annotating Ordnance Survey maps to illustrate his findings, and also producing plans and site drawings. He was awarded doctorates by Bradford and Leeds Universities. He died in 1991.

Maps and Plans

The map and plan collection includes:

  • Ordnance Survey maps, covering mainly the West Riding and Westmorland, used during fieldwork, many annotated by Arthur Raistrick.
  • Maps issued by the Geological Survey of England and Wales, and Geological Survey of Scotland, mainly covering Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Northumberland and Lancashire.
    19th century manuscript maps, several of Grassington and other sites in the Yorkshire Dales.
  • Mid 19th century manuscript maps of estates in Malhamdale by John Greenwood.
  • Original and copy manuscript maps and plans by Arthur Raistrick, mainly of sites in the Yorkshire Dales.
  • Mid 19th century manuscript maps of sites in Langstrothdale by Samuel Swire.
  • Copies of 1832 plans of Skipton by John Wood.

The Collection forms a remarkable resource for archaeologists and others researching the Yorkshire landscape, its use and its history. See one of the most interesting maps in our 100 Objects exhibition: Mapping the Yorkshire Dales.

The best way to access the maps is via detailed handlist. We regret it is not yet available online, so please contact Special Collections staff for a copy. Some of the maps have been added to the Library catalogue.

The Archive

This small collection of papers includes:

  • Work of Arthur Raistrick on regional history and industrial archaeology, including book typescripts, some correspondence on publication, and many illustrations and technical plans.
  • Work of Sarah Elizabeth Raistrick: manuscript and typescript books and articles, and file on Staincliffe Housing Association.
  • Material by others on Yorkshire history, industrial history and archaeology.
  • Historical documents relating to Yorkshire/mining history.

Further information is available as a collection-level entry on the Library catalogue

The Book Collection

Dr Raistrick's mining and metallurgy books encompass all eras of mining history and practice, particularly the mining of coal, Pennine lead and Cornish tin and copper. They also cover the life of the miner, metallurgy, geology and mineralogy, the history of the Industrial Revolution, and industrial archaeology. These books formed a working collection and some volumes have been heavily annotated by Raistrick with comments and cross-references.

Dr Raistrick also collected material on Quaker history: biographies and writings of Friends such as Gilbert Latey, Samuel Bownas and John Churchman, works on Friends in the development of industry, the Society's publications on doctrine and Church government, and some more unusual items such as the story of Charles Pancoast, a Quaker in the California gold rush of 1849. Discover a book that meant a great deal to Raistrick in this story from our 100 Objects exhibition: A Great Stay and Strength.