Archived local history

The Rowley Ellwood Collection is an online gallery of over 500 historic old photos of Skipton, fully indexed and searchable. This site is a tribute to Dr Geoffrey Rowley and Mr Ken Ellwood who gathered together these fascinating prints. These photos are available for viewing on CD or DVD at Skipton Reference Library.

Mrs Valentine Rowley (1924 - 2021)

We are saddened to hear the news of Mrs Rowley’s death. Mrs Rowley was the widow of Dr Geoffrey Rowley, the eminent Skipton historian. On his death, Mrs Rowley donated his personal research archive to Skipton Library. This included his notebooks, which detail the history of each building on Skipton’s famous High Street, Swadford Street and Newmarket Street, many articles on aspects of Skipton including the inns, street names and yards along with over 600 historic photographs Dr Rowley collected with his fellow local historian Ken Ellwood, that are the main feature of this website.

Without Mrs Rowley this website would simply not exist. She gave us her blessing to digitise the photographs and the notebooks and allow us to share them on the Internet so they could be easily accessible to everyone. One of the last times we saw her was when she was guest of honour at the relaunch of this website May 2018. Mrs Rowley was not much of an Internet user, but she was very impressed by the website, and amazed and delighted that people from all over the world could now access her husband’s fascinating archive.

Of course, the collection was just one small aspect in Mrs Rowley’s long and fascinating life. She was a stalwart member of Skipton’s community, as this nice obituary in the Craven Herald testifies:

We send our condolences to her family and friends.


Latest Comments

Most recently added comments. Click to see more details.

Judging by the street furniture and car parked outside I think this was actually the buildings that were demolished to make way for the...
Simon Garner 26/06/2021
The official name was Bentley's Yorkshire Breweries Ltd (Woodlesford Nr Leeds) which was found on bottles, casks, cases, signs etc....
Peter Sheeran 24/06/2021
Do you have any photos of Cawder Ghyll hospital?
Gillian Purnell 23/06/2021
I agree with Julian Hide. I was born in Skipton and lived in Stirton for the first 16 years. We also knew it as Waterford Ghyll. Roger...
Nigel Whitmore 28/05/2021
Wow. That's amazing. I live on that row of 6 houses but on our deeds it says it was built in 1911.
Cooper 21/05/2021
The white van on the left is a Bedford van based on the Vauxhall HA Viva saloon. It's registration plate PBV 654J shows up that it was...
Chris Airey 18/05/2021
.....or as we used to say when we were young drinkers "buggers yer bladder". Moderators I suppose an e would look better than a u. That...
Chris Airey 18/05/2021
No 23 Water St. The building still exists but the shop front has been filled in....
Peter Sheeran 07/05/2021


Latest Updates

Latest gallery admin updates and notes:

Latest notebook transcript files uploaded. These cover up to Notebook 2, page 286.
02/03/2021 Admin
Have uploaded the latest notebook transcript files. These now cover up to Notebook 2, page 174.
25/01/2021 Admin
We've started to add scans of Dr Rowley's notebooks. These are real treasure troves of information about Skipton's history. The new pages aren't perfect yet - please be patient as we sort out the glitches.
12/05/2018 Admin
We've tweaked the "Browse all photos" function so that it now shows the most recently added photos first.
14/03/2018 Admin
I've added 21 new photos today! All from Ken Ellwood's collection. I think my favourite is this one of "Berry & Matt" at the Roller Skating Rink. Does anyone know where that was located?
13/03/2018 Admin
When scanning the photos, we often find hand-written notes on the reverse, especially pictures from Ken Ellwood's collection. Where we're certain the information is accurate, we'll include it in the photo description. If it's more vague, I will add it as an Admin comment below the picture, as "KE note" for Ken Ellwood, "GR note" for Geoffrey Rowley, etc.
21/01/2018 Admin
Added two new photos today: Photo 753 and Photo 754. This is the first new content in many years! Ken Ellwood's family have very kindly shared their father's collection of old Skipton photographs with us. Some of the pictures are already on this site, donated by Dr Rowley's widow when the Rowley Collection was first built. But there are lots of previously unseen images too, and we'll be adding these to the Rowley-Ellwood collection in the coming weeks.
14/01/2018 Admin
Fixed bug in pagination at foot of search results page.
09/01/2018 Admin