What is the Dalesman Magazine?
The Dalesman Magazine is Britains best selling and favourite regional magazine based in Skipton. Find out how a Quaker from Plymouth became one of the biggest voices for the Yorkshire Dales.
In 1903, Harry J Scott was born. He lived in Plymouth with his Quaker family in the early years of his life.
When he was still young, he moved to Leeds with his parents. They soon settled in the Hyde Park area of the city.
The family didn’t have a lot of money. Harry could not pursue his career in architecture due to the cost of training.
Harry married a lady called Dorothy. They soon settled down to raise a family where they had two children – Martin and Margaret.
Both Harry and Dorothy loved the Yorkshire Dales. Each summer they would rent part of a farm at Folly Hall in the Washburn Valley.
Whilst they were on holiday, Harry would still travel to work in Leeds. They had no car so he had to walk into Otley to get the bus.
During this time, Harry made note of everyday Dales life. This included local customs, interesting folk he met and their interesting tales.
Around this time, he applied for a job with Robertson Scott but didn’t get it. They were the founders of the Countryman magazine in Banbury, Oxfordshire.
This setback led to Harry started his own magazine. He would base it in the Dales for the people who lived there.
Harry came across an advert in the Yorkshire Post. It was for a little house to rent in Clapham at the foot of Ingleborough.
His previous accounting experience came in handy. Harry worked out that if he earned £3 a week in Leeds, he could easily afford the 10 shillings a week rent.
Both Harry and Dorothy fell in love with the property and moved there immediately. Harry made the daily commute to Leeds by train.
Becoming what it is today
In the beginning of 1939, Harry showed his shoebox full of notes to a few journalist friends. One of these friends were Linton Andrews.
Andrews was the editor of the Leeds Murcury and the later editor of the Yorkshire Post. He gave Harry a loan of £50 to begin his project.
Harry had similar loans from six of his friends. He could now start creating his magazine.
The first edition was put together in the front parlour of his house. They named it ‘Fellside’.
Harry hand-set the 28 pages himself in March of the same year. The Yorkshire Dales magazine was printed by a company called Lamberts of Settle which cost £25 for 3,000 copies.
He realised that he would need to win over an entirely new readership. Harry included the following statement within the first issue:
“Although it may require a word of explanation, the appearance of the first number of a magazine devoted to the Yorkshire Dales needs no apology. The surprising thing is that Dales lovers should have lacked a magazine for so long […] It is to serve the interests of this great community that “The Yorkshire Dalesman” has been founded […] On this programme, I offer this first number of ‘The Yorkshire Dalesman’ for your consideration, pleading only for its many shortcomings that no magazine reaches maturity in its first number.”
The first issue also featured a letter from Bradford born Playwright J.B. Priestley. He gave it a shining endorsement for the new publication, stating:
“I am glad to learn that our beloved Dales are to have their own magazine and I wish the venture the success it deserves”.
Many popular features such as ‘A Yorkshire Dalesman’s Diary’ and ‘Reader’s Club’ is still included within the magazine today.
Readership over the first few months had increased. During World War Two, they limited their production to only 4,000 copies with fewer pages and on poor quality paper.
Times were tough but the family business survived. There was an increase pressure from readers.
In 1947, coverage expanded from just the Western Dales to the whole of rural Yorkshire. From Cleveland and Teeside in the North East, to the Pennine Valleys of the Yorkshire/Lancashire border in the South West.
They renamed the magazine to The Dalesman in 1948. In 1955, with a circulation of over 25,000, they moved to a new premises in Clapham where they remained until 2000 when they then moved to Skipton.
Today, both the magazine and the company is one of the biggest publishers of books and calendars in the North of England. It has many sister publications such as the Countryman which declined Harry J Scott employment in his early career.
The Dalesman magazine is one of the biggest regional publications in the North. In 2011, it had a readership of over 140,000 worldwide.
It continues to entertain its loyal band of followers. They include stories, competitions and features from all of the Yorkshire Ridings.
In 2014, they celebrated 75 years of publications. This included endorsements from both the Queen and David Cameron.
The Dalesman magazine is published monthly from its headquarters in Skipton.