Otley Museum & Archive Trust Logo

Hello and Welcome

Welcome to Otley Museum and Archive Trust. The Museum is managed and run by volunteers. Our aim is to maintain the Museum’s profile in the town and beyond, albeit currently without a permanent home, and to maintain access for the public to the archive collection.

The Museum's Story

Our Documentary and Photographic Archive is well used by both personal and professional researchers. The artefacts and exhibits from our main collections were put into storage in May 2010 when we had to leave Otley Civic Centre which had housed the Museum since 1961. This video was taken just before the collection was packed and put into secure storage. It is a reminder of Otley’s rich heritage – from prehistoric to the 21st century – and, we feel, should be accessible to this and future generations.

The documentary and photographic archive is accessible to the public, by appointment, at our present home in Wellcroft House, Otley. It is run by volunteers and new volunteers are always welcome. 

Temporary themed displays using material from the archive and collections are a regular activity. They are often linked to national or local events, or arranged specifically for, or in conjunction with, local groups.

Otley Museum and Archive Trust is managed and run by volunteers.

black and white old photograph of Otley Market Place

Otley Market Place

The Museum and Archive Collection

The Museum is centred on providing a service to the public by encouraging access to its collection. In our present situation items from the stored collection can still be viewed by appointment and some of them have featured in displays and exhibitions in the town.

From its establishment, the Museum has worked to gather together a comprehensive collection which reflects the history of this market town from its prehistoric beginnings to the present day.

Important elements of this are the collection of prehistoric stone tools and artefacts from the middle Wharfe valley and archaeological items from the palace of the Archbishop of York at Otley.

The extensive documentary archive is much used and includes building records and photographs invaluable to researchers, and important industrial archives relating to the town’s world-famous printing machine industry.

More details of the collection can be found on the Documentary and Photographic Collection page.

old photograph of Billams Hill, from the Bridge in Otley

Billams Hill, from The Bridge, Otley

Trustees and Volunteers

Jill Allman

Honorary Secretary

Andrew Howard

Chair

Frank Jordan

Honorary Treasurer

Kathleen Armitage

David Clegg

Margaret Hornby

Stuart Pickersgill

Otley Museum and Archive Trust is managed and run by volunteers.

New volunteers are always welcome. Volunteers’ expertise is sought in, for example, Family History, Local History and the Printers’ Engineering Industry.

old black and white photograph of the British Restaurant, Bondage, Otley.

British Restaurant, Bondgate, Otley. First meal served 1941.

Our Vision

Our vision is to continue to explore all opportunities to re-establish the Museum in appropriate premises. However, recognising the current economic climate, the focus for the foreseeable future is to publicise and maintain access to the archive. Through face-to-face contact, displays and talks, and other media, we aim to provide an efficient service for personal and professional researchers from the local community and elsewhere, whilst maintaining a high standard of care and conservation.

Download the latest Annual Report by clicking the button below.

old sepia photograph of Moss's Grocery Store, Market Place, Otley

Moss's Grocery Store, Market Place, Otley

Articles from the Archive

The Prisoner of War (POW) camp on Weston Lane and the pre-fabs which were erected on part or the site. The Wharfedale Observer cutting is from November 1947 it says 50 pre-fabs were built and ...
Architect Alfred Marshall 1850-1932 had a significant influence on the public face of Otley. One of his most prominent designs was for the Jubilee clock tower in the Market Place in 1887. His first design ...
This video was taken just before the collection was packed and put into secure storage. It's an old video but is a great reminder of Otley's rich heritage, from prehistoric to the 20th century, and ...
The grounds were laid out as Japanese Gardens where many summer concerts, pageants etc. were held. In 1897 the Concert Hall was specially decorated and given the name of The Queen’s Hall, in honour of ...

Accreditations

Otley Museum and Archive Trust is a Registered Company: 8021978 and Registered Charity: 1148873.