Dalesman is a British monthly regional magazine, based in Skipton, and serving the English county of Yorkshire. Its first edition was published in March 1939, under the original title of The Yorkshire Dalesman: A Monthly Magazine of Dales' Life and Industry. Although originally only serving the Yorkshire Dales, the magazine was soon expanded to cover the whole county of Yorkshire, with a particular focus on the countryside and over the years it has become a northern institution. It remains the biggest selling regional consumer magazine in the UK and Yorkshire's best selling magazine.
A typical front cover
|Former editors||See editors section below|
The magazine celebrates the people, landscapes and heritage of England's biggest county. Dalesman covers the whole of Yorkshire, though it has a rural focus that takes in the Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors, Yorkshire Wolds and Yorkshire coast, along with the county capital of York. Each issue contains stories about the people and places that make Yorkshire unique, articles on crafts, history and nature, alongside photographs and paintings of the stunning Yorkshire scenery. As well as factual features and interviews, there are also short stories, puzzles, guided walks, plus numerous jokes and cartoons, some in Yorkshire dialect. The magazine is proud of its reader loyalty and participation, characteristics which shine through in the magazine’s thriving Readers’ Club.
Many famous names have written for Dalesman, including J. B. Priestley, Ella Pontefract, Bill Cowley and Alan Bennett. Current regular contributors include "Bard of Barnsley" Ian McMillan, Nicholas Rhea, who wrote the Constable books that the TV series Heartbeat was based on, Ashley Jackson (artist), and cartoonists Tony Husband and Karl Dixon.
Popular monthly features include Diary of a Yorkshire Farmer's Wife, Signs and Wonders (amusing signs spotted around Yorkshire), Wild Yorkshire, My Best Day Out and Round About the Ridings. Aside from A Dalesman's Diary - which has been there from issue one - the magazine's longest-running feature is the Old Amos cartoon, which has been a fixture in Dalesman since May 1953, making Old Amos four years older than fellow northern cartoon character Andy Capp. Just two artists have drawn Old Amos over the last six decades – father and son Rowland and Pete Lindup. Pete carried on immediately after Rowland’s death in 1989. Old Amos is a bearded gentleman who dishes out quotable wisdom and advice, often in Yorkshire dialect.
Initially called The Yorkshire Dalesman, the magazine was founded in March 1939 by former Leeds journalist Harry J Scott. He ran the magazine from the front room of his home in the small Dales village of Clapham, North Yorkshire.
Writing in the first issue, Scott remarked: "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." He continued: "It is to serve the interests of this great community that "The Yorkshire Dalesman" has been founded, ending: "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."
Also writing in that first edition was J. B. Priestley. "I am glad to learn that our beloved Dales are to have their own magazine and I wish the venture the success it deserves". He described his love of Yorkshire's "high hills and grey-green valleys and lovely peace", adding: "So please see that your new magazine fights to keep them all unspoilt."
After eight years of publication, Scott bowed to public pressure and expanded the coverage of the magazine. In March 1947, the editor wrote: "We have decided that from our next number The Yorkshire Dalesman, while giving no less space each month than in the past to the western dales, shall be enlarged to include all the Yorkshire countryside, the moors and dales of north-east Yorkshire, the hills of Cleveland, the cloughs and valleys of the Yorkshire-Lancashire border, the Plain of York and the high moorlands of Teesdale, no less than the rolling lands of Bowland and the fells and dales of the western Pennines."
A year later the magazine's title was changed to "The Dalesman". By now the circulation had risen to 13,000 and Scott wrote in March 1948: "It has been a mark of the pleasant friendly bond which has always existed between this magazine and its readers and almost from our first appearance our title was shortened in conversation, in letters and over bookstall counters to "The Dalesman". "Has 't'Dalesman' come yet?" is a familiar phrase in most Yorkshire villages. It would ill become us, therefore, after such friendly treatment, to insist on our full name and title, and we have decided to accept, gratefully, our readers' choice. From our next issue, which is the first of our tenth year, we shall become simply and plainly THE DALESMAN. This will imply no change in style or policy. It will give us greater scope to look over the Yorkshire border on occasion and hobnob with our neighbours."
In 1955, the Dalesman finally outgrew Scott's home, at Fellside, Clapham, and new offices were opened elsewhere in the village. It remained in Clapham until 2000. These days the magazine is produced just down the road from its original home, in a converted water mill on the Broughton Hall Estate, near Skipton.
The second, and perhaps best known, editor was W R ("Bill") Mitchell, who worked with Scott before taking the editor's chair. Mitchell remembers meeting the "tweed-clad, pipe-smoking" Scott in the offices of the Craven Herald newspaper in Skipton shortly before he joined the magazine. Scott’s unique greeting was 'Hail to thee, Blithe Spirit'. After a long and successful rein as editor, Mitchell was awarded the MBE for his services to journalism in Yorkshire and Cumbria, and he was also admitted by the University of Bradford to the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters. He has also received the Golden Eagle Award from the Outdoor Writers’ and Photographers’ Guild which cited him as one of the founding fathers of outdoor writing.
When Mitchell retired in 1988, he was the subject of a Yorkshire Television documentary narrated by playwright Alan Bennett, who concluded the programme by saying: "The Dalesman has proved to be something of a river; it just goes flowing on - and like a river it is, I hope, unstoppable."
- Harry J. Scott 1939-1968
- William Reginald Mitchell 1968-1988
- David Joy 1988-1994
- Terry Fletcher 1994-2008
- Paul Jackson 2008-2012
- Adrian Braddy 2012–2019
- Jon Stokoe 2019-present
- "Editor made redundant six years ago returns to 'hot seat' with regional title". Hold the Front Page. 19 September 2019. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
- "Consumer Magazines Circulation Certificate" (PDF). ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
- "The story of Dalesman magazine" (PDF). North Craven Building Preservation Trust (NCBPT). Retrieved 1 June 2013.
- Wainwright, Martin (14 November 2012). "New editor for the Dalesman". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
- "Mag ABCs: 137 out 516 consumer mags put on circ year on year, full breakdown". Press Gazette. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
- "Dalesman Media Pack" (PDF). Country Publications. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
- "Buy Dalesman magazine subscription". Unique Magazines. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
- "Dalesman Magazine". Dalesman. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
- "Quotes about Old Amos". goodreads. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
- Adrian, Braddy. "Yorkshire sage Old Amos celebrates 60 years of wit and wisdom". Dalesman. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
- Scott, Harry (March 1939). "A Yorkshire Dalesman's Diary". The Yorkshire Dalesman. 1 (1): 3.
- Priestley, JB (March 1939). "Mr. J. B. Priestley Wishes Success to 'The Yorkshire Dalesman'". The Yorkshire Dalesman. 1 (1): 2.
- Scott, Harry (March 1947). "A Yorkshire Dalesman's Diary". The Yorkshire Dalesman. 8 (12): 271.
- Scott, Harry (March 1948). "A Yorkshire Dalesman's Diary". The Yorkshire Dalesman. 9 (12): 428.
- Clapham, North Yorkshire
- "WR Mitchell: Hail to thee, Blithe Spirit". Settle Stories. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
- "YDS President". The Yorkshire Dales Society. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
- Joy, David (April 1988). "A Dalesman's Diary". The Dalesman: 19. ISSN 0011-5800.
- "Magazine editor bows out after 40-year career". Hold the Front Page. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
- "Editor swaps newspapers for country life". Hold the Front Page. Retrieved 1 June 2013.