The Thirsk and Sowerby interpretation board scheme originated from an idea submitted by Cllr Jan Marshall to the Action Plan of the Thirsk Regeneration Initiative in 2001 From this beginning a working party was formed consisting of Janet Watson (Thirsk TC), Steve Hoyland (Sowerby PC) and David Shields (Hambleton DC) as well as Jan Marshall representing TRI.

Ideas were formulated and the three Castle Garth Boards produced using a professional artist Bob Anderton and text from Cooper Harding ,Thirsk Museum. These boards 1 to 3, which were funded by English Heritage and Thirsk Regeneration Initiative, were installed in October 2005 and officially unveiled by Maddy Jago, Regional Director of English Heritage on 18 th April 2006.

A submission was made to the Local Heritage Initiative (then administered by the Countryside Agency and now by the Heritage Lottery Fund). The Local Heritage Initiative was a partnership between the Heritage Lottery Fund, Nationwide Building Society and the Countryside Agency and a grant of £25,000 was given to produce the boards 4 to 15, leaflets, postcards, website and talks and walks.

The working party engaged Rural Arts North Yorkshire in December 2004 to run a series of workshops on our behalf in particular with the schools, Thirsk Clock and elderly residents. The group also recruited Mr Cooper Harding, Curator, Thirsk Museum as our historical advisor and to provide assistance to the scheme.

The launch event was held on 12 February 2005 and over 60 people attended bringing their memories and memorabilia. Photographs were scanned and stories recorded.

Workshops were held at the Primary Schools of Thirsk, Carlton Miniott, South Kilvington and Sowerby and at Thirsk School with the children producing artwork. Also sessions were held with Thirsk Clock where young people were engaged in looking at old documents to identify letters which were utilised in the production of the Thirsk and Sowerby Past and Present logo.

A writing group was established who met regularly at the Old Courthouse to research the history and provide the text for the majority of the boards. The main members of the group were Ted Marchal, Lindy Davidson and Pauline Graham. Others assisted with detailed knowledge and Jan Marshall wrote the Sluice Gate Board.

Cooper Harding kept an historian’s view over the text and the working party researched and edited the text and illustrations over all the boards.

Rural Arts coordinated the work of the writing group and with the help of a graphic artist, Sahra Wye designed and placed the text and illustrations on the boards. Some illustrations were provided by artists employed by Rural Arts, in particular Angela Hall and J Howes.

At the same time a leaflet was produced inviting the public to follow the interpretation boards walk. The text for the walk was written by Ted Marchal and highlights things to see as well as the walk. The map of the route of the walk was drawn by Angela Hall.

Postcards were selected from the multitude of drawings and designs used for the project.

Walks and talks have been timetabled to enable the visitor and resident enjoy our history.