Once again, keen amateur historians in Yorkshire have come up with some amazingly original, well researched and presented essays on a wide variety of topics, all offering new insight into the rich and complex history of Yorkshire that makes the Region so very special.  These were all entries for the Harry Gration History Prize, named in memory of the popular BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration MBE (1950-2022) who was a Vice President of The Yorkshire Society, passionate about all things Yorkshire and a former history teacher.

A shortlist of ten entries in the over 18 category included topics covering 17th century religious persecution in Yorkshire, conditions suffered by York nurses during the 1930s, an examination of Yorkshire’s changing northwest boundaries, the story of the many volunteers from West Riding who fought in the Spanish Civil War, and an insight into the battle to save Britain’s rarest orchid in the Yorkshire Dales.

Whilst there could have been several worthy winners, the final decision of the judges was to award the prize to Andrew A Barnes of York for a very original, meticulously researched and beautifully presented piece of work on the systemic failures in School Medical Service in the East Riding of Yorkshire between 1908 and 1939 Pseudo Rural Superiority and Victorian Values.

Dr Alison Harrop, one of the competition judges, who presented the prize at the Yorkshire Heritage Summit in Hull Minster on 11th May commented:  “ This is actually a shocking story of the neglect of professional advice, resistance to change and the lengthy delays in the implementation of recommendations over more than a generation in rural Yorkshire.”

Sadly, there were insufficient suitable entries for a winner in the under 18 category this year. As a result, and with the proliferation of AI, a review of the History Prize will be undertaken before entry for the 2024/5 competition opens.

You can downloand and read the essay here:




The Harry Gration History Prize is kindly sponsored by University of Huddersfeld.

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