Visiting Herriot Country

11 Dec
by Deanne

Growing up, Francine heard a few stories from her Dad (Steve) about a young veterinary surgeon and his work among the farming community of North Yorkshire. Because of Steve’s fondness for James Herriot,  we shared some of his books for children, like Moses_the_Kitten Moses the Kitten, during Francine’s childhood.  When planning our trip to visit her in the UK, she was sure to include a trip to Yorkshire. She sought out the area that is now called Herriot Country.

Steve was a boy in 1973, when James Herriot became an overnight sensation in the United States. Herriot’s first two books, If Only They Could Talk and It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet were combined into one volume called All Creatures Great and Small

Reading these books helped to shape Steve’s decision to study animal science.  Later, as a young married couple, Steve and I often watched the BBC television series starring Robert Hardy and Christopher Timothy.

James Alfred Wight used the pen name of James Herriot in accordance with veterinarian professionalism and changed the names and details of his clients, the source of inspiration for the characters he brought to life.  The real location of his practice is in the market town of Thirsk and we decided to seek out the visitor attraction called The World of James Herriot.

The visitor attraction located in a house at 23 Kirkgate has been restored to its original 1940’s decor.  This allowed us to visualize what it might have been like to live and work in this space as a veterinary surgeon during that time.  The upstairs has been converted to a museum.  There we learned about how the original veterinarians were farriers who made and fitted horseshoes.  They combined some blacksmith‘s skills (fabricating, adapting, and adjusting metal shoes) with knowledge of anatomy and physiology of horse’s limbs and hooves.

Visiting Yorkshire, with it’s seemingly endless landscape and unique beauty was a dream come true for both Steve and I.  We thank Francine for planning it and Luke for capturing the memories  through his photographs.  We had the opportunity to experience for ourselves this quote:

And the peace which I always found in the silence and emptiness of the moors filled me utterly.James Herriot


Black and White Photo of Yorkshire

4 Responses to “Visiting Herriot Country”

  1. mixitupandmakeitnice December 12, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    Oh I love these books! Discovered his autobiography when I was staying at my grandparents when I was younger & loved it, so my parents put me on to his other books! :)

    • realocalcooking December 12, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

      The autobiography sounds like a good read. Thanks for following along.

  2. lovefromitaly December 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    Herriot! One of my childhood heros, along with David Attenborough! I’d love to visit there….

    • realocalcooking December 12, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

      You should. It does not disappoint for those who have experienced through books.

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