Obituary Harold Foxcroft 1929-2017

Audrey Foxcroft, Anne Read and Maureen Ellis
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

Harold, who was joint editor of this Journal until 2003, died last year. He was born in Settle 28th January 1929. He won a scholarship to Giggleswick School, which he attended until 1945. From there he went to Manchester University and graduated with a B.Sc. in Electronics. His first post was with Murphy Radios in Ruislip, which was later taken over by the Rank Organisation. It was here that he met his future wife, Audrey. They later set up home in Welwyn Garden City, spending five years there. He then moved to Salford University Electronics Department, where he worked until he retired. He was in charge of one of the Electronic Laboratories, with a staff of about14 people. He was later awarded another degree, this time honorary. They lived in Cheadle Hulme, near Manchester. Contemplating retirement, Audrey suggested they move to Settle and after cautiously trying it out for a while, they did so.

His retirement was productive, he and Audrey loved walking and they threw themselves into local life leading walks for NCHT and Harold contributed a wealth of activity in several spheres. They were both greatly valued Folly Stewards for many years, a role which Harold continued until 2015. His wealth of knowledge of our area, and his ability to engage in friendly conversation with visitors, and answer their questions, added enormously to their enjoyment of the building and the exhibitions.

Harold’s grandfather, T.A. Foxcroft was the first surveyor to Settle District Council and Harold inherited his meticulous eye for detail and lovingly preserved his wonderful collection of archives. These have contributed so much to the understanding and development of vital services in North Craven from the late 19th century onwards. One of the jewels in this collection is boxes and boxes of official documents, photographs, letters and drawings relating to the provision of water supplies to Settle, Bentham and surrounding villages. It is a wonderful social history resource. Harold donated this collection to the Folly in 2014, and gave his approval for the originals to be deposited in The North Yorkshire County Record Office in North Allerton, once the work of recording and digitising as much of it as possible had been done. Harold threw himself into local life and became an advocate of the swimming pool and a committee member of the Settle Area Community Council, which did such valuable work for the town in the 1990s. He also donated to the Folly his complete set of committee papers for this period. He shared with his brother in law, Derek Soames, an intense interest in preserving many aspects of the social history of our area. He contributed a number of articles to this Journal, which made use of both his grandfather’s papers and of Derek’s rescue of the records of the Settle Market Building Company. He was an active member for a number of years of the North Craven Historical Research Group.