Audit 1 Jul Dec 2007

Great Ayton Community Archaeology Project
Ayton’s Story Project
First Report to Audit Panel (July to December 2007)

1 Summary

Six months after receiving approval from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the initial stages of the project are virtually complete. The project launch in September was followed by a series of six presentations by our project partners, the University of Teesside, giving some of the historic background to village development. One of the key aims of the project was to involve as many local people as possible and about 180 people in the village have expressed some interest in the project. A network of neighbourhood contacts has been set up in order to keep in touch with everyone, and the first Project Newsletter issued. A list of topics for research has been agreed, as has the outline definition of a digital archiving system. We have started to post information on a ‘wiki’ type of website.

Some of the topic groups have started work, including a team regularly meeting at the North Yorkshire County Record Office to transcribe relevant sources.

Only two difficulties have become apparent. Our application for funding to North Yorkshire has been rejected and, at least in the short term, we have to cover this by using more of our income from sales of the Roseberry Topping book. The other difficulty has been the delay in producing this first report for the Audit Panel.

2 Project progress

The table below is an abbreviated version of that in the original project submission, with comments on progress achieved up to the end of the first six-month period July to December 2007. Overall the project is generally keeping to the planned timetable, with the exception of the delay to this first Audit Report.

Original HLF timetable for 2007 Comments on progress

Q1 - Q2 Obtain funding for Ayton’s Story project approved.
HLF application submitted March 2007, and approved in July 2007.
Continuing difficulties with the hoped-for funding from North Yorkshire County Council. A further re-application is currently pending.
Mostly achieved - 95% of funding secured
Q2 - Q3 Engage professional staff.
Professional adviser/tutor appointed (Kevin Cale).
University of Teesside history staff and Barry Harrison engaged to provide support.
Audit Panel members appointed.
Q3 Agree list of topics for research 25 topics agreed.

Q3 - Q4 Establish digital archiving system for all project information.
Original plan to share a CAP-wide system abandoned as it became apparent that it would not be available in time.
Decided to have our own system based on ‘Portfolio’ software.
Design agreed, intro delayed until Q1 2008
Q3 - Q4 Involve as many local people as possible in the project.
120 at the Project Launch Meeting (21 Sep 07)
180 names on project database, representing approximately 7% of all households in village.
Over 100 actively involved in research teams.
Q3 - Q4 Set up internet-based system for enabling all people involved in the project to access information.
The original plan to use our existing website ( was amended to use a free ‘wiki’ site ( as our working site.
Q3 - Q4 Run seminars on specific aspects of village development Six presentations, average attendance = 60.
Q4 First Audit Report. Delayed until 2008 Q2

3 Research topics

By the end of the first six months approximately 100 people had put their names down against the various topics. The topics generally fall into four broad areas: source materials, physical development, social development and commercial development; a full list is included in Appendix 1. A few topics do not have any names against them, but these can always be picked up later in the project when work on some of the existing topics is coming to an end. Apart from the work on Sources, there is little to report since the groups are just getting started.

4 IT systems

It has taken longer than anticipated to define our IT operating systems and equipment. However, following the appointment of Mike Newton (recently retired as an IT consultant) as our IT manager, progress has been rapid. We will have all seven computers wireless-linked when they are in the Friends’ Meeting House. They will also have internet access via the existing broadband ISP on one of our members who lives nearby, which will save us paying for a separate ISP. All information (text, images, maps, etc) will be archived in a digital asset management system. We will have standard format for controlling entries to the archive, and a standard format for heading each entry. It is expected that all these systems will be operational during the first six months of 2008.

When the above systems are proven, we will purchase the remaining IT equipment: digital projector, scanner, voice recorders, external back-up hard drive, printer, digital camera (note the last two items were not included in the original budget). We will also purchase additional software: anti-virus, digital asset management, speech recognition.

The original plan assumed that we would adapt our existing website for use as a means of enabling those involved in project research to access source information, such as census records. We decided to use a free ‘wiki’ website for this purpose, and to leave the existing website for posting results for the general public.

The Great Ayton Photographic Archive has amalgamated with the project.

5 Financial

Mike Nash (recently retired from HSBC) kindly agreed to be our Treasurer.

Income and expenditure

The HLF application was based on funding from three sources: £43,710 from HLF, £4,835 from North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) and £3,440 from ourselves. After three applications to North Yorkshire, including discussions with them between applications, we have failed to obtain any funding. Since we could not access the HLF money until all funding was in place, we had to underwrite the £4,835 from our existing funds.

A statement of income and expenditure for this project is shown in Appendix 2. There has been far less expenditure over the first six months than anticipated in the budget. Because of delays in agreeing the project’s IT systems, only four laptop computers were purchased, leaving about 70% of the capital equipment budget untouched. We have not yet been invoiced by the University for the six presentations that their staff delivered in the period; also two of the planned seven University presentations were combined into one, reducing the total to six. Apart from these two items, expenditure was in line with the budget.

It was agreed to pay for the accommodation in the Friends’ Meeting House on a single payment of £1,000 every six-months, greatly simplifying administration, but subject to review.

Volunteer time

The HLF budget included 120 hours of volunteer time for a six-month period. We recorded 744 hours in the period July to December 2007.

8 Looking ahead

The second six-month period will see the project move into its second stage, with small teams and individuals carrying out research into various topics relevant to village development. The computer systems should all become operational.

There will be a series of seven evening presentations on subjects relevant to the project. Apart from the relevance to the project, these presentations will offer an opportunity for everyone involved in the project to get together at a time when most project activities will be by individuals or small groups.

Ian Pearce 25 March 2008

Appendix 1 - Topics and teams

Working on sources (24 people)
This group has regular sessions on alternate Wednesdays at the North Yorkshire County Record Office in Northallerton. They are going through sources relevant to the village, with the intention of making them available to everyone on the project by posting them on the ‘wiki’ website. Priority is being given to census returns and parish registers, which are needed by those looking at other topics, especially population studies. The evening sessions, when it was hoped that people at work could take part, had to be abandoned because of the early evening start time.

Converting texts into MS Word documents (8 people)
This enables us to store texts in our computers and post them onto the internet.

Population studies (11 people)
There will be quite a few distinct strands to this, for example births, marriages, deaths, and migration. Most of these studies have to wait until we have the census returns and the parish registers available on the internet.

Ayton family histories (9 people)

House histories and development of housing clusters (30 people)
A large number of people are interested in researching their house history, and a group will look into the nineteenth century growth of the part of the village known as ‘California’.

Physical development of the village - earliest settlements (10 people)
Studying the geology and contours of the land surface to try to deduce why people settled at Ayton. Looking for evidence of where the early settlements were located, and charting the development of the village up to end of the medieval period.

Physical development of the village - later growth (5 people)
Working mainly from maps and the photographic archive, build up a visual presentation of how the village developed. There can be several case studies, perhaps starting with the area around Low Green. Presentations of ‘Then and Now’ scenes will be included in this topic.

Physical development of the village - the influence of the River Leven (3 people)

Bricks and brickmaking in Ayton (5 people)

Public health (2 people)

Utilities (water, gas, electricity) (4 people)

Education and school history (3 people)

Religion and church history (8 people)

Law and order (2 people)

Cricket and football (2 people)

Clubs and societies (no takers at present)

Ayton in the context of Cleveland (no takers at present)

Agriculture (no takers at present, but a lot of relevant work done as part of previous projects)

Railways (8 people)

Transport (3 people)

Leather tanning (2 people)

Milling (3 people)

Linen and weaving (1 person)

Commercial development, shops and businesses (no takers at present)

Inns and Brewing (3 people)

Recording reminiscences from elderly residents (7 people)

Appendix 2 - Income and expenditure - See attached Word file

Group Ayton’s Story Project Income and Expenditure Account (July to December 2007)
Note that our Bank Account covers GACAP activities in addition to the Ayton’s Story project.
The table below only includes Ayton’s Story activities.

Income £ Expenditure £ Budget

4 laptops 2415.90 5000.00
Community Archaeology Ltd fee 2190.60 2100.00
Accommodation 1240.00 1590.00
Maps, etc 176.25 375.00
YAS subscription 45.00 45.00
HLF grant (first instalment) 21850.00
Transfer from GACAP (laptops)1 1207.95

Sub totals 23057.95 6067.75 9110.00

Bank balance 412.52
Deposit account2 16577.68

Totals 23057.95 23057.95
1 Two of the four laptops were to come from the hoped-for NYCC grant.
2 The deposit account also holds an additional £11422.32 of GACAP reserves.


Project team

The project team was defined as the officers of GACAP at the time of application:

Dan O’Sullivan
David Taylor
Ian Pearce

Project aims

The HLF accepted our application without adding any comments. The aims of the project were contained in Section D of the application (questions 20 to 29b). In summary, the four main aims of the project can be defined as follows.

1 Give local people the opportunity to look into the development of the village.
- Extend involvement from the existing 30 or so to people with more limited time availability.
- Design activities that can be done in an individual’s own time and at their own pace.
- Encourage involvement of all ages from primary school to the elderly.

2 Increase opportunities for learning about the heritage of Great Ayton.
- Lectures and presentations.
- Learning through doing, with guidance and support.

3 Open up heritage resources to the widest possible audience.
- Collect information relevant to village development.
- Design easily-accessible index and search facilities.
- Make the information available on the internet.

4 Publish information about village development.

Ian Pearce
15 April 2008

5 May 2008

Audit Panel

Barry Hallam (Chairman), Linda Polley, Shirley Hetherington


The agreed remit for the audit panel is detailed in a document dated 4 July 2007 and the process summarised in an e mail sent to the panel on 21 March 2008. Each member of the panel had received an Audit Report dated 25 March 2008 with an addendum issued 15 April 2008. The audit panel met with Ian Pearce, Dan O’Sullivan, David W Taylor and Robert de Wardt on 30 April 2008. This meeting was to discuss the report and project in more detail to ensure it was achieving its objectives and complied with the criteria agreed with the Heritage Lottery Fund. (HLF).


1. Overall the plans and progress are consistent with those presented to the HLF. There is a measurable success of people involvement and a good range of topics. Failure to obtain funding from North Yorkshire County Council has not affected progress and has been underwritten from elsewhere. Expenditure is within budget and plan.
2. The idea to adopt a digital archiving system under development by a group of North Yorkshire CAPs was abandoned. This was because it would not be available in time and may not meet the specific needs so the group decided to design their own. At the end of the first six months the design was nearing completion and was about to be supplemented by purchase of the proprietary “Portfolio” digital management software. This is an area the audit panel should review in some detail at the next audit.
3. A process needs to be introduced to control any hardware purchased especially computers. Insurance arrangements to be checked for adequacy of cover.
4. Membership has increased over the last six years and there is strong support for the current project but the team should look to the future and consider how they can sustain such a level of growing interest as the project develops.
5. Currently each group is represented by someone at the two week meetings which provides some cross fertilisation. The project team can consider how to maximise this benefit to keep interest and communicate e.g. the newsletter, wiki site or other ideas. The panel should hear more about developments at the next audit.
6. Records. Visits to Northallerton are well supported and the findings from this research can stimulate other groups. The challenge for the future will be sorting and presenting the data to ensure the work is not lost and it is as user friendly as possible.

Auditors B. Hallam L .Polley S. Hetherington

Attach First Report to Audit Panel (July to December 2007)

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