IT’S ALWAYS surprising how quickly history can be forgotten. While major political events will always be documented, the minutia of everyday life isn’t so easy to capture.

Great Ayton History Society is currently looking into the social history of its picturesque village. A large-scale project into the stories behind the men who left the village to fight in the First World War revealed many of them had only recently settled in the area.

Looking further into the issue they obtained the 1911 census and discovered the village former Cornish miners and Norfolk farmworkers flocked to the area. They arrived looking for work in the Roseberry Topping mines, driven from their own villages by farm mechanisation and the closure of Cornwall’s tin and copper mines.

Now tourists and visitors fill the villages around Roseberry Topping, drawn by the picturesque walks, cafes and Captain Cook history. It’s difficult to picture what a bustling, industrial place it must have been only a few decades ago.

Now Catterick Garrison seems to be at a pivotal point in its history.

It’s set to become the third largest town in North Yorkshire and preparing for an increase of 8,400 military personnel plus their families.

Government funding is hopefully being made available for roads and schools. New areas of housing are springing up. Soon other businesses will follow – families may settle and set up their own cafes, shops or small businesses, to cater for the booming population.

In the past Catterick has missed out on the kind of investment other towns in North Yorkshire have enjoyed. Let’s hope this is the start of a new, prosperous future for the town.