Bilton Historical Society was founded in 1996. Initially the Society's activities were limited to meetings, talks and a newsletter, but it had always been intended that it would get involved with local history research.
However, finding a research project with a clear objective and wide-ranging appeal was not as simple as it sounded. The solution came by way of a WEA class which introduced members to the concept of a "Community Archaeology Project". This is a non-destructive approach to practising archaeology aimed at identifying and recording the historic elements within a landscape without excavation. This was ideal, but it would still be expensive and require funding. The Society would need expert help with training and setting up the project, also it would be necessary to hire a room to meet and to store all the maps, papers and other equipment needed.
Consultant archaeologist, Kevin Cale, advised the Society to apply for a Local Heritage Initiative grant. After consulting with Harrogate Borough Council and several local community groups it appeared there was sufficient interest in the project and a successful grant application was made. We have since successfully completed three lottery-funded research projects.
The Society has made extensive use of computers and specialised software, giving help and training to those who wanted to be involved.
The Society launched and maintains a local history image archive. We continue to invite people to donate or lend old photographs to add to this archive.