Fairy Tales: Centenary of the Cottingley Fairies

The Greatest Photographic Hoax

cottingley fairies visit Bradford

This year sees the 100th anniversary of the first ever photograph of the world famous Cottingley Fairies.  The Fairies appear in a series of five photographs taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, two young cousins in 1917 at Cottingley Beck.  The images of cut-out fairies stuck on to trees with hatpins, fooled the world including Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

One hundred years may have passed, but the story has taken on a life of its own, attracting global attention through both books and film. Whilst the girls eventually admitted that most of their photographs were artistic fakes, both remained adamant that they had seen the fairies, and Frances continued to claim that the final photograph was in fact real.

The story of the Cottingley Fairies is not the first to be told of these small folk and their doings here in Yorkshire. Tales have been whispered across Airedale and Wharfedale for centuries! Visit the new exhibition Fairy Folklore at Cliffe Castle Museum delve into the mysterious world of the fairy folk, but be warned, they’re not all butterfly wings and smiles!

Top Tip, Visit the National Science + Media Museum, Kodak gallery to see the five fairy photographs and the two original cameras on display.

Holden Park in Oakworth, will have the magic touch on Saturday 12th August from 12pm with the return of the Fairy Fest.  An enchanting event, with fairies, sprites and goblins. Inspired by the park’s maze of grottoes and caves, join fairy enthusiast, along with the Friends of Holden Park for a fun day out!

Join the Mischievous Mask Making: Free drop in craft activity at Cliffe Castle Museum. Tuesday 22 August 1-3pm and make your own mask inspired by the Fairy Folklore exhibition.  Use your imagination to turn yourself in to a fairy creature. Who will you pretend to be? Will you be a garden gnome, a pretty pixie or a terrible troll!?

Visit Cliffe Castle on the 9 September 1pm for the Heritage Open Day: Talk and tour on the Cottingley Fairies.  Social History Curator Heather Millard will look at the context of the photographs taken in 1917, followed by a tour of the current exhibition Fairy Folklore.