Selby Stories Programme Launched

An exciting new programme of cultural events has been launched in Selby.

Story-gathering has started, to collect reminiscences from local people, and Selby Abbey will be home to a new artist in residence. There will also be singing and song writing, projection, creative art, performance and music – in some familiar places but also unexpected and different spaces.

The activities are part of Selby Stories, cultural events celebrating Selby and what makes it unique, encouraging both locals and visitors to engage with the town centre in new and exciting ways. The programme runs to December 2023.

Selby Stories is the cultural programme for the Selby High Street Heritage Action Zone – one of more than 60 high streets in the country to receive a share of funding from Historic England, along with funding from Selby District Council. The funding aims to help revive and inspire engagement with high streets. The project is being delivered by a partnership of local community and cultural organisations, led by Selby Abbey

A specially trained team of seven local volunteers have started to collect oral history stories from local people covering all aspects of the town centre’s rich history – including leisure, special events, memorable people and faces, the market, changes in the streetscape, the town centre, the shipyards, river, the flour mill and more.

The story collection is being led by Grace Chapman at Selby Abbey. Grace has just submitted her PhD in history as well as having a strong interest and background in oral history.

The stories will be used to inspire the artists who will be creating the Selby Stories programme and will also be archived at the North Yorkshire County Council record office as a valuable resource for researchers and others wanting to learn more about the history of the town.

Local people are invited to share their stories at bookable sessions being run at the St Nicholas Centre in Selby Abbey during October and November. For more information and to book, please email Grace at or visit

Grace Chapman, Community Engagement Coordinator at Selby Abbey, commented:

“Selby has such a rich and varied cultural history and we are delighted that the town was successful in receiving funding to gather stories and use them to inspire this exciting programme of events. We hope people of all ages will get involved through sharing their stories and coming along to join the activities. It also enables us to build on the important legacy of Selby 950 back in 2019 and keep Selby firmly on the cultural map.”

Jane Jackson from Historic England added:

“We are delighted to be supporting Selby Stories through the High Street Heritage Action Zone programme. The project will give local people of all ages the opportunity to both celebrate Selby’s history and contribute their own stories about the town.”

Selby District Council’s Lead Executive Member for Health and Culture, Councillor Tim Grogan, said,

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Selby, building on what we did for the Selby950 celebrations. Selby Stories will showcase the history and culture of Selby and provide exciting new activities and events, encouraging residents and visitors to the town. I encourage all residents and visitors to get involved and share their inspiring stories.”

The new Explore Heart of Yorkshire website is hosting the events programme, which will be updated as events are added: