YORKSHIRE is the largest county in England, writes local historian Paul Chrystal in the introduction to his latest book Old Yorkshire Country Life. "It should come as no surprise, then, that Yorkshire has always had within its borders more countryside, and the life that goes with it, than any other county."

Over the last century, however, that way of life has changed rapidly. Paul's latest book is an attempt to capture a flavour of the Yorkshire country way of life as it used to be. It takes the form of more than 50 old photographs showing various aspects of rural life in Yorkshire between 60 and 100 years ago.

Paul is an extensive collector of old photographs: and there are some wonderful ones in his new book.

One, dating from 1885, shows the old horse bus which, before the arrival of the railway in 1891, plied a route between Alne and The George in Easingwold Market Place. The fare, Paul writes, was 1one shilling either way. "Five horses and three drivers were employed."

Another extraordinary photograph captures the intrusion of the modern world - and of modern geopolitics - on even the most remote corners of Yorkshire. Taken at Fylingdales Moor in 1962, it shows the Ballistic Missile Early Warning Station being built. 'The geometry of the space age at its most alluring and frightening', is how Pevsner described this construction, Paul says. How true.

There's a wonderful photograph of Land Army girls at Grange Farm, Haxby, in the Second World War; and a great picture - sadly undated - showing George and Isaac Scarth making besoms (brooms made of twigs tied around a stick) up at Glaisdale, a 'fascinating picture of a dying country craft', as Paul describes it.

Our favourite photograph of all, however, has to be the one taken at Oxclose Farm, Hutton-le-Hole, in 1948. It shows farm workers taking a well-earned tea break during threshing. There are 13 grown men, one small child, and a dog. How often in these mechanistic days would you see that many people working together in the fields at harvest time?

Old Yorkshire Country Life by Paul Chrystal is published by Stenlake, priced £10.