125 years ago - 1889
Harvest operations in Mid-Wharfedale are now in full swing, and there are indications of average crops. Wheat is not extensively grown about Ilkley and Otley and what there is is in the outlying villages and is somewhat deficient owing to the spring frosts. The yield, however, will be about an average one. On the other hand, barley will be decided above average; and oats will compare will with the crops of the most successful seasons in the past.
A great demonstration of West Riding Unionists was held at Denton Park, near Ilkley, on Saturday afternoon, considerably over 20,000 people assembling within the confines of the beautiful demesne, once the home of the Fairfaxes, but now owned by Mr D'Arcy Wyvill. The day dawned somewhat hazy, and a slight downward tendency of the barometer induced fears that matters would hardly turn out as favourable as the summer-like promise of the previous day. The ordinary trains alone were crowded with visitors to Denton Park, to say nothing of the special excursions run by both companies.
100 years ago - 1914
On Saturday afternoon a very severe engagement was supposed to have taken place in the neighbourhood of Backstone Beck, and and the members of the Ilkley Voluntary Aid Detachment were told to render "first aid" to the wounded and convey them to the clearing hospital, which was situated at the side of the bridge at the top of Cowpasture Road. Commandant TS Carter was in charge, thirty-six members took part, and a number of boy scouts acted as the wounded. These were planted in various parts of the beck and vicinity, suffering from all kinds of wounds and injuries, and the stretcher bearers and other ambulance men employed had the wounded to find, do whatever was necessary in the way of treatment and bandaging, and bring them to the hospital.
All the Ilkley recruits sworn in and fit left Ilkley on Monday afternoon. Never before has such a scene been witnessed in Ilkley. Leeds Road, Church Street and Skipton Road were crowded with people, and relatives and friends lined the thoroughfares at all points. Some of the wives and parents took the parting sadly, and others seemed proud of their husbands and lads and bid them "God Speed" with a cheery voice.
75 years ago - 1939
Otley people are giving whole-hearted hospitality to between 500 and 600 school children who have been evacuated from Leeds. A number of correspondents have written to the Editor drawing attention to complaints they have to make concerning aspects of evacuation. One of these concerns is the "lack of imagination and sentiment" on the part of a certain type of Leeds parent, who are in a better financial position than some, and who have not realised that a great many Otley householders who have offered hospitality to the children are in what is known as the "lower middle-class" scale of wages. Some of them are now finding it a real struggle to care for a healthy, growing child at the rates allowed "In some cases they go so far as to drop very broad hints of what they children 'have been used to' in the way of food and luxuries, but without any suggestion of how these are to be paid for."
A grocer of Ilkley was summoned by Otley Police Court for failing to close his shop at 8pm. Thomas Naylor, shops' inspector, said on Friday August 4 he kept observation on the man's shop. At 8.20pm he saw a girl enter and obtain several articles for which she tendered payment. Witness spoke to the defendant, who admitted having sold articles including sugar and cheese. The man expressed regret, said he had been in business about 12 months. A fine of 10s and 5s costs was imposed.
50 years ago - 1964
The announcement that Otley's only remaining picture house, the Beech Hill Cinema, is to go over to bingo on six nights a week - including Sundays - was commented on from the pulpit by the Vicar of Otley, the Rev Patrick Ashe. "I shall be surprised if it lasts six months," the Vicar told the congregation on Sunday morning. "I cannot imagine Jesus going to the Beech Hill cinema for 'eyes down' at 8 o' clock. For those who have no purpose in life it is just another way of using up time."
The fluoridation of water in the area of the Rombalds Water Board is "technically out of the question" it was stated at the Board's meeting at Menston on Friday. A letter from the British Medical Association, on the fluoridation of water, was placed before the meeting by the clerk. Without being read, the letter was formally received and no further action taken.
25 years ago - 1989
Angry parish councillors are to spearhead a campaign against the proposed closure of the in-patient unit at Ilkley Coronation Hospital, which has served the town for almost eighty five years. This latest move by the Airedale Health Authority will not affect out-patient services, which are to be retained. But hospital staff and friends believe this is "the beginning of the end" and eventually all services at the hospital will be phased out and the hospital closed.
Ilkley woman Mrs Karen Taylor was more than pleased when she was able to read a bed-time story to her youngest son, having regained her voice after a year without speaking. Mrs Taylor lost her voice when she was treated for cancer of the thyroid, which was diagnosed two and a half years ago. During the radio-therapy treatment her windpipe was affected creating an effect "like holding your breath when you attempted to speak," said Mrs Taylor. " Her breakthrough came when her treatment was finished, and she was able to undergo a bone graft operation to re-build her windpipe which enabled her to re-gain her voice.