Looking Back with the Ilkley Gazette and the Wharfedale Observer

125 Years Ago - 1890
On Monday, the men employed in digging the drain connected with the new building near the railway bridge in Brook Street came across a small cinery urn of dark coloured pottery embedded in dark coloured soil. Unfortunately the urn was broken by the pick into several fragments, which are now in the possession of Mr Isaac Dean. The urn contained nothing but a quantity of dark coloured earthy material.
An exhibition of wire work and wood carving was opened on Saturday in the lecture hall at Burley. Classes have been held during the past winter in the lecture hall to give instruction in making useful and ornamental articles from wire, and also in the higher art of wood carving. The exhibits in wire work comprised a number of flower stands, card trays, photographic stands and fire screens.
100 Years Ago - 1915
There was an exciting incident at the Ben Rhydding stepping stones on Sunday morning when an Ilkley child, Fanny Robinson, nine years of age, who lives in Leeds Road, opposite the Drill Hall, in crossing the River Wharfe, lost her balance and fell in. Her cry was heard by Pete A D Vivian, of the West Riding National Reserve, who is staying at the Ilkley Red Cross Hospital. The child had been carried 15 or 20 yards downstream when he dashed into the water and carried her out. At this point the river is fortunately comparatively shallow, and though the little girl was exhausted when rescued, she soon recovered on being taken home.
News of a remarkable and happy meeting is conveyed in a postcard from Sister Katie Scott, the eldest daughter of Mr W Scott, photographer, Ilkley. She is in France as a nurse and writing to her parents she tells how she met her brother, transport driver Claude Scott. She was out walking in the morning – being engaged on night duty – and heard a voice calling her name from behind. Turning round, she discovered that the voice was that of her brother. She had no knowledge that he was anywhere in the district. He had been at the front since shortly after the war began, and she had not seen him since several months before that time.
75 Years Ago - 1940
A remarkable story has been published this week telling how Miss Mae Bacon, the musical comedy actress, helped to trap two spies in France. Miss Bacon, a native of Ilkley, was back in London after 15 weeks of entertaining troops in France. It was not put on for the benefit of troops, but to counteract the activities of two men suspected of spying for the enemy. What happened confirmed the suspicions of the military authorities, and the men were put under arrest.
A brief but very beautiful display of the Northern Lights – Aurora Borealis – was visible from Wharfedale on Sunday night. The centre of the display appeared to be not on the northern horizon, but the very zenith, from which long rays of lights in changing colours streamed in every direction. To the south-east, the lights were paled by the light of the rising moon, and their loveliest effect was towards the west. At the zenith, the colours were cold, changing from apple-green to slate, but as the rays pulsated westward, they took on a warm purple colour.
50 Years Ago - 1965
A lorry that went on a journey over Otley Chevin, round East Carlton and back down West Chevin, was driven by two 14-year-old schoolboys, with eight other boys and girls aged between 13 and 16 years as passengers. This was stated at Otley Juvenile Court on Tuesday. When the 14 summonses concerning the lorry ride were called, they were answered by ten defendants, who each appeared with a parent. Insp Lawton said all but two of the defendants were still at school.
Described as a circus clown, of no fixed address, a man was sent to prison for a total of 12 months at Otley on Friday. He was gaoled for six months for stealing clothes, binoculars and other items from the property of Mr G Reid, at Burley Woodhead, and six months for shopbreaking and larceny at Heysham, the sentences to run consecutively. A statement alleged to have been made by defendant said that he spent four months working for a circus in Glasgow, but his girlfriend’s father found out he was on the run from Borstal. He took a boat to Belfast. After being sent to gaol for six months for offences in Ireland, he returned to this country and went to Carlisle, where he was arrested.
25 Years Ago - 1990
Drivers who have had to negotiate the many deep potholes, ruts and raised grates on roads in Aireborough claim they are dangerous and probably the worst in the county. One motorist, who did not wish to give his name, said Aireborough ought to be re-named “Potholeborough”. Pedestrians who have to struggle along the many hazardous pavements also have a grouse. Motorists and pedestrians alike say that something should be done immediately about the deplorable state of the roads and pavements in Guiseley, Yeadon and Rawdon.
A full scale police search was launched on Saturday afternoon for two men who raided an Addingham shop at gunpoint. About 12 police officers from Ilkley joined in the hunt for the raiders who snatched coats and jackets worth £2,000, and cash from Sheepskin Products at Townhead Mill, near Main Street. The two raiders entered the shop posing as prospective customers, then one of the men produced a hand gun, and forced the shop owner and his wife into an office.