125 Years Ago - 1894

On Friday night last the annual servants’ ball was held at the Wells House, there being a good muster of the servants, friends and tradespeople. Dancing, which commenced about nine, was kept up til 3.30, to the strains of Mr W. Dean’s band.

100 Years Ago - 1919

A few days ago one of the British Generals with the Army of Occupation in Germany held a public investiture of war honours in a German city park, and one of the N.C.O.’s on whose breast he pinned the Military Medal Ribbon was Sergeant H. W. Butcher, R.F.A., son of Mr H.M. Butcher of Wells Road, Ilkley. Sergeant Butcher was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry whilst getting the guns into action under heavy shellfire at Neuf Mesnil. A large number of troops were assembled for the ceremony, and the spectators included many German civilians.

75 Years Ago - 1944

The invasion team are on their toes. The last places on the side have been filled. Under General Eisenhower’s direction, preparations for the most intricate military operation in history are reaching their final stages. Does that mean that we can sit back and entrust the matter to their capable hands? No sir! There is a song which says “Victory starts in the home.” And that is the literal truth. You can’t make a victorious nation out of defeated homes. Victory starts with homes that pull together - and so pull the nation together.

News has been received that Sgt.-Navigator John C. Naylor, the 21-year-old son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Norman Naylor of Ilkley, reported missing from air operations in November, is a prisoner of war. His aunt Miss Clayton has received a letter from him giving this information, and saying that he is in the best of health. “I escaped from the ‘plane without a scratch, and am now safe and sound in camp, with decent food etc.” He adds this notable tribute: “Could you write to the C.O. of my station, enclose 10s., and ask him to give it to the W.A.A.F. who packed my parachute, as it certainly saved my life.”

50 Years Ago - 1969

Two establishments which have served the Ilkley district long and faithfully over a long period of years are being added to the growing list of familiar trade names which are disappearing from the town. Busbys have occupied an important place at the hub of Ilkley’s shopping centre since just before the First World War came to an end. Beanlands at Ben Rhydding was established in 1898 as a branch of Beanlands on the Grove and continued in business after the Grove shop closed down a few years ago. The name so long associated with Ilkley’s trade is not to disappear altogether because another branch of the Beanlands family has a business in another part of the town. Busby’s premises, it is said, are to be taken over by the Yorkshire Bank.

25 Years Ago - 1994

Householders in Ilkley could soon chose between more than 40 channels of television including adult films and a shopping service. This will be possible after a vital step towards bringing cable television to Ilkley is taken this month. On January 17 builders will start work on laying 6km of cable duct alongside an adopted road which runs over the moors from Riddlesden.

The year will be remembered for the Wharfe Valley losing another vital part of its diminishing health service. Three years after the inpatient unit at Ilkley Coronation Hospital was axed, the town’s Grove Convalescent Hospital shut down in March - just when public consultation on the closure had begun.