125 Years Ago - 1894

Of those that have gone to the Antipodes - and they are many - none have returned, and the reason why is not remote if all have been so successful as the writer of this letter just received and which reads as follow:-”Eleven years ago I worked for you for the fine salary of 4s per week. Since then I have earned up to £5 per week with all expenses paid.” If he had remained on this side of the globe his earnings would probably never have exceeded one quarter that of £5.

There can be no objection to the planting of trees in Spicey Ghyll. At present it is a deep bare ravine , with a never-failing stream running down its course, and on one side a disused quarry. If filled with trees it would give quite an additional charm to the Moor.

100 Years Ago - 1919

At the meeting of the West Riding County Council the Rev. Canon Phipps referred to the utter inefficiency of the accommodation needed for the treatment of the soldiers discharged from the Army suffering from tuberculosis, of which there were 41,000. One member of the Council (Major F. H. Fawkes) had most kindly offered the use of Farnley Park and the buildings which had been used as a military training camp.

A sudden rise in property values and a demand for houses has created an unusual position at Ben Rhydding. The class of house chiefly affected is rented at £35 or £40. Prices have jumped £100, £200, and even more in some cases upon pre-war rates. In one case a terrace has changed hands at nearly double the price it cost to build.

75 Years Ago - 1944

The nation met the New Year in a spirit of high optimism and solid belief in the certainty of victory. It is a token of the stern sincerity with which it confronted the aggressors and defied them when hope seemed lost that, undaunted by the sacrifice of more than four years of ceaseless conflict, it should be straining to attack the enemy in his stronghold. Knowledge of the confidence with which we look forward to 1944’s outcome was responsible no doubt for the warnings so strongly emphasised by our leaders that the last lap would be the hardest and that we must not relax one fraction of our supreme effort.

Last September the story was told in this paper of the experiences of Third Engineer John M. Heap of Rawdon and Ilkley, when the tanker on which he was serving was torpedoed; he spent 14 days in an open boat, and was one of the seven who survived. This week it is officially announced that he has been awarded the M.B.E. for his good services on that occasion. The official citation says: “After 11 days of rough sailing the lifeboat encountered still heavier seas. It capsized four times within three hours, throwing the occupants into the sea. Third Engineer Officer J. M. Heap swam out six times in the darkness to rescue brother officers after he had been 11 days in the boat and was very weak.”

50 Years Ago - 1969

A key presented to Dr. Robert Collyer when he opened the Ilkley Public Library and Museum in 1907, has been returned to Ilkley Urban Council by the widow of Mr. Norman Frederick Eastman, of New York, one of Dr. Collyer’s grandsons who died on 15 December, 1967. This was reported to the council at its meeting on Monday and the suggestion that it should be displayed with the other exhibits in the Collyer collection was accepted.

Hot meals were taken to 17 house-bound people in Addingham and Beamsley on Wednesday lunch-time. In private cars, five teams of volunteers each comprising a driver and passenger, will serve a meal once every five weeks.

25 Years Ago - 1994

Motorists should be driving along the £3.5m Bolton Abbey bypass by the end of January. A roundabout on the new section of the A59 between Skipton and Harrogate is already partly in use and the majority of the mile-long bypass is ready for traffic.

The imminent ordination of women priests has so upset a former Vicar of Menston that he is resigning from his post. The Rev Michael Heckingbottom, 60, now Vicar of Collingham with Harewood, told his congregation that he would step down at the end of April.