125 Years Ago - 1894

The Wharfedale Board of Guardians have appointed Mr. and Mrs. John Naylor master and matron of the Wharfedale Union Workhouse at Otley, in succession to Mr. George Mellor (deceased) and Mrs. Mellor (resigned). There were fifty-five applicants for the post. It is stated, however, that Mr. and Mrs. Naylor have since declined to accept the appointment, but have assigned no reason.

100 Years Ago - 1919

And what of our boys who have fallen? Will they be forgotten? God forbid! They have died the death of heroes, and as heroes should be honoured. And they will be! The people of Ilkley will honour them as they deserve, and a fitting memorial will bear witness to the noble part they played. What the memorial will be is not yet settled, but it is beginning to take shape.

The last issue of “The Sunday Chronicle” contains an article by F. J. C. Hearnshaw, M.A. Professor of History, University of London, on the subject of “Bolshevism,” which he says is worse than Prussianism. Professor Hearnshaw is the son of the late Rev. John Hearnshaw, for many years an Ilkley resident, and has still family connections with the town.

75 Years Ago - 1944

Captain Hedley Verity , Green Howards, of Canada Drive, Rawdon, the Yorkshire and England cricketer , who died from wounds on war service in July last, aged 38, left £3,323.

Gunner G. Pullan, R. A., of India Command, an employee of William Walker & Sons, Otley, has written to a member of the staff describing jungle life overseas. He says: “At present I’m in residence in dense jungle, with every conceivable insect in God’s creation to pester us. Wild animals are in the close vicinity but we never see them, apart from monkeys.”

50 Years Ago - 1969

There are many references to the working conditions in mills before the Factory Act of 1833 was passed and particularly interesting are some notes written in 1880 and headed, “An Eyewitness account of Child Labour in Otley Mill in 1825, by W. Brown, of Otley,” and from which I quote short extracts. “Mr, - the mill owner, was a man of cruel and excitable nature - the children employed as spinners were combers’ children, and all his workpeople who had children had to send them to the mill or be discharged - dozens of boys and girls, eight years of age, were seen at six in the morning going to work until six at night. I worked at this mill and am an eyewitness for the things recorded. One day Mr - seized a comber’s hair and pulled it out - I saw him catch a boy wasting oil, he had sore eyes, and he (Mr-) took a handful of waste soaked with oil and rubbed it in the lad’s eye. We dare not do anything, he would sack us.”

Once an attractive feature of Ilkley Moor, the Upper Tarn and now the White Wells are steadily deteriorating and their present appearance is a disgrace to those responsible for it. The Upper Tarn has long been a subject of criticism in this newspaper. The White Wells building gets worse every month. If there is much further delay it may be impossible for anything to be done.

25 Years Ago - 1994

Are you that strange combination of shopaholic, couch potato and telly addict? If the answer is yes you must be blissfully content just now. And probably the only words you can find the energy to utter from the depths of the sofa are ‘telly shopping’. For that is certainly the buzz phrase of the moment. We are told that armchair shopping via cable or satellite is the thing of the future.

It seemed nothing more than a pipe dream - a dream of a band of dedicated enthusiasts to rebuild a railway which once ran through one of the most scenic parts of Wharfedale. Their ‘mission impossible’ was to somehow put Bolton Abbey back on the railway map. Now that ambition, often scoffed at, is becoming a reality with the purchase, at considerable cost, of the track bed, railway station and goods site, which in its heyday brought thousands of visitors - and royalty - to this historic landmark in the Yorkshire Dales.