125 Years Ago - 1894

The day is past and gone in which women took no interest in politics, and merely echoed the opinions of their nearest male relatives. Modern progress in education has altered the intellectual condition of women, as it has done that of working-men, and every woman now forms an opinion of some kind on what is passing around her, be it a correct or an incorrect one.

100 Years Ago - 1919

The influenza epidemic is causing an appalling death roll, and almost as much tragedy as the war. All of us are familiar with its ravages, and likewise the inability of doctors to either locate the cause or compound a remedy. The tragedy of it is evidenced in the number of young people it is sending to the grave; many of them soldiers home on furlough after having safely passed through all the horrors, dangers and hardships of the war. The scourge is attributed to all sorts of causes, and remedies innumerable are recommended. One writer says it is due to a shortage of whisky. Our teetotal friends have been rejoicing over this shortage for some time, but if influenza can in any measure be prevented or cured by either the use of whisky, gin or rum, let us have the whisky or anything else of a like nature, and hang Mr. Stiggins and his teetotal principles. Whisky was certainly a very valuable and much used remedy in the old days, and its efficacy in the case of a very severe cold the writer has proved.

The time was when trees were considered to possess more than a beauty value; feeding on gasses deleterious to health, but now we are told that trees induce a damp atmosphere and encourage influenza, bronchitis, pneumonia and consumption, so it is becoming the fashion with many to fell the trees surrounding houses and even on public thoroughfares. In Ilkley the hand of the sylvan beauty destroyer is now at work, and certianly the thinning of trees surrounding some houses should provide more light and air.

75 Years Ago - 1944

We are advised the first Moroccan sardines to reach the public since the control of canned fish about three years ago will be on sale next month, together with sardines from Portugal.They will cost 1s. and six points for the popular-sized tin.

An Otley man, well-known in Wharfedale Rugby Union circles, and at present serving with R.E.M.E. in the Middle East, was among the players selected for the first England trial game of the season at Scopus, in Palestine. He is Staff Sergeant Kenneth Burnell, only son of Mr. and Mrs. C. Burnell, “Glenhome”, Bradford Road, Otley, and an old boy of Ilkley Grammar School.

50 Years Ago - 1969

On a round the world trip an Ilkley girl, Miss Andrea Williams (27), of Parklands,is now working at the British High Commission in Sydney, Australia, earning money to finance the remainder of her journey. Miss Williams left Ilkley to take up market research in London. Then as a result of what she describes as a “mad impulse” conceived three days earlier, she set off on 13 February, 1968 to see the world. The first stage of her journey was by train to Turkey. “My hair-brained schemes were soon shot to pieces by the British Consul who related several horrifying tales of the disappearance of young English girls who were foolish enough to cross Asia alone and in the middle of winter,” she says.

Two of three Ilkley spinster sisters will this weekend be celebrating their birthdays. They are Miss Alice Simpson, who will be 91 tomorrow, and he younger sister Miss Sarah Simpson, who is 88 on Sunday. They have lived at 27 Wharfe View road for the past 23 years. A fourth sister, Mrs Kate Mawer, of West Hall Farm, near Addingham, was 90 when she died in 1967. The Simpsons have a record of nonagenarians in their family. Both their parents Mr and Mrs Solomon Simpson lived to be 90, and a grandmother lived to be 93.

25 Years Ago - 1994

You were right if you thought you recognised the hospital building in last night’s distressing Screen Two television drama Skallagrigg. The Victorian buildings at High Royds psychiatric hospital in Menston were the setting for the BBC-2 programme which featured The Good Life comedy star Richard Briers. Yesterday’s episode was the second time in less than a year that BBC-2 cameras have filmed at High Royds. Last year the hospital was the setting for a drama/documentary about Alzheimer’s Disease.

A grandiose idea for an underground car park in Ilkley has sounded alarm bells among historians. A leading archaeologist this week predicted serious concerns if a suggestion for a subterranean structure at the existing town centre car park every reached the planning stages. Dr Stuart Wrathmell, of the West Yorkshire Archaeology Service, said excavations would disturb potentially precious ground on the fringe of The Grove where there was a civilian settlement in Roman times.