125 Years Ago - 1894

We hear that a tennis court is about to be formed at Ben Rhydding, and that one of the two courts proposed to be provided is to be opened next week.

The first open air meeting of the newly-formed Ilkley Temperance Union was advertised to be held on Wednesday evening in Wellington Road, but owing to the inclemency of the weather it was held in the Grove Schoolroom. Stirring speeches were delivered by Mr. F. Greetham, and Mr C Swales, on the suppression of the drink traffic, and Sankey’s hymns were sung.

100 Years Ago - 1919

Local authorities in different parts of the country are beginning to take in hand arrangements for the peace rejoicings, and historical and military pageants of all kinds are contemplated. There has been no perceptible move in Ilkley yet, but at Otley this week a committee meeting has been held, and some outline of the proposed festivities published. It is proposed to spread the rejoicings over three days, with three days public holiday.

Yesterday the Ilkley Hospital and Convalescent Home once more opened its doors to civilian convalescents, after undergoing renovation following years of patriotic service as a hospital for wounded soldiers. The hospital was erected in 1861, and was the first of its kind in Yorkshire; having its origin in the Ilkley Bath Charity, established in 1829.

75 Years Ago - 1944

A thrilling account of the eruption of Vesuvius is told in a letter home by Lt.-Col. George E. Rhodes, R.E., son of Mr. William Rhodes, a former member of the Ilkley Urban District Council. Lt.-Col. Rhodes is on the Headquarters staff of the Allied Control Commission, Allied Armies in Italy. Telling of the eruption of Vesuvius, which was the most violent for 75 years, he writes:- “It was a great experience, the flames, the molten rocks and lava, the thunder of the explosions under one’s feet, and the blast of steam, smoke and rocks hurled hundreds of feet into the air. “

Captain G. R. Booth, R. A., only son of Mr. and Mrs. George Booth, of Ben Rhydding, is now an instructor at the Mountain Warfare Training Centre, in the Levant. The men are training for a grim kind of warfare which demands the highest qualities of courage, stamina and skill. They are not holiday ski-ers, but mountain soldiers, and there is a world of difference between the two. A mountaineer of the British Army has to learn - from scratch - to fight two enemies - the mountains and the Alpine Regiments of the enemy, which are recruited from men who have been born and bred on or above the snow-line.

50 Years Ago - 1969

By a Family Doctor - At a recent convention when doctors set out to lay down rules on top executives for the avoidance of that modern malady strain, one of the points stressed was that a man should not keep in touch with the office while on holiday. For that reason a sea voyage is one of the wisest forms of holiday. The advice to take a sea voyage for the benefit of health is no new idea. Probably it has been given to wealthy patients by their physicians almost as long as the art of medicine has existed. It is only in recent years that modern enterprise has made this form of holiday and health treatment practicable for the average man.

The provision of an indoor swimming pool for Ilkley at an approximate cost in excess of £200,000 was approved “in principle” by the Finance Committee of the Ilkley Urban District Council. It was suggested that the most suitable site would be on the East Holmes, space being needed for 350 cars and restaurant facilities.

25 Years Ago - 1994

Di Halliday lives in Burley-in-Wharfedale - and she has made a little bit of history. She is the first woman from the area to be ordained as a priest in the Church of England. The decision to admit women priests has split the Church, with some clerics even resigning because of it.

A word of advice to cashpoint users - count your money after drawing it. One of our reporters was less than delighted to find an Abbey National machine had given him £10 less than requested.