125 Years Ago - 1894

With the Ilkley Vocal Society commencing its rehearsals on Tuesday, there is every reason to believe that for another season there are to be two separate vocal societies in Ilkley. We had hoped that this would be avoided - and that a chorus - one only - would have represented our town, thus keeping its choral capacities equal to its surrounding scenery - harmonious in every respect. There is not room in Ilkley for two, and why there is a plurality we cannot comprehend.

100 Years Ago - 1919

Electricity is superseding gas for many purposes, and gas companies and local authorities owning such are not likely to make the big profits that were once possible. The Ilkley gasworks were once a gold mine to the ratepayers, but they have not been such of late years.

The shortage of houses has brought to birth housing schemes in all parts of the country, and some authorities are already at work on the erection of more houses. In view of the shortage in Ilkley some people cannot understand how it is that the block of houses at the top of Wells Road, known as Wells Terrace, stands empty year after year, and also why something cannot be done to utilize the two large empty hydros on Crossbeck Road.

75 Years Ago - 1944

The story of his repeated attempts to escape from German prisoner-of-war camps, and the experiences he underwent before he finally succeeded were told at a meeting of the Otley and Wharfedale P. of W. Club in the Burras Lane School, Otley, on Tuesday, by Sapper Norman Middleton, who is back home after four and a half years in enemy hands. Sapper Middleton, 24, son of Mr. and Mrs. T. E. Middleton, of Ilkley Road, Otley, was taken prisoner by the Germans in France in 1940. He was on patrol at the time, and under cover of darkness escaped from his captors. His liberty was short, for within a week he was recaptured and taken to Germany. Wherever he went the urge to escape spurred him on one attempt after another.

Parachutist Tony O’Neil (20), son of Mrs. T. O’Neil, Byron Crescent, Guiseley, who returned home on Wednesday after four months adventuring in occupied Europe, counts himself the luckiest man in the British Army to be alive to tell the hectic story of his hazardous experiences. Dropped by parachute deep inside occupied France before D-Day, he fought with the Maquis, was injured in an enemy ambush, handed over to the Gestapo by a French collaborationist, and faced a Nazi firing squad but was reprieved at the last minute because it was decided he might be of more use to the enemy alive than dead.

50 Years Ago - 1969

There is official confirmation this week that it is the intention at some time in the future to build on a site at High Royds a new hospital to serve the area around Aireborough and the Wharfedale District. What will happen to the smaller hospitals such as the Coronation Hospital is not yet indicated.

Howling dogs kennelled at Ilkley Police Station after becoming lost in the district have brought about so many complaints from residents living in the vicinity that they are no longer to be kept on the premises. Instead all stray dogs taken to the Police Station will be transferred to Han Goose Farm on Silsden Moor.

25 Years Ago - 1994

Actors rehearsing for a forthcoming production of Half a Sixpence have received a ‘cash’ boost from the star who made the musical famous. Tommy Steele, who starred in the screen version of the show, handed a broken sixpence to Ilkley Amateur Operatic Society after his recent appearance at the Grand Theatre in Leeds.

One of Ilkley’s most historic landmarks could be turned from a spiritual retreat into an hotel. Myddelton Lodge may be sold by its owners, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Leeds, because the building needs expensive repairs. Myddelton Lodge dates back to 1260 and was once the home of the Middleton family which played a crucial role in the development of Ilkley. The family lands of the Middletons were disposed of towards the end of the last century. Ilkley Moor and the manorial rights were bought by Ilkley Local Board