125 Years Ago - 1894

Before the Otley magistrates yesterday, James Moffat, and Earnest Croft, clothiers, of 39, Clarendon Road, Leeds, were charged with furiously riding a bicycle each on the Otley and Leeds highway on Wednesday October 17th. It will be remembered the serious accident which was the result of the riding, namely the running over and breaking the leg of a man named Thomas Bidgood, living in lodgings in new Street, Ilkley. Prisoners were fined 5s. and 13s. costs each.

100 Years Ago - 1919

At the annual meeting of the Women Citizen’s Association, at Ilkley, on Monday last, Mrs. Reith stated that the West Riding County Council were making an interesting experiment in the training of girls for home life. It was the first of the kind in the country. The County Council, Mrs. Reith explained, happened to have a suitable house at its disposal and girls were being taken in for a three months’ course as an experiment. The training included all kinds of work connected with the house, including laundry, gardening, needlework etc.

The funeral of Mr. John William Jowett, of Otley, a member for many years of the local fire brigade, was accorded full honours on Saturday. The coffin was mounted on the motor fire engine, and the brigade, wearing full uniform, acted as bearers. Mr Jowett was 47 years of age.

75 Years Ago - 1944

When Major D. D. Law R. A. left his home at Charnwood, Ilkley to rejoin his unit he little realised that the girl to whom he had said good-bye, would by a happy turn of events, meet and marry him two and a-half years later in Bombay. Ten days before the ceremony Major Law, with his battery, was engaging the Japs in the vicinity of the Yu River in Burma. His bride, Miss Catherine Mary Green, of Woodroyd, Ben Rhydding, Ilkley, landed in India recently as a member of the first party of V.A.D. nurses to arrive in India. Major Law arranged his leave with the intention of spending it with Miss Green in Bombay, when suddenly she received orders to report for duty prior to being transferred on active service. It was then that they made their decision to get married.

Ilkley is once again to have the opportunity of giving blood to save the lives of its fighting men in the Forces when one of the Leeds mobile blood transfusion teams visits the town. Despite a widespread educational campaign explaining the purpose and procedure of blood transfusion, some would-be donors are still under a misapprehension. While volunteers of the Red Cross, doctors and nurses are busy receiving donors throughout the country, some people are giving silly excuses for not donating. To mention just a few - “It’ll affect my nerves,” “I get headaches,” “My blood is too thin.”

50 Years Ago - 1969

A thousand years of Otley’s history is reflected in an exhibition in the Mechanics Institute this week of specimens found during the archaeological “dig” on the site of the ancient Archbishop’s Palace in the Manor House grounds overlooking Otley bridge. The exhibition is a sober but well arranged display of maps, models, photographs and specimens, which provide scope for speculation as to the role of Otley as a medieval town.

An extension to the Ilkley Council housing estate on Valley Drive, Ilkley, is now taking shape with a connecting road through to the adjoining Grange Estate. Two blocks of flats two storeys high are to be erected on the site which for many years was used for allotment purposes.

25 Years Ago - 1994

Standards at Ilkley College are set to fall if current grant levels continue, says Les Speakman, president of Ilkley Students Union. Recent research confirms that student debt increased by 50 per cent during 1995, says Mr Speakman.The average student debt in the region now stands at £1,800.

Overcrowding at Ilkley Grammar is a danger to pupils claims the school’s headteacher, Peter Wood. “there is a health and safety issue,” said Mr Wood at a meeting with education officers to discuss a crisis caused by an increased intake at the school.