125 Years Ago – 1895

During Wednesday night, at the ripe old age of ninety-two, passed away Mr. Joseph Smith, who for fifteen years had resided in Ilkley. The old gentleman was a native of Crosshills, Kildwick, and was there by occupation a wool stapler. In his younger days, we are given to understand, he was endowed with considerable wealth, but this he lost. In 1853 he went out into Australia, and taking up his abode at Melbourne, carried on business as a farmer and land proprietor. Here he retrieved the losses of his earlier days and returned to England in 1878 with a large fortune. The deceased had practically lived in Ilkley ever since and was the owner of much property in the vicinity. He took great delight in narrating the experiences of his early life in wool buying in Cumberland, Westmoreland and Scotland. Those parts he used to travel on horse back in the long, dark winter nights, and had oftentimes been attacked by highwaymen, but as often had succeeded in escaping their malevolent designs .

100 years Ago – 1920

The purchase of the site for the proposed open air swimming bath on the Holmes on the east side of Middleton Avenue, at a cost of £430 formed the subject of an enquiry by Mr. Edgar Dudley, F.S.I., an inspector of the Ministry of Health, in the Ilkley Council chamber on Tuesday morning. There was no opposition to the proposal.

Before the war one of the most valuable social organisations in Ilkley was the Ilkley Guild of Help. Its basic principle was to seek to teach people to help themselves, rather than to administer charity, and in this direction it performed a valuable work. An announcement was made this week that it is to be taken over by the Ilkley Women Citizens’ Association.

75 Years Ago – 1945

Corporal Dennis William Turner, of Stocks Hill, Menston, has returned on leave after four years in the Middle East. Corpl. Turner has seen service in Palestine, Syria, Trans-Jordan, and with the Persia-Iraq Command. He was one of the first to land on the beaches of Sicily. His unit was relieved by part of the First Army and he returned with it to Syria. During his travels Corpl. Turner has met several Wharfedale men and a Nursing Sister from Shipley. He has been particularly fortunate in being able to keep in touch with another man Pte. Fred Walker. They have had many short leaves together, including one last Christmas at Bethlehem.

A D.S.O. has been awarded to Acting Group Captain Peter Henry Cribb, of Menston, who also holds the D.F.C. Although only 26 years of age, Captain Cribb is the commanding officer of a large operational station in the South of England. He was one of the original members of the pathfinder force. His father is a well-known figure in the West Riding wool textile trade.Captain Cribb was educated at Bradford Grammar School and Prince Henry’s Grammar School, Otley.

50 Years Ago – 1970

The anniversary of the death, on Sunday, of William Edward Forster, the man who brought education within the reach of everyone by his Elementary Education Act, of a hundred years ago, will be specially remembered at Burley-in-Wharfedale, the village that was his home for many years. For 33 years prior to his death on April 5, 1886, he and his wife Jane, daughter of Dr. Thomas Arnold, of Rugby, lived at Wharfeside, Burley, and he was buried in God’s Acre.

25 years ago- 1995

A Wharfedale man is to have a significant say in the way that English sport benefits from the money raised by the National Lottery. David Geldart, 39, head of physical education at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Comprehensive School, Menston, has been chosen by The Sports Council as part of an experienced 12-member Lottery Awards panel.

In the early hours of Saturday March 28 1942, Keith Runton discovered something on Ilkley Moor that he would keep secret for years to come. For Mr Runton, now 87, who lives at the Troutbeck Residential Home in Crossbeck Road, Ilkley, found a crash landed Wellington bomber that had just returned from a historic combined forces raid on a German naval base at St Nazaire on the French Atlantic coast.