125 Years Ago – 1895

It is with regret that we announce the death of Mr Henry Smith, of Railway Terrace, Ilkley, which took place on Sunday morning. The deceased, who was fifty-eight years of age, had been employed as guard on the Midland Railway for a considerable number of years, in fact he was the guard to the first train that came to Ilkley, on the occasion of the opening of the line in 1865, and took his first night’s lodgings in an old thatched house that stood near the fountain at the top of Brook Street, then in the occupation of “Old Tom Lister.” Thus there has passed away one more personage who was a connecting link with the earlier days of Ilkley. One thing which makes his death more sad is the fact that only ten days prior to his demise his wife also passed over to the great majority.

100 Years Ago – 1920

The “Ilkley Gazette and Wharfedale Advertiser,” to give it its full title, is the oldest established newspaper in Wharfedale. It made its first appearance on May 4th, 1861. Its price was three half-pence. It was at first printed by Mr C. Denton, at Sunbridge Lane, Bradford, and published by the proprietor Mr. John Shuttleworth, at No. 1, Brook Street, Ilkley. Later Mr Shuttleworth added printing plant to his business as a bookseller and stationer and printed the “Gazette” at his printing office, which was on the Leeds Road, Ilkley. “We make no pretensions,” he wrote, “to grand editorial management. Those who look for dashing and cutting leaders will do so in vain. Political and religious controversy we shall altogether exclude. Still, our columns will be open for letters or corrections on all matters of fact.”

75 Years Ago – 1945

Flight-Lieutenant Frank Wright, of the R.A.F., son of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Wright, Bella Vista, St John’s Park, Menston, is home on leave after being away four and a half years. He was for the first 15 months in South Africa in the training command. Here he found the people remarkably kind and hospitable and the British men of the fighting forces were received into the homes of the South Africans and made to feel part of the family. Afterwards Flt.-Lt. Wright became attached to the night fighters and the last three years he has spent in the Middle East.

April has been described as the “singing” month, and also as an “opening and hopeful period”. In 1945, it is surely sustaining the description not only in the world of nature but also in world events. Its opening was Easter Day, with its resounding, triumphant note of victory and of lively hope, both in harmony with the heartening news of swift moving drama on the wide battlefronts of Europe. These are days of high tension, the tension of a hope – long deferred – now on the eve of fulfilment.

50 Years Ago – 1970

Otley’s round the world traveller Mr Venon Hartley, of Side Copse, is due back in this country this weekend. His “holiday of a lifetime” tour commenced on January 20 when he sailed from Southampton. It has taken him across the world to Australia, over the Pacific to America and then back home via the Atlantic.

Otley Cricket Club is 150 years old this year. To commemorate the occasion a brochure is being produced and should be available for the start of the 1970 season. Ray Beadle, one of the players, has acted as editor and has spent many hours of research into the club’s history.

25 Years Ago – 1995

“Inadequate” street cleaning in Ilkley has led the town to withdraw from competing in this year’s national Britain in Bloom competition. The dramatic decision has been made despite Ilkley’s impressive record in the prestigious annual event – it won the top prize in 1990 and came second last year.

Ilkley’s biggest fund-raising appeal since the 1939-45 War has been launched to provide facilities for the town’s young people. An ambitious target of £350,000 has been set to refurbish semi-derelict youth club premises in Little Lane. Organisers want every person in the town to back “one of the most worthwhile local projects with which it has been challenged.”