125 Years Ago – 1892

On Monday evening the dead body of Fred Bancroft, aged 14 years, son of Mr. Thomas Bancroft, cab proprietor, Addingham, was found fast to a stake in the river at the Sandbeds, Low Mills, Addingham. It will be remembered that the lad, who had been employed at Low Mills, as a creeler, suddenly disappeared about a fortnight ago, leaving his hat, coat and tie in the mills.

100 Years Ago – 1917

The death occurred on Tuesday, as the result of an accident, of Second Lieutenant William Sutton Smeeth, of the Royal Irish Riffles, and the Royal Flying Corps. Lieut. Smeeth was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Watson Smeeth, of “The Sycamores,” Ben Rhydding and was 22. He was educated at the Ilkley Grammar School and Loretto and joined the Public Schools Battalion as a private in December, 1914, afterwards receiving a commission in the Royal Irish Riffles, with which regiment he went to the Western Front in October 1915. He was wounded in July of last year, and later became attached to the Royal Flying Corps; only obtaining his “wings” very recently.

Corporal E. W. Knowles, chemists’ section of the Royal Engineers, son of Mr. G. Mason Knowles, of Ben Rhydding, has died of wounds at a casualty clearing station. Corporal Knowles was educated at the Bradford and Ilkley Grammar Schools, and before the war was in business with his father, who is a member of the firm Messrs. H. and H. Knowles, wool and noil merchants. He was originally rejected for army service owing to defective eyesight, but was eventually accepted.

75 Years Ago – 1942

Priority on buses for war workers was again mentioned at a meeting of Otley Urban Council. It was reported that complaints were being received that workers who had been working for 12 hours were left standing in bus queues for considerable periods because they had not been given priority.

Lt W E Bowes, of Menston, the former Yorkshire and England fast bowler, is a prisoner of war. He was reported missing three weeks ago in Libya, where he was serving with a heavy anti-aircraft battery. His wife, who lives at Kemsweb, Bleach Mill Lane, Menston, did not know if he was in German or Italian hands.

50 Years Ago -1967

A girl police cadet, on the eve of setting out for Ilkley to take the West Riding Constabulary Outward Bound course wrote to tell her mother of her departure with the opening words “Yorkshire Ugh…”. It is apparently the attitude of many of them to what they believe is a totally industrialised county, smoking chimney stacks, and gruff people. Ilkley Moor and a friendly reception changes all that. They admit to having their breath taken away by the panoramic views, the beauty of the valley and of the town.

With the arrival of Monsieur and Madame Lachaptois and over 40 French boys and girls in Ilkley on Wednesday morning, the 21st exchange of pupils between the two Ilkley Secondary Schools and the Lycee de Coutances has begun. The link was initiated in 1946.

25 Years Ago – 1992

Just before the first heat began at the third Otley River Festival, the sun finally came out and lifted the spirits of everyone taking part. This year’s theme was the European Community and the festival drew in people from all over the area to watch the first raft race heat. One of the main attractions at the event was Otley’s Town Mayoress, Mrs Jane Weston, getting on a jet ski and tearing up and down the river for charity.

Textile mills were once major employers in Wharfedale, and even those who did not work in them were affected by their presence. The buildings dominated small towns and villages, and the hooters which marked the beginning and end of their working day were used as time checks by the general population. Guiseley once had a dozen mills. There were ten in Yeadon, six in Otley, eight in Addingham, and two each in Rawdon and Burley-in-Wharfedale.