125 Years Ago - 1894

The Moors - Are they free for anyone to ramble upon unrestricted or are they not? This seems to be a question most desirable to be known and settled once for all, so that there may remain no misconception thereon. It has come to our knowledge that there have been interfered with persons, walking upon the moor in the full enjoyment of the freshening breezes and the perfume of the heather bloom, and doing so in the full consciousness that they were perfectly justified and legally right. But according to our informant they were disabused of this idea, and in terms the reverse of politeness. They were told by an employee of our Local Board that they had no right there and were trespassing.

100 Years Ago - 1919

With the heather in full bloom the moors are now looking their best, and a walk over them is proving a joy indeed to many people from Bradford and neighbouring towns. It is just now the holidays in some of these districts, consequently those with little spare cash are making a visit to Ilkley serve them in place of Blackpool or Morecambe. Ilkley is also being visited very largely by people from Lancashire and elsewhere, who make the journey by motor char-a-banc, a mode of progression for pleasure purposes that has been much in vogue since the war.

Any little scheme for the improvement and development of the town, which means an expenditure of public money, to a certain section of Ilkley ratepayers is like a “red rag to a bull;” they are up in arms immediately. No wonder then that the Tea Room and Shelter on the moor is considered an absolute waste of money by some of these individuals, and that the Council’s proposal to purchase a portion of “The Holmes” and construct a bathing pool, is already beginning to meet with opposition.

75 Years Ago - 1944

The beautiful stretch of woodland and the heath on Otley Chevin, known as Danefield Wood, and the deer park, comprising 263 acres, has been presented by Major Le G. G. W. Horton-Fawkes, of Farnley Hall, to Otley. In a letter to the Chairman of the Council Mr Horton-Fawkes said: “Your Council may even now be considering alternative forms of war memorials. It occurs to me that an open space which can be beautified by trees and preserved in a natural state might offer an opportunity as a memorial to all who fought and furthered the War of Freedom on all fronts.”

A Menston man, Flight-Lieut. Phillip Lawson, organised the airstrip preparations for the landing of planes which evacuated 900 wounded men from Yugo-Slavia. The biggest evacuation flight of its kind ever made, it was carried out in response to an emergency appeal from the partisans. Though the planes flew close to the battles raging not a single one was lost.

50 Years Ago - 1969

A native of Middleton, Ilkley, Mr. James Joseph Freeman, (90), of Sicklinghall, has decided to retire after 75 years as a joiner. He served his apprenticeship with an Ilkley joiner and when he started at the age of 15 he received 4s a week. Mr Freeman has decided to retire because his eyesight was letting him down.

Catching moles has been the lifetime hobby of a 78-year-old Esholt man. For Mr. J. George Bainbridge, who is known throughout Aireborough and Wharfedale as the “mole catcher”, has in fact been catching moles for almost 70 years. Mr. Bainbridge told me that the art of catching moles was something that he had picked up when he was a small boy and had developed though 70 years of experience.

25 Years Ago - 1994

Residents in the Wharfe Valley will be banned indefinitely from using hosepipes from this evening. Yorkshire Water blames the measure on depleted water supplies caused by below average rainfall and exceptionally high demand.

Missing blades from the Wharfe valley’s first wind farm are being repaired as part of an ongoing safety review. Motorists have wondered why two of the four 100ft high turbines at Chelker Reservoir on the A65 are motionless and stripped of their ‘arms’.