125 Years Ago - 1895

On Wednesday morning, shortly after the female attendant at Otley Railway Station had lit the gas of the third-class waiting-room, there was a terrific report and a smashing of windows, glass &c., not only in the room where the explosion occurred, but in the booking hall some distance away. The door of the waiting-room was blown to atoms, and the ceiling was lifted a few inches. The woman after lighting the gas had walked into the booking office, and was fortunately uninjured.

100 Years Ago - 1920

Our amazement grows as the preposterous annexation proposals of Leeds and Bradford unfold themselves. By a stroke of the pen various townships, with all their wealth of local tradition, are literally to be cut in two and given, lock, stock and barrel, either to Leeds or Bradford. Should the two schemes ever come into operation we might possibly have the Gilbertian spectacle of the residents on one side of a street in Yeadon or Guiseley, say, living in Bradford, and the residents on the other side of the same street living in Leeds. To carry the simile a little further, we might see one side flagged and paved and lighted by electricity, and the other side a quagmire, lighted by gas.

The death took place suddenly on Sunday, at the age of 80 years, of Mr. Emanuel Marston, for many years a farmer at Norwood Bottom. Mr. Marston was one of the oldest tenants on the Farnley Hall estate. His maternal grandfather was a game-keeper in the service of the Fawkes family, and Norwood Bottom Farm, where he was born, had been cultivated by the Marstons for at least a century.

75 Years Ago -1945

Ilkley is looking ahead to the day when there will be announced the conclusion of hostilities in Europe, and a committee is making plans for the local celebration of that great day. Further progress with these plans was made at a meeting of the committee on Friday. From Menston it was reported that arrangements were in hand for a service to be held in the Church on the day of the announcement, and proposals were under consideration for arranging a children’s treat and an old folks’ party.

People in Otley and Ilkley who responded to the recent “Good Neighbour”appeal to raise household furnishings for the bombed-out boroughs in London will be pleased to know that their gifts have been received with “excitement and pleasure.” Mrs. Banks, W.V.S. Centre Organiser for Otley, has received a letter to that effect from the Centre organiser at Westminster, London.

50 Years Ago - 1970

Burley is in danger of losing one of its best known landmarks. The old “Pudding Tree” outside the Malt Shovel Hotel - for generations the scene of a traditional village festival - is said to be rotting and might have to be felled. How the Pudding Tree got its name is described in Fred Cobley’s “Upper and Lower Wharfedale” published in 1890. He wrote “There used to be a singular feast at Burley every seven years when the Burley great pudding was made. It is said that about thirty stones of flour and and an equal quantity of fruit in the shape of plums etc. were generally consumed in the kneading; and though boiled day and night the huge pudding was not sufficiently cooked in the inside. Nevertheless, in this state it was distributed from a platform at the foot of the tree near the Malt Shovel Hotel.” The last great pudding was served from under the spreading branches of the sycamore in1787.

25 Years Ago - 1995

An old oil lamp is to be returned to the railway station it helped illuminate 30 years ago after it was removed when the station closed down. Now Bolton Abbey is to be reinstated on the railway map after being rebuilt for use by the Embsay Steam Railway, it seemed only fitting that the lamp should go back there says its present owner.

Fireworks and a Chinese dragon are set to enliven a gloomy winter’s night in Ilkley’s Church Street. Residents will be able to see them outside the Ying King restaurant as part of celebrations to usher in the Chinese New Year.