125 Years Ago – 1895

The prolonged frost has had its effect upon the outdoor workers in Otley and the neighbourhood, and there is a considerable amount of distress, which has called into operation various modes of relief. Distributions of soup and bread, originally started at the cost of a few donors, have been made three times a week from funds subscribed by the general public.

At the Wells House Winter Gardens on Thursday evening was held the annual fancy dress carnival. As is the wont, the winter gardens looked pretty, quite a contrast to the exterior aspect.

100 Years Ago – 1920

Such a flood as that which occurred in Wharfedale on Tuesday inevitably recalls former occasions on which the Wharfe overflowed its banks and spread wide devastation.There appears to be considerable doubt, even amongst those blessed with good memories, as to whether Tuesday’s effort equalled the flood in 1883 when Burnsall Bridge – erected less than sixty years before – was carried away. In any event it is generally accepted that there was a greater volume of water than was observed in the flood of 1909. The greatest flood of which there is definite record and which created the most widespread havoc is probably that of September 11th, 1673. According to the old record “There was a wonderful inundation of water in the northern parts. The River Wharfe was never known to be so big within the memory of man. It overturned Kettlewell Bridge, Burnsey Bridge, Barden Bridge, Bolton Bridge, Ilkley Bridge and Otley Bridge and the greater part of the water mills. It also clearly swept away the Pool Low Fulling Mills and carried them down whole like a ship.”

75 Years Ago – 1945

Mrs. F. Atkinson, of Benningholme, Homestead Estate, Menston, has received a letter from her son Pte. Stanley Atkinson, who is a prisoner of war in Germany, in which he says he has met “Bill” Cooper, of Otley, who is also a prisoner of war. Pte. Atkinson learned from L/Cpl. Cooper of Mr. Churchill’s visit to Otley, the lifting of the black-out and of the “Salute the Soldier” Week effort. He said it was good to talk to someone who knew all about the district and in imagination they “walked miles” over the Chevin, Bolton Abbey, Ilkley Moors and many other places familiar to them both. Pte. Atkinson, who served in the Glasgow Highlanders, was taken prisoner at the time of the Dunkirk evacuation. LCpl. Cooper, whose home address is 20, Walkergate, Otley, has been a prisoner since 1940. He served with the Green Howards and was reported missing in Norway before being taken prisoner in Germany

We have many reasons for pride in our British soldier, and none greater than that, amid the rigours of war, he still retains a human and generous spirit. Wherever they have gone on the Continent, our men have proved themselves the friend of children, sharing with them food and sweets and in a friendly, fatherly way, showing a practical interest and care for their needs.

50 Years Ago – 1970

Yellow lines are sprouting – or promised – throughout the district like crocuses in spring; but with by no means the same ecstatic and universal welcome. There is scarcely a township in the district that has escaped the spreading tentacles, as harassed local authorities try to cope with the growing problem of road congestion.

Members of Bramhope Parish Council are anxious to trace the whereabouts of a small plaque that has been taken from the stone-based ornamental street lamp that stands as a central feature of the old village. The plaque was put into position over 30 years ago and recorded “This cross and lantern were presented to the village of Bramhope in 1937 by the late W. B. Woodhouse Esq.”

25 Years Ago – 1995

A former pupil of Ilkley Grammar School is to address a conference in America on global warming. Dr Andrew Hutchinson, 26, who for many years lived with his parents, Mr and Mrs Keith Hutchinson in Skipton Road, Ilkley, will fly to San Francisco to the Sixth International Global Warming Conference organised by the United Nations.