125 Years Ago - 1895

We can now safely prophesy the termination of the severe wintry weather. During the past week we have been the recipients of weather characteristic of the first touch of Springtime. The snow has not yet fairly disappeared, the summits of the hills still being capped. At nights slight frosts set in, but the sun during the daytime is gradually gaining power, and everything seems in a state of revival from the very severe winter which we have experienced.

In the early part of the week the inhabitants of the district, and especially those of Otley, were startled and shocked by the announcement that Mr. Samuel Flaxington,the headmaster of the Westgate Board Schools, Otley, had committed suicide under tragic circumstances by cutting his throat.

100 Years Ago - 1920

The potato crop having turned out to be considerably less than was anticipated the Food Controller has decided to issue an order which will come into force on Monday next fixing the maximum grocers prices and limiting the profits of wholesale and retail dealers.

The death of Mr. Frederick Cobley, at his residence on Alexandra Crescent, Ilkley, at the age of 69, removes one who has been a guiding influence in the press and in Wharfedale public affairs for nearly 50 years. Mr. Cobley has been intimately associated with newspaper work throughout his life, and coming into Wharfedale in 1872, his work in Ilkley and Otley has made him one of the best know local journalists the Valley has ever possessed. He assisted in the founding of the “Wharfedale & Airedale Observer,” and was for 20 years managing editor of that paper. When the firm of Wm. Walker & Sons was made into a limited liability company in 1900, he was its first managing director, and held that office up to eight years ago. During that time he saw the paper move steadily from success to success.

75 Years Ago - 1945

Warrant Officer Stanley Aryton, younger son of Mr. and Mrs. Aryton, of Menston, has returned home on leave from the Middle East. He has been away four years and drew his ticket for home leave on his last chance under the leave ballot scheme. He was the only member of his unit to draw a ticket, and if he had been unlucky he could not have returned home before his repatriation in some six months time. Warrant Officer Ayton has been working in conjunction with the picturesque Arab Legion and been in close contact with many of its famous figures. He found them a grand body of men, representing the best Arab characteristics.

Pte. Gordon Griffin, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Griffin, 19, Henshaw Lane, Yeadon, is among British prisoners of war, rescued from German camps in the Russian advance, and is in Odessa awaiting repatriation.

50 Years Ago - 1970

When Ilkley was left without a cinema, following the closure of the Essoldo last year, the Ilkley Players’ proposal to form a Film Society met with a good response from the public. A committee to run the society was elected in early summer, 1969.

A Polish Government and trade delegation this week completed a four day visit to Ilkley, chiefly to visit the Technical Centre of the International Wool Secretariat, where they saw the latest technological developments in wool textiles.

25 Years Ago - 1995

An increased membership of Ilkley Labour Party was symbolic of what was happening all over the country, said Roy Hattersley MP when he was in Ilkley at the weekend. He said voters were turning to Labour as he presented the 100th membership card of the Ilkley Party to Ivy Huggins, of Valley Drive. Mr Hattersley said: “We are making new members. We have had an increase of 80,000 since Tony Blair became leader. People now realise that what this country needs is a Labour government.

During his nine years at Bolton Abbey the Rev Roland Hirst found himself hob-nobbing with the like of Prince Charles and Raquel Welch. But despite the perks of the job he said his goodbyes on Sunday and moved on to take charge of nine churches in the Lake District.