125 Years Ago - 1895

At the Otley Police Court yesterday (Friday) Henry Moon, Beamsley, was committed to one month to prison and bound over for six months in the sum of £10 and two sureties of £5 each, for poaching on the Middleton estate on Thursday evening. Failing the bonds he was to undergo a further term of six months incarceration.

100 Years Ago - 1920

It was scarcely to be expected that the Ilkley Council’s decision to re-open the quarry on the Moors in connection with the housing scheme would be allowed to pass without somebody talking about “the spoilation of the moors,” for there are still people whose petrified minds have remained unaffected by the results of four-and-a-half years of war. A writer who signs himself T.E.O. sends a letter on the subject. He describes the action of the Council as “contemptible” and says”A few years ago when villas were being built, the Council were seized with virtuous indignation at “quarrying on the moor” and “spoiling the people’s playground.”But now, when they want to build a few paltry cottages themselves the “beauties of the people’s playground” cannot stand for a moment as an obstacle.” We wonder if the writer of that letter would care to make his name public? If so There are plenty of Ilkley women who are wanting those “few paltry homes” and wanting them badly, who would make short work of his selfish argument.

75 Years Ago - 1945

An Arab Sheikh’s entertainment, in Iraq, of 50 officers, of Pai Force, is described in a letter by Major A. Gilbert Smith, of the Royal Signals, to his wife at “Cullum,” Grove Road, Menston. The high light of the party was dinner, when eight roasted sheep were carried in and the guests rolled up their right sleeve preparatory to attacking the carcases with their hands. A party of about 20 officers left Baghad, ran across the mud along scarcely definable tracks, and finally arrived at a tribal headquarters village between the Euphrates and the Eigris “tiny mud hovels, with a rounded roof of plaited reeds, daubed with mud.”

A Guiseley girl’s travels in East Africa are described by a Military Observer, in a message received this week. She is Sergt. Sybil Judson, whose parents live at Riftswood, New Way, Tranmere Park. A former student at the Prince Henry’s Grammar School, Otley, she has travelled all over East Africa since she was posted to the present command in 1942.

50 Years Ago - 1970

The reduction of 1s. 2d. in the £ on the domestic rate achieved by the Wharfedale Rural District Council has been acclaimed as the largest general rate reduction in the whole of the country, it was stated at a meeting of the Council at Otley on Friday. The Finance Committee Chairman. Coun. S. Stephenson, said the 1s. 2d. reduction was a far better effort than the Council realised at the time.

The most noted landmark in Burley, the old “Pudding Tree” near the Malt Shovel Hotel at the bottom of Main Street, was felled yesterday. This follows a survey which had revealed that the tree was in an unsafe condition.

25 Years Ago - 1995

Ilkley is in danger of seeing 75 years of history burned unless a home can be found for a rather large ‘piece of its past.’ In March 2020 John Samuel Porritt had the distinction of becoming the first man in town to have his carpet-beating machine driven by electricity. After reading this snippet of news in the Gazette’s ‘Across the Years’ column, John Porritt, of J S Porritt and Son, Railway Road, rang our office to reveal that he was currently in the process of dismantling the afore-mentioned machine. It was still fully operational until two years ago when it was felt that it was no longer safe. Mr Porritt revealed: “My grandfather bought the machine at an exhibition in Port Sunlight from none other than Mr Lever who went on to build a rather famous company.”

Furious Ilkley councillors have dubbed the procedure surrounding plans to build another supermarket in the town “undemocratic.” This is the latest attack on the proposal for the semi-derelict gasworks site in Leeds Road.