100 Years Ago

THE people who ran Skipton Workhouse, the Board of Guardians, had an interesting debate on the number of pubs in the locality. They said that as many workhouse inmates were there as a result of drink, they supported the magistrates, who were desirous of reducing the number of licenced premises in the area. It was pointed out that two new licenses had been issued for Embsay and Eastby, largely because of the number of navvies working on the Skipton to Grassington railway, bringing the number to five. Forty five years earlier the villages had just two, but a larger number of people.

Another of the guardians stated that in Keighley there was one licensed premise per 813 inhabitants, but in Skipton the figure was one per 352 inhabitants. However, beer drinkers did have a supporter in the figure of Mr W Usher who said the working man was entitled to a pint of beer: "England has always held up her pluck with her beer because her people can take a little beer and work with it," was his rallying cry. The board resolved to support magistrates in seeking to reduce the number of pubs.

Large volumes of traffic began taking their toll on Kilnsey. The already narrow roads of Kilnsey and Thorpe meant regular traffic congestion was occurring, and this was 1904! Skipton Rural District Council decided that a stone breaking machine would be needed to improve the roads.

Skipton residents were to be given the chance to express their views on the Embsay Moor Reservoir scheme. A petition signed by 150 rate payers had demanded a vote on the £72,000 scheme and arrangements for a referendum in the town were to be held. The Herald said that there were serious objections but opponents had not come up with any alternative scheme to improve the town's water supply which had been backed by experts.

50 Years Ago

OWNER Rex Hartley announced he was shutting The Palace Theatre in Barnoldswick due to high tax, increasing running costs and decreased audiences. The theatre was built in 1909, originally as a music hall, before switching to music and occasional concerts. It was also the home of Barnoldswick Choral Society, whose secretary J Widdup, said bluntly that "no Palace, no show". Mr Hartley said there was a general recession in the film industry and he did not know if or when The Palace would reopen.

Severe gales caused widespread damage in the Craven area. At Kildwick an old elm tree in the churchyard was damaged so badly that the roof of the village school was in danger of being struck if it fell. The headmaster G Bottomley led the pupils out of the school but he did not send them home, instead continuing lessons in the church.

There was also severe flooding hit the Craven area with rainfall breaking a ten year record. Gargrave was seriously affected where the roads were under two feet of water in places.

25 Years Ago

THE weather was also bad in 1978 with the worst snow for two decades. Thirty five people were trapped in cars on the A59 at Beamsley and had to be rescued by a police Range Rover, the only vehicle which could get through to them. It made several trips to ferry them back to Skipton where they spent the night sleeping on the floor of the police station

Colour television was on the agenda in Upper Wharfedale and Littondale, following the approval in principle for two relay stations given by members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Committee. The dales had always suffered from poor television reception, with residents feeling that they were left behind the rest of the country. Environmentalists argued that the steel masts would be an unacceptable blot on the landscape. At a meeting, outline planning permission was granted to the Independent Broadcasting Authority to build stations at Wassa Hill and Edge Lane, Grassington.

Claire Brooks won a landslide vote of Liberal Party members to become the candidate for North Yorkshire in the elections to the European Parliament. Mrs Brooks had 92 per cent of the vote.

10 Years Ago

PART of Skipton railway station was to be sold off, announced Regional Railways. The building had, in the "distant past" featured a restaurant on the first floor and cafe on the ground floor and would make good offices, although some renovation work was required.

The Bolton Abbey estate was given a special licence to shoot the protected bird the goosander, a type of duck, on a seven mile stretch of the river Wharfe to the dismay of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. But estate manager John Sheard explained that the goosander had a vast appetite and was causing severe damage to fish stocks. The bird would not be eradicated, but its numbers kept to a manageable level, he added.

Keighley MP was the latest Conservative caught up in allegations of "sleaze". Tabloid newspapers revealed he had a secret illegitimate child. Mr Waller at first denied the story and threatened to sue but later in a statement agreed it was true. The Herald took to the streets to ask constituents in south Craven what they thought and almost all said they could not be bothered about his private life, providing he was a good MP, but several said what was worse was that he had told a lie by initially denying it.