Holocaust Memorial Day

Friday 27th January is Holocaust Memorial Day.

To mark the occasion, a display has been mounted in Ilkley Library featuring the hostel ‘Loxleigh’ that was established in 1939 on the corner of Mount Pleasant and Cowpasture Road.

During the tense pre-war period the British Parliament had agreed to admit an unspecified number of children from Hitler’s Germany who were in danger of being sent to concentration camps. Agonising decisions were made by parents to send their children alone on the ‘Kindertransport’

In Ilkley, a committee for the Care of Refugees was established and the hostel was opened, made possible by the efforts of the local Quaker community and earlier immigrants from Europe, many of whom had been successful in business in the West Riding.

The display features the stories of some of those who passed through the hostel including Sigi Wassermann and Edgar Klugman who came on the kindertransport and the story of Arnold Vanderhorst who came in 1945. Arnold had survived the war by hiding in woods near Arnhem. After the war, malnourished, Arnold was sent to the hostel in Ilkley to recuperate and then to join a new foster family in Ilkley.

On Friday, January 27th at 11.00 at City Hall, Bradford there is the annual Holocaust Memorial Day event, all are welcome.

On Monday January 30th at 11.00 in Ilkley there will be a short walk and talk from the Ilkley Library to the Kindertransport hostel in Cow Pasture Road by Nigel Grizzard.

Here we reproduce an extract from ‘Ilkley at War’ by Caroline Brown

Refugees in World War Two

The first boys coming to the hostel in Ilkley arrived on 6th March 1939, all of Jewish ancestry. These boys were aged between fourteen and sixteen and attended schools in Ilkley. Some of those placed in Ilkley came with the last children’s transport from Germany at the end of August 1939. One of the boys later described to a reporter of The Ilkley Gazette his joy at meeting a brother in England after he had lost all hope. It had been the last train to leave Germany with passengers bound for England. Another boy described waving goodbye to his parents and then a rush to get to the ship.

 ‘A very nice station master wired to Ostende for us in order to hold up the ship a few minutes…we arrived at Ostende and ran across the quay; the passengers on board were waving to us – and porters threw our luggage on board. Saved!’

Once on board ship he recalled:

‘It is fearfully wet and stormy. There are so many emigrants; it is all so sad – so many people who have lost their fatherland. We rejoice when we see the lights of Dover but we are so exhausted.’

 He describes the hostel at Ilkley:

‘I found myself in a very nice little room, with green curtains and a little cupboard and bed…everyone was very kind but I felt terribly lonely and I was tired to death by the unfamiliar work.’

 Members of the Ilkley Quaker Community later recalled the difficulty they had in locating these children in the gloom of Leeds Holbeck Station in the blackout.

In August 1939, a writer and teacher from Vienna, themselves refugees, became permanent wardens. In the months and years that followed, many other refugees, younger and older, passed through the hostel fleeing from persecution in Europe, sometimes sleeping eight to a bedroom.


The six boys who arrived at the Hostel in Mount Pleasant, Cowpasture Rd, Ilkley from Dovercourt on 6th March 1939 as refugees from Vienna under the care of the Ilkley Committee for Refugees. Their ages are 14 – 16. Mr H Ferry, Warden of the Hostel is on the right.

Many of the boys learned occupations such as agriculture, joinery and mechanics and entered employment in various parts of the country; others were preparing for emigration and did not remain long. Some joined the forces and others were able to join relatives in Britain and overseas..

Ilkley and Armistice Day

Extract from ‘ Ilkley and the Great War’ by Caroline Brown and Mark Hunnebell; Amberley, 2014

At 11.00am on November 11th 1918 church bells rang across Europe. The fighting was over but life would never be the same again. Millions had died around the world and those who returned home had the hard task of making sense of the horrors they had survived and the adjustment back to civilian life.

The Ilkley howitzer brigade brought the guns into action for the last time on November 10th at 2.00pm at Quevy-le-Grand unaware that the last day of the war was so close. A E Gee recorded the events of the morning of 11th November:

‘A mounted staff-officer in a big hurry, passing by with wild news of the Armistice, was thought by many to be a spy; but the Major fired with his own hands a single farewell round at top range at 9am – the safety cap being left on the shell to prevent accidents at the other end of its journey and it began to be realised that all was about over bar the shouting. Shortly came instructions that the Armistice at 11 o’clock was official; and the men stood about as this moment approached almost expecting some sign from Heaven. This came from the heavens at a quarter to eleven in the form of a dozen German shells into the village in front – with the safety caps off. Other Batteries concealed in hedgerows and banks all about could be heard firing their parting shots also…

While most of the world went mad to celebrate the Armistice, it is noteworthy that the men who had most immediate occasion had least opportunity for celebration. Though the fact of the Armistice was known, it was certainly not fully assimilated at first, and the momentum of routine and discipline carried the Battery through the next few days without any changes to indicate that its raison d’etre had vanished and that this body of men which had worked for years as a single compact unit to a single end was about to split up into 200 distinct and separate individuals, striving after their two hundred private ends…

On November 11th 1918, a pointed salient formed the British Front at Valenciennes. The West Riding Artillery was at the apex of this salient being the most advanced Divisional Artillery, and D245 Battery prides itself that, so far as can be ascertained, no British Battery of Artillery was nearer to Germany when the war ended than itself.’

In Ilkley, at 11am Mr Dobson displayed the news on a blackboard outside his newsagent and tobacconist shop on Brook Street with the addendum ‘official’. In a short time the streets became very lively. ‘The Ilkley Gazette’ reported:

There were flags of all kinds and streamers too, not a single street being noticed without some evidence of jubilation. Many of the flags had done duty on other occasions of rejoicing than the present, and the ‘Welcome Home’ that one bore in large letters will still more fittingly serve to welcome our local warriors spared to return.’

Wounded soldiers at the Ilkley Military Hospitals, taking possession of a tradesman’s cart, rode round the town in ‘merry mood’. Later, a larger group which included soldiers and sailors at home on leave, broke into the Volunteer Bugle Band room in Bridge lane, and secured a number of drums and one or two bugles. To the accompaniment of these they paraded around the town. In the afternoon they were joined by some of the Volunteer buglers, and paid a visit to Addingham, with one of the wounded soldiers dressed up to represent Britannia. The ‘Ilkley Gazette’ described events

With such a holiday spirit in evidence, a good deal of the business of the town was suspended at mid-day, and a number of the shops closed. The Parish Church bells were rung both at noon and in the evening, and the Volunteer Bugle Band continued to peregrinate the town in the evening after the wounded soldiers were obliged to be indoors. The youngsters had the time of their lives, and although the National Schools continued to open in the afternoon, there were many absentees. As night closed in upon the scene fireworks began to be let off in all parts of the town. The pyrotechnic display in Brook Street was of a character never before attempted; nor would it have been allowed. D.O.R.A. and the Police were not to be met with in authority, and squibs, crackers, rockets, maroons and Roman candles mingled together in blazes of light and noise for several hours .The thanksgiving services held at the Parish Church and St Margaret’s Church were very well attended.’

The signing of the armistice which gave way to relief and rejoicing was tinged with great sadness at the loss of life. ‘The Ilkley Gazette’ editorial summed up the situation:

‘ The curtain has finally rung down on the greatest and most terrible war in the world’s history. The glad tidings were everywhere hailed by the Allies with the greatest enthusiasm; indeed more than was to be expected, with the knowledge of the desolation the war has caused and the sorrow it has brought into so many lives. If there was momentary forgetfulness of this on the part of any, it was to be forgiven; for how could the majority of people keep in check their feelings of thankfulness on such a day. Yet not all rejoiced in boisterous and hilarious fashion, for a much deeper and more sober thankfulness was shown by some in attendance at the thanksgiving services held throughout the length and breadth of the land.’


Crowds at the unveiling and dedication of the Ilkley War memorial, July 1922. (Image Ilkley Library)


The procession to the unveiling and dedication of the Ilkley War memorial proceeds along the top of Brook Street towards The Grove. (Image courtesy of Sally Gunton)



In the basement of Bradford’s Local Studies Library are collections of nineteenth century pamphlets (and some of earlier date). Ranging from sermons and programmes of royal visits, to reports, articles, obituaries and regulations, they are a treasure-trove of local history. What follows is an account of one of these treasures. To consult any of these items please ask the staff. Card catalogues of these collections are located in the Local Studies Library.

JND 245/4 + 5 (Please quote this number if requesting these booklets)

C.F. and W.F. A Ramble on Rumbald’s Moor among the dwellings, cairns & circles of the Ancient Britons in the spring of 1868. Part II Counterhill & Castleberg.
20 pages. (Wakefield: W.T.Lamb, Printer and Publisher.)

C.F. and W.F. A Ramble on Rumbald’s Moor among the rocks, idols & altars of the Ancient Druids in the spring of 1869. Part III. 26 pages. (Wakefield: H.Kelly, Printer and Publisher.)

What delightful titles have these two pamphlets! Sadly the first of these three ‘parts’ is missing, though since only one hundred copies were printed this is no surprise. This, their age, and the fragile nature of the paper they were printed on, must make any remaining copies pretty scarce.

Our first pamphlet opens: “Who, after rambling among British dwellings, cairns and circles on that part of Rumbold’s Moor which extends from Burley Wood Head to Ilkley, could hear reports of Roman Camps on Counterhill and Castleberg, and not wish to visit them?” As indicated by the titles, these slim volumes give an account of early relics of past peoples, though an account of Addingham fills much of the first volume. A newspaper cutting inserted into the second volume here makes the point that the authors “drew attention to the sculptured rocks … recently discovered on Ilkley Moor.”

And who were C.F. and W.F.? A newspaper cutting inserted into the second volume here gives the authors as Charles Forest and William Grainge.


Charles Forest

Some of the early historians, or ‘antiquarians’ as they were often called, have a bad reputation for making unsubstantiated assertions and promoting theories in the face of contradicting evidence, but not C.F. and W.F., according to the newspaper account, an obituary of Forest. It makes the point that he was careful in his research, and the text of these pamphlets bears this out, for the authors were often critical of other antiquarians.

There are a number of line drawings. These pamphlets are an early account of these remarkable relics on the moors. Though do take care if using them, else these scarce ‘relics’ will crumble to dust, unlike the relics they describe!


Yorkshire Day

1st August is Yorkshire Day with a celebration of all things Yorkshire across the district.

In Ilkley the Yorkshire Declaration will take place at Ilkley Railway Station following the arrival of the special train at 10.57 to celebrate 150 years of the first train coming to Ilkley.

The exhibition to celebrate the event is currently on in Ilkley Library until September 9th. A local history expert will be present in the library on Friday August 7th, 14th and 21st from 11am so people can drop in and chat about the display.

In Bradford city centre the celebrations will start at 12 noon with the City Hall bells striking the hour and playing the Yorkshire anthem ‘On Ilkla Moor Baht’at.’

The song is thought to have become popular locally during the latter part of the 19th century but became more widely known during World War One as it was used as a quick march song by the men of the Yorkshire Regiment and then picked up by others.  In 1917 ‘The Ilkley Gazette’ referred to an article printed in ‘The War Illustrated ‘ about the various refrains, chants and songs sung by soldiers at the front:

‘ the following quaintly humorous song and refrain is sung by men of the Yorkshire Regiments to the hymn tune ‘Cranford’(sic)…’

 The writer, who is evidently not a Yorkshireman, explains that the words of the refrain mean in English ‘On Ilkley Moor without a hat.’

The song is actually sung to the tune ‘Cranbrook, by Thomas Clark, not to be confused with ‘Cranford’, a novel by Mrs Gaskell in 1853!

Rail Poster

80 Years of Ilkley Lido

The bathing pool opened in May 1935.  It was an immediate success and enhanced Ilkley’s reputation as an inland health and holiday resort. There were several water slides and the popular ‘wedding cake’ fountain. The diving board was of international standard.

During the second world war, the bathing pool was a popular centre during the Holiday at Home weeks.  In May 1942 it was announced ‘in order to avoid the use of fuel, the water at the bathing pool will not be heated this year.’

In 1950 when this photograph was taken the pool was open from 9am until 9pm each day and in the evening was illuminated by ‘fairy lights’.

The official opening of the Ilkley Lido this year will be on 23rd May.

Ilkley Lido