York’s Unusual Cold War Bunker Museum

York Cold War Nuclear Bunker

At the height of the cold war the Royal Observer Corp No 20 opened it’s bunker in Acomb York. In 1961 it was the a time of concern and international political unrest with serious fears about the Russian intentions.
The fear of nuclear attack was exacerbated by the Cuban Missile crisis in 1962. From the 1960’s until the 1990’s it was the job of the Royal Observer Corp working with the Home Office to monitor, gather data and report on any nuclear activity via a series of bunkers and remote monitoring stations.

Telephone operators desks

The bunker is located under several feet of soil and was designed to withstand all but a direct hit by a thermo-nuclear device. It was capable of housing 60 staff of both men and women and was linked to over 40 smaller 3 person cold war stations around Yorkshire.
The facilities include services such as canteen, ablutions, dormitories and a telephone exchange but TV and radio connection to the outside world was not allowed. The operations room, decontamination rooms, aerosol filter chambers are displayed along with an ejector room to pump away sewage and maintain a positive air-pressure.

The York bunker was ‘stood down’ in September 1991 and closed six months later. It has since been restored and opened as a modern and successful museum piece by English Heritage.
There is a tour by knowledgeable guides who add to the atmosphere and the film show that complements your visit.

Cold War Quotes

“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.” Winston Churchill (5th March 1946)
“The Cold War isn’t thawing; it is burning with a deadly heat. Communism isn’t sleeping; it is, as always, plotting, scheming, working, fighting.” Richard M Nixon
“With the development of increasingly terrifying weapons of mass destruction, every individual faces the ever-present possibility of annihilation should the conflict enter the phase of total war.” National Security Council 1950
“It shall be the policy of this nation, to regard any nuclear missile, launched from Cuba on any state in the western hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union” John F Kennedy October 22 1962.

Book Cover

Books on Underground Structures of the Cold War are available from Amazon

Photo Credits
York Cold War Nuclear Bunker by Ulleskelf CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Telephone operators desks by IanVisits CC BY-NC 2.0

Dewsbury – Facts Interesting and Unusual

Tripe market

Dewsbury Markets

Wednesday and Saturday General Markets in Dewsbury are still the largest and most renowned  market in Yorkshire.

The open market boasts over 300 stalls and the permanent Victorian Market hall has a further 36. Amongst these permanent stalls is the famous ‘Tripe Shop’ shown above.

On Fridays there is a Second-Hand Market with an array of goods and around 100 stalls each week, a bargain hunter’s paradise.

‘If you love browsing and hunting out valuables then what better way to spend your Sunday morning than at the Car ‘Bootless’ Sale, 7.30am to 12.30pm? For sellers stall prices are £12.30 each and you can set-up at 7am on any available stall

Dewsbury Minster

Minsters In Yorkshire

Dewsbury is one of 4 minsters in Yorkshire. We all know York Minster and probably Beverley but Howden and Dewsbury Minsters were unknown to me.
Dewsbury Minster dates back to Anglo-Saxon times.The Christian Community has met to worship on the site of the minster since AD 627.
Now the Minster includes or is largely a heritage centre for the presentation of Anglo-Saxon sculpture and notable crosses.
There is a newly created pilgrimage chapel to St Paulinus.
Minsters differ from Cathedrals in that they are basically a monastery church or local collegiate church.
The minster houses “Black Tom”, a bell which is rung each Christmas Eve. There is one toll for each year since Christ’s birth, and this is known locally as the “Devil’s Knell”.

Dewsbury models

History of Dewsbury.

The population of Dewsbury in the Heavy Woolen District of Yorkshire is around 55,000.
Dewsbury has been an important trading area for centuries. The river Calder, canal links and the railway all helped.
There was a cloth market in Dewsbury from the 14th century. During the industrial revolution wool, cloth and textile engineering were  major industries.
Large immigration took place from the Indian Sub-continent when people arrived to work in the textile industry. Their influence is now very significant in the area. Aishah Azmi a local school teaching assistant gained notoriety in 2006 by refusing to remove her full-face veil in the classroom.
Dewsbury Museum is located within the mansion house in Crow Nest Park.
Fourteen buses are stored in a small building in Ravensthorpe, near Dewsbury as part of Dewsbury Bus Museum’s collection.
Tradition records that Robin Hood is buried in the 12 century Cistertian convent that is now part of Kirklees Park.
Bed manufacture is the main industry as textiles have dramatically reduced.


Crime Shouldn’t Pay

  • Karen Matthews shocked the country when she came up with the plot to use one of her children in a fake kidnapping to claim reward money.With Paul Drake, aka Michael Donovan, she was found guilty on charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment, and perverting the course of justice and both were given eight-year prison sentences.
  • Mohammad Sidique Khan lived in Lees Holm Dewsbury and became a suicide bomber when in July 2005 with 3 others he detonated bombs on three London Underground trains and one bus killing 55 people and injuring over 700.
  • Several children aged 12- 15 were arrested in 2008 on suspicion of the murder of Amar Aslam. Amar was beaten so savagely that his body was initially unidentifiable.
  • On 2 January 1981 Peter Sutcliffe, then calling himself Peter Williams was arrested before being transferring to Dewsbury. A knife was discovered in the toilets at the police station and eventually Sutcliffe confessed he was ‘The Ripper’.
  • Not in the same league but Baroness Warsi has not been the sole of rectitude. First parliamentary expenses and then business dealings were questioned and the issues rumble on.

  • Related

    Victims of the Yorkshire Ripper
    Times online
    Bus Museum

Interesting Facts About The White Rose of Yorkshire


White Rose of Yorkshire.

The white rose of Yorkshire is the symbol for the House of York. From the fourteenth century it has also been the symbol for Yorkshire.

The use of the White Rose of Yorkshire goes back to Edmund of Langley in the fourteenth century, the first Duke of York and the ruling Plantangenets

The symbolism of the white rose is said to relate to the Virgin Mary, who was known as the Mystical rose of heaven. White is a common colour for purity in religious ceremonies.

During the wars of the Roses (Lancashire vs Yorkshire), the forces of Yorkshire fought the Lancastrians who had a Red rose as an emblem. (Why do all Lancastrians have red noses? Because when god was handing noses out they thought he said roses, so they asked for a big red one!)

The War of the roses was ended when King of England Henry VII united the warring factions and symbolically created the Tudor rose.

At the Battle of Minden 1st August 1759, Yorkshire troops from a Yorkshire battalion were able to pluck white roses from close to the Battlefield in tribute to their fallen comrades. Ever since Yorkshire day has been celebrated on August 1st.


The Yorkshire flag incorporates the stylised rose and it can be flown with the 5th leaf at the bottom for most areas  or the top (for the East Riding)

The white rose has been or is still used by many different causes as well:

During the Second World War, German students who resisted Hitler’s Nazi Regime founded the White Rose league – a movement seeking to overthrow Hitler and his party.

The White Rose Universities is the group of Leeds, York and Sheffield universities.

White Rose business Awards for 2013 opens for application in March. It is managed by ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’.
White rose shopping centre is owned and managed by Land Securities and may feature hidden away in many Yorkshireman’s pension investments in some form.

The White Rose credit union operates out of Wakefield the capital city of Yorkshire.

Bradford Fascinating Facts

Bradford is a major city in West Yorkshire. During the Nineteenth Century, Bradford was at the heart of the Industrial revolution and, for a time, was centre of the global wool trade. The British Wool marketing board is still based on Canal Road.

Photo: Tejvan

Bradford currently has a population of 531,000 (2011 Census), and is part of the West Yorkshire Urban conurbation, which in 2001, had a population of 1.5 million. Bradford District is the fourth largest metropolitan district after Leeds, Birmingham and Sheffield The district has the largest proportion of people of Pakistani ethnic origin (20.3%) in England. The largest religious group in Bradford is Christian (45.9% of the population) and nearly one quarter of the population (24.7%) are Muslim. source data.gov 2016.

Bradford MDC incorporates towns and villages including Ilkley, Keighley, Bingley, Wilsden, Shipley, Haworth, Cullingworth, Denholme, Thornton and Queensbuy

Bradford history facts

Bradford – is derived from Old English broad ford – The ford is at the site of the current Bradford Cathedral.

Bradford by Tim Green from Great Horton
  • 1251 Bradford granted market charter, centred on Kirkgate, Westgate and Ivegate.
  • 1311 A survey of Bradford recorded the presence of a water mill, fulling mill, and 28 houses at its centre.
  • 1642. During the civil war Bradford was occupied by Parliamentarian forces under Thomas Fairfax, though Royalist forces successfully besieged the town, leading to its surrender.
  • In 1801 population of Bradford 6,393 – centre on small craft industries, such as wool spinning and cloth weaving.
  • 1820s and 30s, Bradford received many German Jewish immigrants who settled in Mannignham, leading to the creation of an area known as ‘Little Germany’. German immigrants played a key role in the financing of industrial expansion.
  • By 1851 the population of Bradford was 103,778 – making it one of the fastest growing cities in the world.
  • As Bradford grew, it absorbed small townships which were previously separated, such as Manningham, Bowling, Thornton and Horton.
  • Bradford was a boom-town of the industrial revolution and often considered to be the epicentre of the global industrial revolution.

Continue reading Bradford Fascinating Facts

Yorkshire Pig Breeds

Large White Yorkshire Pig

The Large White pig, also known as the English Large White, is a breed of domesticated pig originating in Yorkshire. It is also fondly known as the Yorkshire pig. First recognized in 1868 and registered in 1884 this Yorkshire pig was popular around Keighley West Yorkshire for many years.


Large Whites are distinguished by their hefty bearing, erect ears, slightly dished faces, white color, pink skins, and long deep sides. They have been valued for their bacon production since the inception of the breed. As their name suggests, they are characterized by their large size.

The Large White is regarded as a rugged and hardy breed that can withstand variations in climate and other environmental factors. Their ability to cross with and improve other breeds has truly made them a factor nearly everywhere commercial swine are produced. They have been known for decades as a favorite market animal where high quality bacon and pork are sought. Their tendency to grow and not lay down excess fat have made them favorites, not only when swine are marketed at relatively light weights, but also when they are carried to heavier weights.

Large Whites are known for large litters, heavy milk production and for having excellent maternal instincts. They are not only lean and active, but are also quite sound in feet and legs. They carry their considerable length with ease and grace. Their extra height, or length of leg, helps them to remain active and have long useful lives in the breeding pen.new-picture-13


Small White or Small Yorkshire

Continue reading Yorkshire Pig Breeds

Yorkshire Sheep


The Wensleydale is a large long wool sheep with a distinctive grey black face, ears and legs. The Wensleydale breed was developed in the 19th century by crossing English Leicester and Teeswater sheep to make a mule that developed in to the Wensleydale.

One of the largest and heaviest of all sheep breeds, the Wensleydale has long, locks of ringlet like woll inherited from its teesdale parentage.

There is a long show tradition for this breed and the 2016 winner at the 125th annual Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Breeders’ Association show and sale at Skipton Auction Mart.

‘Mr Fisher lifted the title with his first prize shearling ram and male champion, a first-rate home-bred that has excelled in the show arena all summer, becoming champion at both Otley and Ripley Shows, and  runner-up in its class at the Great Yorkshire.’



‘A separate register is maintained in the flock book for coloured Wensleydales which occur naturally as a result of a double recessive black gene (this is not exclusive to the Wensleydale). Since the coloured register was commenced in 1994 the number of black ewe lambs registered with the Association has been volatile – in 1999 there were 88 registrations but these have declined in recent years.

Some white animals carry one recessive black gene and mating two such sheep can produce coloured lambs from an apparently all white flock.  These lambs are registered in the coloured register and the dam and sire must also be transferred out of the white flock.  When the demand for wool was at its peak it was common for black lambs to be culled to prevent the valuable clip becoming ‘polluted’ with coloured fibres and to protect the reputation of breeders. However, these lambs born out of white flocks have now become very important as they widen the gene pool for coloured breeders – in 1999 breeding rams were registered from 13 flocks but by 2009 this had declined to 6 flocks.

Although referred to as Black Wensleydales – the colour will vary from silver to jet black.’


Swaledale Sheep Breeders Association

Continue reading Yorkshire Sheep

York Footpath or Snickelway Map

Snickelways were recently nominated as one of York’s seven man made wonders. Snickleways often lead the walker to fantastic pubs or act as short cuts to other watering holes.

Book Cover
The Complete Snickelways of York  –  Mark W Jones

If you like maps then you will like this book. If you like quirky maps and routes you will love this book. If you like York, and who dosen’t, then you may have already got this book or one of the earlier editions. Written and published like the Alfred Wainwright’s  Coast to Coast  book in hand written text with drawn and sketched routes this book gives an exceptional insight in our York, past and present.

For quirky who would have thought that Arthur Gemmell’s stile maps couldn’t be beaten for content or detail of presentation but they are? All these three cartographers Gemmill, Wainwright and Jones put the Frank Wilkinson walking series to shame from a cartographic perspective.

So what on earth is a ‘Snickelway’? In Mark Jones eyes it is a cross or hybrid between a Snicket, a Ginnel and an Alleyway with the odd Court, Yard or Throughway thrown in for good measure. What is more he takes us on walks through 50 of them all within a quarter of a mile of ‘The Shambles.’  That would be 51+ Snickelways if you count the top of the wall. A complete walk would be in excess of 3 miles plus the wall if you choose to tackle it all in one go.  My favourite review of the book says   ‘ My wife and daughter set off after breakfast with a copy of Snickelways, and I am still waiting for them to get home to make my midday meal’.    Angry York resident at teatime.

Mark Jones should be an honourary memeber of the International Cartographers Society or you yourself may wish to be a member of the Map Collectors Circle. I doubt the Roadmap Collectors Association have discovered Snickelways yet.

Look out for more humourous slogans on the snickleways of York. Opposite the Bluebell there is a T shirt shop with some great captions in the window. Try Too Beer or not two Beer’ Shakesbeer.

Terry’s of York – A Bite of History

Chocolate Orange
Can you see what it is yet? Yes you probably guessed it is a mug!

Some History of Terry’s of York

What do an apothecary, confectioner and citrus peel importer have in common? When one of them was Joseph Terry you may make the connection to Terry and Berry the forerunner to Terry’s of York. Joseph Terry married into the partnership that had worked from 1767 and brought his Apothecary skills to the business with a factory in Brearley Yard and a shop next to the Mansion House.
Early products included candied peel, marmalade and medicated lozenges as wel as cakes and confections. In the early 19th century the conversation lozenges bore messages a bit like modern day Love Hearts such as ‘Can you Polka’ and the racy ‘Do you flirt’. After the arrival of the railway to York Terry was selling his Coltsfoot Rock, Jujubes, Gum balls and Acid drops to many towns throughout the country. (Price 52/- per cwt Mmmm a sweet price).
Joseph Terry was born in Pocklington in 1793 the son of a local baker. He grew up in the town before moving to York and starting out in business as an apothecary, then switching to making cakes and confectioneries.
Joseph Terry died in 1850 but his 3 sons including Joseph jnr took the business forward building a Chocolate factory in Clementhorpe in 1887. The business grew through two world wars and remained in family ownership and management until 1960. It then passed through various corporate hands including Forte, Colgate Palmolive, United Biscuits, Philip Morris, Kraft and Suchards.
The family were civic minded and Joseph Terry jnr was Lord Mayor of York during Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. The war office recognised the value of chocolate for the troops before the first world war as being of benefit ‘…..on the march, at manoeuvers or any occasion when staying power is needed’. Between the wars new products were created including Spartan and All Gold.

Pocklington is obviously proud of Joseph Terry and wrote a longer biopic on it’s web site From the son of a Pocklington baker to founding one of the greatest of York’s businesses – Terry’s of York

Terry's Chocolate Works, York
Terry’s Chocolate Works York

Contemporary History of Terry’s of York

Sadly in 2004 the production at York was stopped and transferred to Europe bringing an end to a proud Yorkshire food manufacturing operation. The old factory isn’t Terry’s anymore it’s For Sale as The Press report

Other products you may remember include Neapolitans, Twighlight, Spartan, Waifa, and York Fruits. I am not sure the other fruit product below were quite the success of the Chocolate Orange that goes right back to the companies origins as peel importers. In fact I never saw a Chocolate Banana or the Chocolate Apple for that matter.

There is a packaging display at York’s Castle Museum and more information from York history
For those interested in Confectionery there is a great American blog
By the time of Joseph Terry’s death in 1850 his firm, Terry’s of York, was the city second biggest employer, and under successive generations of the family it became a world famous chocolate manufacturer that is still renowned to this day for such delicacies as ‘Terry’s Chocolate Orange’ and ‘Terry’s All Gold’. Sadly it fell into the hands of the American food giant Kraft in 1992and the factory was closed in 2005.

Terry's All Gold Imagine Milk Chocolates

Photo Credits
Chocolate Orange by jovike CC BY-NC 2.0
Terry’s Chocolate Works, York by True British Metal CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Terry’s All Gold Imagine Milk Chocolates by hemanth.hm CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Welcome to Saltaire – BD18

Aire I saw elba

As a UNESCO World Heritage site a visit to Saltaire is a must. This is due to the present amenities and  Saltaire’s extremely interesting past. Set alongside the river Aire from which it gets part of its name Saltaire also has the Leeds Liverpool canal running through it’s heart.

  1. Sir Titus Salt, a Victorian mill owner, built  Saltaire as a model town and endowed it with many employee friendly features. Workers cottages  built and named after Salt family members, Alma,  Ada, Mary, Constance , Helen,  Fanny, Grace Streets are now occupied by West Yorkshire commuters. I guess the  names seemed modern  in the 19th century. Sir Titus built his mill on the river Aire to clean the Alpaca wool he imported from Peru.
  2. The former mill now houses a small museum, retail emporium, art gallery, 3 eating establishments and workspace.
  3. Shipley glen tramway is just across the river and canal bridges and runs up to picturesque Shipley Glen. Even if the tram is not running the glen is a good place to take children with rocks to climb, woods to explore, Brackenhall Countryside Centre to visit and a tea house.
  4. Roberts Park is squeezed between the river and the canal and has 2 cricket pitches  to deposit balls into either waterway.
  5. “1853 Gallery” which houses a collection of the works of the famous local artist David Hockney.
  6. Victoria hall and exhibition   premises hold a range of events. the Antiques Road Show was fillemed here last month..
  7. The United Reform round church based on Italian architecture and built by Titus Salt in 1859. His mausoleum is situated below the lead dome with sunbursts in round arches.
  8. The old tramsheds are now a restaurant and entertainment venue but it is easy to see where the old Trolley buses stopped when they reached their Saltaire destination. Another licensed and thus irreverent location is called Don’t Tell Titus.
  9. Walks include paths on the ‘Dalesway Bradford Link’  that lead up to Dick Hudsons and over Ilkley moor to the official start.
  10. Salts Walks is a demonstration of the local enterprise culture which keeps the community spirit live and thriving.

Whitby – Home For Vampires That Fear The Light?

Since Bram Stoker lit his first candle to see the ink drying on his story of Dracula the local vampires have preferred the night and twilight. So might you if you see the light like this around St Mary’s and the Abbey. Gouls, Goths and Vampires are generally portrayed in black but when shown in their true colours it can be quite illuminating.

Can you see the vampires heading down the steps to the sea front? Mind how you go or we may never see you again.
Take your own Vampire potions and protection with you if you venture out as the lights begin to twinkle, dim and then disappear as night sets in and Vampires start to roam.
Avoid getting spooked, meeting a zombie or getting kissed on the neck in Whitby. On a positive note dawn has always returned, so far!

Illuminating Images

This page has been designed in part to promote a series of Whitby photographs which use light in a variety of ways to emphasise the nature of our favourite Yorkshire seaside town. The real images are bigger better and dare I say it ‘more spooky’ but follow a successful, tried and tested theme.
Similar works based on clever lighting of Ilkley Moor are available from retailers in Ilkley and a deal could be done for a Whitby organisation that sees the light. Contact Chris North Photography.

Whitby Home For Vampires

Not Goulish enough for you? Try reading ‘Whitby Vampyrrhic’ by Simon Clark

Book Cover

JOHUTCH says ‘This book is probably one of my all time favourites and I have read a lot of horror books. Mr Clark draws you in to the characters straight away and the storyline is transfixing…. Give him a go, in my opinion he is better than King.’

Other novels by Simon Clark in order of publication over the last 17 years
Nailed by the Heart
Blood Crazy
King Blood
The Fall
Judas Tree
Darkness Demands
The Night of the Triffids
In This Skin
The Tower
Death’s Dominion
London Under Midnight
Lucifer’s Ark
This Rage of Echoes
The Midnight Man
Stone Cold Calling
Vengeance Child
This Ghosting Tide
Ghost Monster
Whitby Vampyrrhic
The Gravedigger’s Tale
His Vampyrrhic Bride

Simon Clark is from Doncaster and is best known for his ‘The Night of the Triffids’ a sequel to Wyndham Lewis’s ‘The Day of The Triffids’. The sequel takes up the story twenty-five years later when the now grown-up son of Bill Masen is still searching for a method of destroying the implacable triffid plant as it continues its worldwide march.
Simon also wrote many short stories and ‘Doctor Who Dalek Factor’.

WGW is the Whitby Goth Weekend which runs from Halloween to Bonfire night. The big event 4th-6th November 2016 is sold out. This gathering of Steampunks, emos, goths, metallers, and other musical genres makes for a very suitable Whitby weekend home for ‘Vampires Who Fear The Light’.
Let the light shine but not too brightly!