York Is Appealing

We all know that York has a wide appeal for residents and visitors but are these appeals really necessary?

This is a tale of two art related 2017 appeals .

1. The York Art Gallery

If you have £3.6 million to spare you could help acquire A Revery by Albert Moore  a 19th Century York born artist. The painting above currently features at the York Art Gallery until 1st October 2017 but the museum and gallery trust would like to buy this painting.

 Money and finance seems high on the list of priorities for the Art Gallery. Is this appeal convincing you? How many works do York own that are not on display in the City?Book CoverAmazon Kindle version of ‘43 Amazing Color Paintings of Albert Joseph Moore – British Academic Painter (September 4, 1841 – September 25, 1893)’

2. Wooden Sculptures Wooden Appeal

I have been invited to support a fund raiser to buy ‘for the nation and York’, a 17th century sculpture by Grinling Gibbons. The cost will be £300,000 and 80% has already been found from mainly public sector purses. To be more exact funds for the purchase are destined for York Civic Trust and Fairfax House an Historic House Association member. The HHA is an association of 1500 privately owned stately homes, historic dwellings, parks and gardens throughout the UK. The Civic Trust is awash with unspent investments!

Sotheby’s auctioned the lot for a price of $162,500 on behalf of the estate of A Arthur Traubman their late chairman who served time in USA prison over his role in a price-fixing scandal with Christie’s. He  was a multi-millionaire from construction and investment (peak networth $3billion). He is also known for his extensive  art collection which Sotheby’s valued at $500 million. Should the public be coughing up another £60,000 for this shemozzle?

Book Cover Lords and Liars: The Inside Story of the Sotheby’s-Christie’s Conspiracy by Christopher Mason


Hawes Interesting and Unusual

The picture shows Hawes Church rebuilt during Queen Victoria’s reign. It is dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch.

Interesting and Unusual Facts about Hawes

The railway is gone and you can only get to the Museum by bus as Hawes railway station was been converted into the Folk Museum. Well, since Dr Beeching zapped the Dales, you can take shank’s pony and walk or even take the car if you want to pay for parking.

The cultural museum was inspired by Marie Hartley and Joan Ingleby, the prodigious authors of Yorkshire sociology and history. The museum covers all you could want to see about life in the dales from the ice age forward and explains a lot about the Yorkshire psyche. There are lots of interactive activities to keep the young and old amused and kids get in for free!

The Wensleydale Vintage Bus service uses two buses from the 1940’s (named Dorothy and Edith) and Bessie from 1961 to run between Ripon and Hawes, Garsdale and Redmire. Bus passes accepted! In summer this links to the Wensleydale Railway.

Recently in the news is the Hawes bookshop that charges you to go inside. Bloomingdales or blooming cheek where  customers who enter the shop and browse are charged 50p entry fee. This has given  folk something to complain about but don’t let that put you off as you may find the book of your dreams and get the 50p back into the bargain.

A good walk from the village will take you through fields to The Green Dragon. Dating from 13th century this pub is home to the famous Hardraw Force, England’s highest single drop waterfall. Access to the waterfall is only through the pub and a paying turnstyle.

Hawes had its own ropeworks and nearby is the village of Gayle famous for its cotton mill.

Gayle Beck

Gayle Beck and Ford

Aims and Objectives of the Friends of the Dales Countryside Museum

* To promote the improvement of the museum
* To raise funds to help in maintaining and enlarging the collection. (Registered Charity No. 519 546)
* To arrange events for the interest and education of the Friends

World Coal Carrying Championship at Gawthorpe Again

Every year the World Coal Carrying Championship is held in Yorkshire on Easter Monday. At Easter in Gawthorpe grown men l run the mile from The Beehive public house to the Royal Oak, known locally as t’Barracks , carrying a hundred weight sack of coal.  The 54th World Coal Carrying Championship is scheduled for Easter Monday 2017. Bookings

coal mens race 2

According to the organisers this is how the World Championship came about ‘Reggie Sedgewick and one Amos Clapham, a local coal merchant and current president of the Maypole Committee were enjoying some well-earned liquid refreshment whilst stood at the bar lost in their own thoughts. When in bursts one Lewis Hartley in a somewhat exuberant mood. On seeing the other two he said to Reggie, ” Ba gum lad tha’ looks buggered !” slapping Reggie heartily on the back. Whether because of the force of the blow or because of the words that accompanied it, Reggie was just a little put out.‘’ Ah’m as fit as thee’’ he told Lewis, ‘’an’ if tha’ dun’t believe me gerra a bagga coil on thi back an ‘ah’ll get one on mine an ‘ah’ll race thee to t’ top o’ t’ wood !’’ ( Coil, let me explain is Yorkshire speak for coal ). While Lewis digested the implications of this challenge a Mr. Fred Hirst, Secretary of the Gawthorpe Maypole Committee ( and not a man to let a good idea go to waste) raised a cautioning hand. ” ‘Owd on a minute,’’ said Fred and there was something in his voice that made them all listen. ‘Aven’t we been looking fer some’at to do on Easter Monday? If we’re gonna ‘ave a race let’s ‘ave it then. Let’s ‘ave a coil race from Barracks t’ Maypole.’

2009 was the 46th World Coal Carrying Championship and the BBC claim these facts about world champions
1. Window cleaners, builders and farmers are the most successful at winning the title
2. The best weight for an entrant to be is 10st 7lb
3. Competitors need to have strong legs and lungs

The sponsors are H.B.Clark independent brewers of Wakefield so a fourth fact  would be an appetite for beer.
coal female winner

Gawthorpe is between Dewsbury and Osset and also has a good May Day tradition. with dancing on the FIRST SATURDAY IN MAY EVERY YEAR. Gawthorpe itself can be dated back to the Romans and is believed to be named after a Viking Chief called “Gorky “. At the lower end of the village is an earth mound known as Fairy Hill. This is thought to be a Viking burial mound.

It is confirmed that a coal mine was established at Gawthorpe as long ago as 1366 during the reign of Edward III

Maypole dancing itself dates back as far as Richard II in England, and during the reign of Henry VIII reached most of the rural villages including Gawthorpe. Mayday itself became a public holiday until Oliver Cromwell (1649 – 1660) banned May Merrymaking and all such festivities. These were fortunately re-established by Charles II.

Photo credits
coal mens race 2 by SFB579 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
coal female winner by SFB579 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Interlude for Afternoon Tea in Shipley

Afternoon Tea

King George V would recognise many of the items on display at Interlude the Cafe Society tearoom ‘to be seen in’ when visiting Shipley. Between Elsie Russell’s florists and The Samaritan charity shop is an exceptionally well furbished cafe with great food and an environment to savor. High Tea comes a bit more expensive than Afternoon Tea but with boiled egg with toast soldiers  the prices are very reasonable and the choice just right.

All the tables are similar to the one shown with old china crockery and a collection of old art books, comics  and magazines to peruse. When you wish to order you have your own little bell to ring and there are numerous other touches to take in whilst you drink your Yorkshire tea.

Upstairs at  this Westgate Cafe is a boutique of vintage clothes, although my daughter thought they were more secondhand than 1920’s. Still the sound of syncopated rhythms and an occasional Charleston  wafted gently through the rooms. The emporium at the front of the cafe sells cakes and treats for you to take home if you wish and this shows the enterprise a business needs these days to survive. Support your local shops and visit Interlude when in Shipley. More about Interludes history can be found on there own web site.


Twirlies on Doncaster & Bradford Trolley Buses

Black Country Museum

Twirlies you know are the OAP’s and people who stand at bus stops with their free passes and ask ‘are we too early’ because it is not yet 9.30am. So that is how we get our name ‘Twirlies’, it is not a trolley bus maneuver to turn around at the terminus.

Well Twirlies would have needed to get up early in the morning to catch the Bradford Corporation Trolley Bus No 7 to Thornbury.
Ten Bradford trolleybuses are now preserved at the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft , Lincolnshire. In the tram shed at Bradford Industrial Museum there is the pictured Trolley bus plus the only tramcar left in Bradford. Continue reading Twirlies on Doncaster & Bradford Trolley Buses

Facts about Thirsk – YO7

Thirsk is a fine old fashioned market town in North Yorkshire with market days on Mondays and Saturdays.

Thirsk by Damion

Reasons To Visit Thirsk

  1. The cobbled Market Place dates from medieval times and there are quaint named streets to walk around including Cod Beck, Millgate and Finkle Street as well as Castlegate and Westgate
  2. Thirsk is nationally famous for its race course, make a note of Ladies day in September
  3. St Mary’s is a beautiful old Church, according to Arthur Mee   ‘Set on the green bank of one of the willow-bordered streams, it is a magnificent tribute to those who built it in the first half of the 15th century.’
  4. Thirsk Market is held on cobbles in the square  ringed by several pubs and eateries best days are Mondays and Saturdays.
  5. Pubs include the Black….., Swan, Lion, Bull or Smith. The three Tuns and Ye Olde three Tuns by these publicans know a good name when they have had a bevvy or two.
  6. Thirsk is also the Darrowby of the late James Herriot (Alf Wight), famous vet and author. Thirsk and near by village Sowerby are set in the centre of “Herriot Country” Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales National Park to the west and the North York Moors National Park to the east.’
  7. James Herriot left not only the legacy of Vet books but created a small industry in Thirsk including the museum dedicated to him and Veterinary work ‘The World of James Herriot.’
  8. Zillah Bell Gallery is having a Yorkshire Gateways exhibition of Paintings, Etchings, Jewellery, Ceramics from 25th June to 17th July but the shop on Kirkgate always has something of interest.

Continue reading Facts about Thirsk – YO7

Old Barry Cryer’s Support for Hernias

Book CoverLeeds born and educated, up to a point, Barry Cryer’s book now called The Chronicles of Hernia is a newly packaged comedy classic, first published in 1998 under the title ‘You Won’t Believe This But….’ Purchase from Amazon here
‘Still Alive’ is the name of his touring show and it is worth making special effort to see Barry perform although he excels on valve radio where he is ‘the cats whiskers’.
Barry will be 81 this next month and so I have picked out one or two lines with an ageist theme

“Stannah have got a new, faster stairlift. It gets you up the stairs before you’ve forgotten why you went.”

“Right now I’m having amnesia and deja vu at the same time. I think I’ve forgotten this before.”

From the new Uxbridge dictioery of alternative meanings for English words Platypus – to give your cat pigtails, Flemish – rather like snot, or Celtic -a prison for fleas.

If I go under a bus I don’t want any displays of loyalty.” Continue reading Old Barry Cryer’s Support for Hernias

Yorkshire’s Sweet Tooth

Liquorice Loot


Pomfret is an early name for Pontefract and as most Yorkshire children know, Pontefract is the heart of Yorkshires liquorice making. Around the time of the Battle of Hastings, French monks arrived in Pontefract with liquorice plants for medicinal and stomach purposes and locals created a cottage industry that led to such treats as ‘Yorkshire Pennies’ ‘Catherine Wheels’, Pomfret cakes, Bootlaces and other sweetmeats made from chewy black liquorice.
Pomfret cakes or Pontefract cakes were first created when sugar was added to the liquorice stock and an image of the Norman castle stamped into the round black sweet that was created. The castle has a morbid history Richard II was imprisoned and probably murdered, in Pontefract Castle in 1400. In 1648 to March 1649 Oliver Cromwells New Model Army was engaged in the successful siege of Pontefract Castle that led to its ruination. ‘Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison’ as Shakespeare put it in his play Richard III.

Fast forward to the 1840’s when a Sheffield business Bassett and Lodge started a confectionery business that eventually created ‘Liquorice Allsorts’. The Allsorts mix apocryphally was created by a clumsy salesman who spilt a tray of various liquorice creams and sweets in a pattern that appealed to the customer. In 1918 they started to manufacture jelly products called ‘Peace Babies’ which we all now know and love as Jelly Babies. In the 1920’s as a logo the company created “Bertie Bassett,” a human like figure made up of liquorice allsorts. On the strength of the liquorice products such as Ju-Jubes and the Allsorts, Bassett’s bought other brands that included Victory V Lozenges, Zubes, Sherbet Fountains and Beech Nut. I fondly remember the beech nut chewing gum machines which vended an extra packet every 3rd or 4th purchase, what fun it seemed to be getting something for nothing.
Mint based products from Bassett’s included Mint Imperials, Murray Mints and Clarnico Mint Creams.

Needlers started making boiled sweets in Hull in 1886. One of their key innovations was to start selling sweets in clear glass jars rather than the bottle-green glass that had been used previously. All sweets and chocolates were unwrapped and Needles were producing over 2000 tons a year by the early 1920’s but in 1928 they invested in a wrapping machine.
By the 1970’s the chocolate business was loosing money and unfortunately had to be closed but investment in the sugar based lines led to the introduction of the Sensation’ range of vacuum packed mints and fruit pastilles. Needlers bought Batgers Ltd the makers of Jersey Toffee and moved production to Hull.

Thorntons first Chocolate Kabin opened in Sheffield in 1911 aiming to be the best sweetshop in town. Easter and the production of special and named Easter eggs became an important part of business for Thorntons. Then special toffee was created in 1925 and production required larger premises in Penistone Road Sheffield. The chocolate business developed by focusing on quality and learning from contenetal manufacturers particularly in Holland and Belgium. The business floated on the stock market but unfortunately the business moved downmarket into Derbyshire. There is still likely to be a Thorntons Kabin near you (based on my post code I found 6 shops within 10 miles).

See an earlier report on Maxons boiled sweets.  All this and still no mention of Rowntrees, Macintoshes,  Terrys, Yorkshire Mixtures or even Farrah’s Original Harrogate Toffee. If you have a favourite Yorkshire sweet that I have missed   send us a comment below.
Thanks to Maurice Baren ‘How it All Began in Yorkshire’ and The Oldest Sweet Shop in England at Pateley Bridge.

Pontefract Cakes
Liquorice Loot by Jon Åslund CC BY 2.0