Speleologists Visit Yorkshire

We are not talking about people spell incorrectly as speleology is the scientific study of caves and pot holes. Yorkshire has its fair share of such karst features, underground drainage systems, sinkholes and caves enough to interest most ardent speleologists.

Hardraw Force

Notable Yorkshire Sites to Study Speleomorphology

  1. What causes erosion around   England’s highest single drop waterfall at Hardraw Force hidden behind the Green Dragon Inn Hawes. It was water not beer or brass band music.
  2. Gaping Ghyll pot hole on the southern flank of Ingleborough was first decended on Yorkshire day 1895.
  3. At Giggleswick there is a well that displays sudden rushes of water. This is caused by two chambers eroded in to the limestone near Settle creating a syphon effect. It was first reported in 1612.
  4. White Scar Cavern has lakes and rock formations (stalagtites going down).
  5. I leave budding Speleologists to discover the location of other treasures like Rumbling Hole, The Fairies Workshop and Boggart Holes

 

 

 

 

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Stonewalled Dry Stone Walls

Cycling to the Wall

The best way to seek out and see Yorkshires best stonewalls is to get on your bike! Walking is the traditional way of getting around the dales and still to be admired. Cycling on the other hand lets you experience far more ‘wall vistas’ in less time so use two wheels rather than two legs (and no motor vehicles).

In Praise of Old Walls

  1. A well built wall will endure for centuries.  It is an investment of time and cash and have proved to be generationally long term investments.
  2. A hedge row is expensive to maintain and will eventually need replacing.
  3. Hedges need initial protection from grazing animals before it becomes secure and stable.
  4. Stonewalls are a picturesque part of the dales landscape that helped develop the tourist industry.

dry-stone-wallDales Dry Limestone Stonewall

 Reasons Farmers Need or Needed Walls

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Do You Latch the Sneck or Sneck the Latch

Painted Door and Sneck in Eccleshill

There is more than one way to ‘shut that door’ or gate including the use of a catch, bolt, bar, lock, hook, hasp or some other fastening. Here on Gods Own County we are ‘locked and loaded’ with a Yorkshire sneck. They are still in common use for outside lavatories, outhouses and garden sheds.

Construction of a Sneck

  • Used since the early 15th century a sneck is an iron latch made by a blacksmith.
  • There is generally a lever to lift a cross bar and then a catch point to sneck or latch into.
  • Importantly there is also a lever through the door on the inside or you would be in danger of ‘two old ladies stuck in the lavatory’.
  • The sneck can be used vertically but more commonly horizontally as above.
  • Further north in Scotland you can ‘sneck’ a window catch or use sneck as a verb when closing the lid of a tin.
  • By contrast a deadbolt latch has a bolt to slide into a strike plate.
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Morley Cholera and Collieries


Throughout Yorkshire there were primrose paths to brilliant primulas this spring. Apologies are in order as this picture in Morley is a couple of years old as I am confined to barracks at the moment.

Morley was a great coal mining town and in the 19th century there were many well-known Morley’s collieries and ‘British Mining No. 87 – Coal Mining in Morley‘ lists 87 pits in all. The Northern mine research society  ( nmrs) covers the impact of HM Inspector’s of Mines on the employment of women and children. There is a detailed account of the Morley Main explosion of 1872 which claimed the lives of 34 men and boys and many of the 42 horses that were also below ground at the time.

In 1849 there were 200 deaths in Morley due to Cholera and in 1901 Sewage Purification Works opened.

To demonstrate the towns motto Industria Omnia VincitIndustry overcomes all things’ there are over 5,000 individual stones in the mosaic. Many from local quarries that were  large employers since the 17th century.

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Open and Shut

Is York St Mary’s an entrance you can use or a no entry sign that you shouldn’t. This sign was erected for the Van Gough Experience. I tried to enter at the start of the exhibition but there was still erection work going on inside hence the shut signs. Regrettably I was unable to go and see the exhibition when it was open and now, as Visit York now say ‘we are following government policy and strongly advising all visitors to stay home and stay safe. This means not visiting York, even for the day, until the current situation has passed’. 

W Wells & Sons Ginger beer suppliers of Ripon has long been out of Fizz and I think it is one of the naturally shut places. I didn’t know ginger beer came from wells! As an aside this company was one of the licensees of the Codd patent of 1872 on a glass bottle, originally made at Hope Glass Works in Barnsley. A Codd bottle has a marble in the neck to keep it shut to retain the effervescence.

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Off The Wall

Who would have thought fire cement could have 101 uses? I was certainly sceptical until I came across a booklet published by the Pyruma people at Sankey’s in the 1950’s. They claim it was ‘Ideal for making – Model Railway Buildings and Accessories, Harbours, Ship Models, Airport Buildings and features, Houses, Bookends, Ashtrays, Animals and Figures, plaques, relief objects in addition to being an adhesive for ceramic fibre blankets

Signs on the Wall at Bradford Industrial museum.

The International Plastic Modellers’ Society (UK), is organised from Bridlington and on 8-9 November all being well it will run Scale ModelWorld show this year in Telford. Expect to see a lot more than a collection of Pyruma enthusiasts.

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Nostalgia is Bigger Than It Used To Be

Reposted on VE day+1 with modifications in italic

Book Cover

Nostalgia is big business and isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. Alan Titchmarsh has latched on to the trend with his BBC book ‘When I was a Nipper’ available from amazon as paperback or hardback.

Why Nostalgia is Getting Bigger

  • The baby boomers are enjoying life and there are a lot of them around. Long may that continue despite the torrid time currently being experienced due to corona virus corvid-19
  • Old music acts from the 60’s and 70’s are touring and performing in ever growing numbers. I saw one of the Dubliners on a zimmer frame at St Georges Hall Bradford last year!
  • Discretionary spending on nostalgia increases year on year. Collecting memorabilia, old pottery, and modern antiques has been promoted by lifestyle programmes on TV.
  • Family tree compilation and ancestor research has joined the list of popular hobbies.
  • Themed holidays and a greater number of museums and local attractions based on nostalgia proliferate.
  • There is a demand for nostalgia because times were good. The supply of nostalgia based products, services and media is aimed at satisfying the demand.

Yorkshire Nostalgia

    • The Railway Children is running again in a live performance at Waterloo Station
  • Heartbeat of Aidensfield fame may have ceased production but it is still running on digital TV channels and dvds. How long before we are nostalgic for analogue TV?
  • Another show that runs and runs is the Last of the Summer Wine. I can even get nostalgic for the reruns!
  • If you want to keep up with nostalgia you can do a lot worse than read The Dalesman

original posted 15.2.17

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Why Walk the Yorkshire Way

In these corvid times Yorkshire folk have been given permission by the government nay, encouragement to walk (once a day keeping your distance etc). Walking is free, simple and health enhancing and in Yorkshire what is not to like?

Old Drovers Flags   Idle West Riding

The sun wasn’t cracking the flags when this snap was taken. If you stray off the path you will be in clover.

Almscliff Crags in light snow

North Yorkshire is anything but boring. The snow could have landed on this path up to the crag in any month but not on Christmas day.

Lone Walker at Ingleton Falls

Walkers of Yorkshire Quotes

  1. ‘There are few better things for toning your thighs and sorting your head’ Sarah Baxter
  2. …the beauty is in the walking  – we are betrayed by destinations.   Gwyn Thomas
  3. Walking is man’s best medicine  Hippocrates
  4. You don’t need a road map to know which way the feet go  Bob Dylan
  5. Oy! get back to Lancashire  Unknown farmer

Yorkshire & Humberside Distance Walks

Lest you forget ‘Why walk the Yorkshire way’

  1. I will remind you it is free! 
  2. There are so many great places to visit and views to admire.
  3. There is nowt like Yorkshire
  4. Did I mention walking is free
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Will They Reopen When They Think it’s All Over


Snooker and pool Cue re-tippers formerly or currently in Shipley


Uncomfortable shopping trolleys used as Pontefract Taxis. They are the only transport to be allowed to park ‘at any time’


In Leeds Harlie’s isn’t currently accepting orders but will it reopen via Just Eats or Deliveroo. They’d be silly burgers not too!

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Petty and Sons Printers of West Yorkshire

Petty & Sons was officially launched in 1865 by John William Petty at a Leeds base wence from it became one of the UK’s preeminent printers. During the 19th century the strong Methodism and Temperance principles of the Petty family helped the business to grow as they produced print for the Band of Hope and other similar movements.The founders son and driving force was named Wesley and this gives a clue to this lay preacher beliefs. Wesley recalled that the Leeds born painter of moonlight views Arnold Grimshaw was only allowed to sell his paintings on the clear evidence that they were not painted on a Sunday.

The companies early accounts books show that much of the initial printing equipment was bought from local Yorkshire engineers such as Otley based Dawson Payne (& Elliot), James  Mann (later to become Geo Mann) Sheffield engineers and type founder Stephenson Blake and fellow printer Geo Pallister. Waite and Saville machines were added later. To some extent the rise and fall of the printing equipment industry followed that of Petty & Sons. By the turn of the 20th century Pettys Southern printers in Reading was in significant production and there were operations in Cheapside London, Belfast and Dublin as well as new extensive premises in Whitehall Road Leeds.

TV Christmas Magazines

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