In the feature “Frozen in Time” the photograph of the staircase in the Carnegie Library in Windhill, Shipley, brought back so many memories. I was at pupil at the primary school opposite from 1947-1951 and, an avid reader, I went to the library most days. I seem to remember that the beautiful staircase shown led to the reference section where children probably weren’t encouraged to go.
A newshound then as now, I did go into the reading room where most of those in there were elderly people who had time to spare. There was a comprehensive selection of newspapers and magazines and I read many of those we didn’t have at home, some of them probably not intended for children.
We did have books at home, many of them Sunday School prizes, and a Children’s Encyclopedia which I still have. Young people were only allowed to borrow two books at a time but sometimes there were three or four I desperately wanted to read so deviously I would hide some of them behind the books on the shelves. Next day, when I returned the books I had read, the ones I’d secreted away were where I had left them, ready to borrow that day! Good job there were no close circuit television cameras in those days.
Audrey Powell, Thirsk
From the caption “an abandoned girls’ school in Ripon – first opened in 1909…” I knew immediately it referred to Ripon Girls’ High School which I attended from September 1960 to July 1962. Without the caption I would never have recognised the accompanying photo as being of the school. Some might say ‘it brought tears to one’s eyes’. The full extent of the ruinous state that is the building now is shown in Matt’s Facebook page, Lost Places & Forgotten Faces. It really is a sorry sight and I rather wish I had not looked.
The school closed its doors in 1962 when it amalgamated with the boys’ grammar school in Ripon where I, along with other girls, continued our secondary education. My memories of RGHS are many. Being only a school of 220 girls you knew everyone by sight and certainly knew everyone by name in your year. We all fitted in what was a fairly small assembly hall each morning. A particular memory is of sports’ day which saw races such as slow bicycle, sack and egg and spoon, none of which, understandably, we encountered at the grammar school.
While at RGHS I was a weekly boarder. Although it was a state school weekly boarding was provided, mainly for girls from rural areas, such as Nidderdale, but some of us came from elsewhere. We boarders were only 16 in number and lived in “hostel”, which had been a terrace of three cottages on Coltsgate Hill, next to the school. The layout of the cottages was unaltered so our bedrooms were small, shared by 3 or 4 girls. Meals were taken and homework done round a large table which filled most of the dining room. At the head of the table sat Miss Hardy, a strict, elderly spinster who taught maths and who introduced us to table etiquette. I remember shepherd’s pie being served from what looked like a baby’s bath, strange though it seems. On Mondays after school the younger boarders accompanied Matron on a walk around Ripon, sporting our berets and in crocodile formation. This may sound like a Draconian regime but we seemed to just accept it and still found enjoyment. Any past pupils will now all be over 70 but I am sure there will be “girls” in Ripon today who remember their time at RGHS.
Janet Mills (nee Atkinson), Harrogate
The November 2020 edition of The Dalesman, was a great read. I was especially interested in the article about William Bradley, or Giant Bradley, as he was called, who stood at a towering 7 feet 9 inches, making him the tallest recorded British man in history. I just wonder what my granddad, the late Tot Lord, curator and owner of Settle’s former Pig Yard Club Museum, would have made of this.
Tot, a well known cave excavator and self-taught archaeologist, had within his collection, the skeletal remains of an even larger individual, a 16-year-old giant, who stood at 8 feet 6 inches. According to Tot, he was found beneath the foundations of a great wall near Buckhaw Brow, alongside the remains of five other children, in what was thought to have been an Iron Age memorial.
Richard Whinray, Settle
What a lovely surprise – I was so pleased to read the article from Roger Ellis (November Dalesman/Down Your Way). The short answer to the question is: No, I’m afraid I can’t help to identify Dakky.
But aside from that, the reason for my enjoyment of the article is that many of my ancestors were from Knottingley – lime burners and others who were mariners, using the canal to Goole for coastal sailing. Local names like Heald and Crabtree appear in my family history. Perhaps Roger Ellis remembers Miss Heald, who was a teacher and my father’s cousin.
In the 1950s my grandparents lived in Goole and our first thing to do when visiting them was to go on the docks (open to the public then) and hope to see the Tom-Puddings arrive full of coal and be lifted by the coal hoists so that the coal could be tipped into the hold of a waiting ship. It was a thrilling sight – but very dusty. Memories of a piece of coal grit in the eye are not pleasant!
Yvonne Alderson, Bath
Having read several of James Herriot’s books in the early 1970s I also had fond memories of the 1978 TV series with Christopher Timothy so I read the article in the October issue of The Dalesman with great interest.
British television drama series are always popular here in Sweden. Nevertheless I was surprised recently to see the new series of All Creatures Great and Small promoted on the front cover of one of Sweden’s most popular TV Listing Guides. The programme is being screened on Saturday evenings at the peak viewing time of 9pm and on the main Swedish TV channel.
I do not usually watch new versions of former well-loved series but your article encouraged me and I have just watched the first episode. I was intrigued and I really cannot say that I remember very much of the original. For a young actor, 30-year old Nicholas Ralph as James Herriot is very good. In fact I found all the cast convincing. But the real star of the show is the scenery. I’m hooked.
All Creatures Great and Small is a familiar phrase in Britain coming as it does from Mrs Frances Alexander’s children’s hymn. But that means nothing in Sweden. So the Swedish title of the new series is In Vår Herres Hage which translates as In God’s Own County. What else?
Helen Eriksson, Nyköping, Sweden
Regarding “Speed on the shore” in December’s issue.
It was interesting to see the ice cream cart of Peter Lanny on the beach.
He was born in Cassino, Italy, October 1897. His father, Pascoe Lanny (Pasquale Lanni) came to England just after the First World War with nothing in his pocket other than a dream.
He stayed in a lodgings at South Bank, Middlesbrough, then returned to Italy to bring back his bride Assunta Ciccotelli. The couple moved to Grangetown selling his products, including mineral water and lemonade. The Lannys had six children, including Peter.
Peter, with his father and the rest of the family built a very successful ice cream business which finally closed its doors in 2005.
Mrs Brenda Barron, Middlesbrough
I really enjoyed the article on Saltburn’s Carnival of Speed and particularly the antics of the Beast of Turin. This wonderful motor has recently been restored to running order. In both 2018 and 2019, I had the pleasure of seeing the Fiat S76 competing in the Goodwood Festival of Speed hill climb.
Nigel Taylor, Wetwang, Driffield