Friday 25 February 1916
With 350 invitations having been sent out for Windhill Old Folks’ Treat to be held the following Saturday, the Shipley Times & Express looked back at the start of this much enjoyed annual event. The idea came from a conversation in the “snug” of the Blue Bell pub in December 1893. Having seen the success of Guiseley’s Old Folks’ Tea, Messrs W B Woodhead, Geo Illingworth, T Sutcliffe, T Spencer and the landlord, I T Preston decided to do something similar in Windhill. They approached Mr Robert Denison, head teacher of Woodend Board School for help and advice and he immediately agreed to be involved, sending out a circular to those he thought might lend a hand. Woodend Board School Windhill, Dec 21st, 1893 Dear Sir – A small committee met last night in the above school and resolved that the aged poor of Windhill should be invited during the first week of the New Year to a free substantial meal to be followed by an entertainment. £12 would gladden the hearts of 200
old people . Your name has been mentioned as one who would gladly help to make at least one day of their closing life bright and comfortable. If that is so, will you please attend a meeting here tomorrow evening (Friday) at 8 o’clock? The following gentlemen have already promised: Mr Jonas Ogden £1; Mr W B Woodhead £1; Mr Geo Illingworth 10s 6d; Mr Herbert Dawson 10s 6d; Mr I Y Preston 10s 6d; Mr R Denison 10s 6d. A few ladies have promised assistance in either cash or goods. If you cannot possibly attend but have sympathy with the object, please send word to the meeting what you will give. Yours etc., Robt Denison. Surplus The appeal clearly worked because the first successful event was held on 13 January 1894 in the Primitive Methodist School and afterwards there was still £1 13s 4d in the account. It was decided that this should be an annual event but moved to the first
Saturday in March so not to be too close to Christmas. The same venue was used for the second treat but there were a lot of steps so it was moved to Windhill Church Schools. But by now the committee had extended the remit to include ‘all people aged 60 or more, rich or poor,’ so the new venue was too small and since then it had been held alternately between Woodend and Crag End Schools. ‘In 1895 the Windhill P.S.A had a special Sacred Concert for the Old Folks’ Tea Fund and handed over the handsome sum of £9 5s. For the next 17 years one of their Sunday concerts was set apart for the same fund. ‘The committee has always been proud of the ease with which cash and eatables have been collected. This shows a grand feeling towards the old by the people of Windhill and many subscribers in Shipley.’ These days the committee, now chaired by Cllr Jonathan Pitts, was 30 strong and even though most of the early members had either died or moved away, Robert Denison remained as secretary.
Old folks’ treat born in Windhill ‘snug’
‘The first open meeting of the Shipley Recruiting Tribunal is to be held tonight at Somerset House, under the presidency of Cllr Thos Hill (chairman of Shipley District Council). ‘Twenty-two applications for postponement of military service will be dealt with and for the first time the Tribunal has the power either to grant absolute exemption or to exempt men from service until definite dates. ‘All the claims except two are made by the men’s employers and the occupations represented in addition to the textile industry, include shop assistants (butcher, tobacconist, grocer), painters, farmers, clerks and dentistry.’
Dentist among first requests to postpone military service
Shipley Council gave instructions that all public property should be insured against air raids, a move approved of in an editorial column in the Shipley Times & Express. ‘Although, like most people, they (the council) think it very unlikely that enemy aircraft will venture over this part of the country, it will be generally agreed that they have adopted a wise course.’ The newspaper also reminded readers that the danger of air raids meant there were restrictions on lighting. Police powers ‘The people of Shipley will be well advised to be more careful than they are at present in observing the new lighting regulations. ‘Many householders seem to be under the impression that they need only darken the windows of the living room and it is a common occurrence to see the fanlight and the bedroom windows illuminated. ‘The police have power to institute proceedings against offenders without warning but it is to be hoped that the residents will have the good sense not to render it unnecessary for the enforcement of such powers.’
Council acts on threat of air raids and public reminded to dim lights
The various committees of Shipley District Council were studying their statements of income and expenditure for the first nine months of the financial year and the figures were generally looking good. The rates on companies had not produced what was expected because a number of mill properties were empty. But the Highways Committee had made a saving of £1,500 on the cost of street lighting and ‘it is expected that the Council will finish the year with a substantial balance in hand.’
Council set for budget surplus despite empty mills reducing income
Baildon Belgian Relief Fund reported that, having received more than £360 in subscriptions, they had a surplus balance of £120. ‘Besides providing every comfort for the local Belgian guests, substantial sums have been forwarded for the relief of suffering Belgians in Belgium. ‘Several refugees staying in Baildon have found employment and are maintaining themselves. ‘In thanking subscribers for their help the committee intimate that if the necessity should arise, another appeal will be made later.’
Baildon generosity also enables help for Belgians at home
Sisters organise concert to boost Red Cross funding
The Whitfield sisters, l-r: Violet, Ella and Dorothy
The opening paragraphs of a report on a concert organised by three sisters in Greengates, left no room for doubt that the newspaper thought it was a good cause. ‘The Red Cross! Thousands and thousands, aye, millions of wounded warriors have blessed and thanked the Red Cross which has brought to them visions of succour, relief from pain and anguish, aye, of life itself, as they have laid wounded on the field of battle. ‘When all hope has seemed to have fled the sight of the Red Cross has brought it back and given renewed courage to the fallen warrior… ‘No charity has higher claims for support than the Red Cross and its all-round work it was which appealed to the Misses Violet, Ella and Dorothy Whitfield when they thought of doing something for our brave Tommies.’ The concert, which was attended by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, raised £140 and was so well organised that the sisters were invited to organise another like it in Bradford. Music critic, Musama, described it as ‘one of the finest and fullest musical treats we have had in this district for some time.’
‘The late Mr John Denby of Tong Park, Baildon, head of the firm of Messrs William Denby & Sons, spinners and manufacturers, of Tong Park Mill, for a number of years a member of the Baildon District Council and chairman of the Finance committee, left an estate of the value of £140,050, of which £84,061 is net personalty.’
John Denby estate
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