Friday 7 July 1916
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Delay from the Somme Judging from the pages of the Shipley Times & Express on this day 100 years ago, you would hardly be aware that one of the bloodiest battles in the country’s history had started seven days before, a battle in which hundreds of local men were already dead or injured. The pages read much as before. There was still a full page of columnists’ thoughts, still a page of gardening and fashion, still the whole back page taken up by the latest serialised novel. We do learn about a handful of men who had been injured and brought back to England but the fact that even the Births, Marriages and Deaths notices don’t reflect the toll at the Somme, suggests news was only just starting to filter back to those at home.
Children attending a Sunday School treat had to escape through windows when a thunderstorm struck the district on Monday 3 July, causing floods and a great deal of damage. Charlestown Baptist Sunday School were having their postponed Whitsuntide treat and ‘after buns and tea had been partaken of in the schoolroom, it was found that escape from the door was impossible owing to the heavy pressure of the stream running along the road. ‘Nuts and sweets were quickly distributed and the children were passed out of the windows in order to reach their respective homes in safety.’ Baildon seems to have been hardest hit by the storm which ‘broke with unusual violence over the Baildon district shortly after 5 o’clock on Monday evening, resulting in a torrential downpour for about two hours. ‘The rain collected with such speed
and volume that in a short time the main roads were almost impassable, the low-lying districts being quickly inundated. ‘At one time the Market Square was submerged by several feet of water, mud, sand and stones whilst in many places in the road in Northgate and Browgate, the channelling and kerbstones were dislodged and deep and extensive cavities washed in the limestone road. ‘Cellars were flooded in many parts and in some instances the dwelling rooms were flooded. ‘The currents of water flowing down Union Lane and Fyfe Lane at Charlestown were so strong that the Otley Road was quickly flooded so deep that traffic was entirely
suspended and vehicles, motor cars, etc had to go their journey by way of Baildon Road and on Lower Baildon, rejoining Otley Road at Tong Park. ‘The Charlestown Mill lower rooms were flooded to such an extent among the bales of wool that the assistance of the Fire Brigade was obtained to help to pump out the water. Drowned ‘Many live-stock owners have experienced losses, chickens and fowls being drowned in their coops.’ But Shipley didn’t escape. ‘Several roads were flooded and in one or two instances entirely submerged. ‘The portion of Leeds Road at the foot of Carr Lane, a rather steep incline, was covered with sand and stones washed down from Carr Lane. ‘The tramlines were badly obstructed and in consequence, a partial stoppage of the tram service was caused.’
‘Nuts and sweets were quickly distributed and the children were passed out of the windows in order to reach their respective homes in safety.’
Sunday School treat stopped by thunderstorm
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Butcher’s narrow escape
A light lorry ran away down Carr Lane and crashed into a butcher’s shop on Leeds Road. Fortunately shop owner Cllr John Booth saw the lorry coming and he managed to get out of the shop before it crashed through the front window. The vehicle was badly damaged and caused about £30 of damage to the shop. ‘According to one eye-witness, two boys had been playing round the lorry and it is presumed that they had released the brakes, thus setting the car running down the incline.’
A youth names Crosley, who pleaded guilty to stealing six cigarettes from Joseph Thorpe’s tobacconist shop on Bradford Road, Shipley, was dealt with leniently by the court after the police inspector spoke up on his behalf. Crosley, who told the court he earned five shillings a week, said he stole the cigarettes worth 3d because “I wanted a smoke.” Inspector Beaton of Shipley said that the boy had no previous record and added: “I was very much surprised myself to find the lad in this position. I have known him for several years and this is the first time I have known him get into trouble. Good family “His father and mother are very respectable people indeed, and his grandfather holds an important office under the Shipley District Council. In short he comes of a good family and I was greatly surprised to see him here on a charge of this kind.” Chairman of the magistrates, Sir Ellis Denby asked Crosley, “Will you promised not to do anything wrong again if we deal leniently with you?” and on being so assured, added: “Very well, you will be bound over for six months in the sum of £2.”
Court is lenient with respectable lad
“Scrutator” highlighted a lack of co- ordination on behalf of the council which still finds echoes 100 years later. “The surveyors department has for several weeks been busily engaged in its usual summer task of tarring the surface of our roads,” he wrote. “Ere the tar has dried and hardened, the gas department has sent men round to tear them up again and not in one road or a few but in many. The lamps are being put in order for the winter. “Why could the gas men not have preceded the road men instead of succeeding them and destroying the work which they have been doing? Where is the economy which should be practised? “Can one wonder that our rates are nearing ten shillings in the pound when such senseless and wasteful tactics are followed?”
Uncoordinated work frustrates ratepayers
Belgian pupils praised
The County Council inspector of schools, Mr J Whalley highlighted the progress of two Belgian children who attended Hawksworth Church School. ‘They have not been very long in this country and they can talk the English language remarkably well,” he reported. Turning to the rest of the school, he reported: “Since my last inspection in 1910, the number of children in attendance has decreased and for some time the head teacher has taught the school with only the assistance of a monitress. “The school continues to be taught pleasantly and on the whole effectively. Oral arithmetic “The young children read nicely and work simple examples in oral arithmetic very satisfactorily. “The older children have a good knowledge of geography and a few of them draw very nicely. “The writing and arithmetic of the children in standard six and the writing and composition of the senior children generally are, however, a little disappointing at present. “The monitress gives very useful assistance in teaching the young children.”
Shipley’s medical officer of health reported: “There have been thirteen cases of diphtheria notified during the month, eight of which occurred at Albert Road School. Two cases were in the infant department and six cases in the mixed department. “The latter cases all occurred in one classroom so I thought it advisable to close that classroom until the Whitsuntide holidays. The fresh cases from that room occurred afterwards…. “There were five cases in Windhill during the month, attending Wood End and Cragg Road schools, respectively. “The Sanitary Inspector, Mr England, has also visited the homes of the children and found a number of sanitary defects. “These cases have arisen most probably from slight and unrecognised cases not having received medical attention.”
Albert Road School hardest hit by diphtheria outbreak
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A correspondent wrote to complain that ‘publications of “German atrocities” are multiplied and exhibited on bookstalls etc., where young boys and girls may peer into their obscene chronicles, a single one of which would lead to the suppression of a novel and probable prosecution of the author. ‘What Pharisaism is it to call for the stricter censoring of cinemas while these abominations are encouraged amongst us. ‘And what useful purpose do they serve? To stir up hate! Is that sufficient compensation for the defiling of young minds? Corrupted ‘In the name of England, youth and beauty, I deprecate the continuation of this shame.’ It was an argument that found little sympathy with columnist “Wanderer” who replied: ‘Apparently we are not to let our young people know what has happened and is happening “over yonder” lest their minds should be corrupted! ‘I should have thought, in my innocence, that it was eminently wise to let everybody in these isles, young and old, know exactly what we might expect if the gentle and cultured Hun effected a landing – such information being vouchsafed to us not for the purpose of stirring up hate – though even that has something to be said for it – but determination that, God helping us, our women and children shall never suffer the iniquities perpetrated on the innocent, non- combatant people of Belgium. ‘The knowledge of these villainies, it is to be hoped, produces in us – young and old – such hatred of a system which trains men to rejoice in them, that makes us determined to end it forever.’
Obscene chronicles or timely warnings?