successful and enjoyable carnival ball was held in the Town Hall, Knottingley, on New Years Eve, by members of the Knottingley Branch of
the British Legion. Mr H. Winterbottom was the M.C. and minerals, ices
and cakes were served by women friends. About £80 was raised for the
Branch's new building fund.
Watchnight Service's were held at the Ropewalk Methodist Church and the Elim Four Square
Church, Knottingley, on Saturday, and were conducted by the Rev
J.J. Lewis and Pastor J. Gee, respectively. The service at the Elim Church
was followed by a celebration of communion which was well attended.
drives held throughout the year raised the money which has enabled the
women's section of Knottingley Toc.H to provide comforts for the sick
and elderly between Christmas and the new year. Between 20 and 30 people
were visited, including a little boy in hospital; and food, fruit and
other gifts distributed.
Mr. R. Greenwood,
and his sister, Mrs Thompson, have promised that when the building fund
of the Knottingley local Labour Party reaches 380 they will make it up
to £100, The gift will be in memory of their mother, the late Mrs
Greenwood, who about 20 years ago contested a seat on the Knottingley
Urban District Council, as a labour candidate.
Mr F. Fozzard, of Knottingley, is acting as honorary lay reader at Christ
Church, provisionally upon his being licensed later by the Bishop, says
Knottingley's Parish Magazine. Mr. John Harker has been nominated by
the Vicar, the Rev W. Musgrave, as churchwarden, to fill the vacancy at
Christ Church caused by the death of Mr. E. N. France; and Mr S. Whitwell has been
appointed honorary choirmaster.
5th May 1950
Many people of the town and
district whose schooldays were spent at the Knottingley Church of
England School, will remember Miss Amelia Drinkwater, of 'Attenboro', Weeland
Road, Knottingley, the former headmistress of the Infants School who died
A member of the well known
family, Miss Drinkwater was the eldest daughter of the late Mr John
Drinkwater, a former Chairman of the K.U.D.C. Her first association with
the school was when she was a pupil teacher there during the
headmastership of the late Mr Mark Hill, in whose time the school
acquired a distinctive musical reputation, In later years she she served
it in several respects, and with a quite determination which covered
much much solid effort and achievement.
'The National' was not her
first school, however. After leaving Ripon Training College she taught
at Leeds and also at the Northgate Girl's School, Pontefract, Then she
became head of the Driffield C of E Girls School after which her health
became affected. She succeeded Mrs Hill as headmistress of the Knottingley Church of England Infants School, where she continued until
until increasing ill-health compelled her retirement about 12 years
It will be recalled that
Miss Drinkwater helped to found the School's former Old Scholars
Association, whose activities added a great deal to the social life of
the town several years ago, She was a member of the committee of the former
association and also interested herself in the work of St Botolph's
Church, where she had charge of the Girl's Friendly Society and was a
member of the Parochial Council, Miss Drinkwater took a great interest
in sport in her younger days, She was a fine skater, in later years her
health became increasingly worse and for the past eight years she had
almost been bedfast, There are three brothers and three sisters, the
funeral took place at Knottingley cemetery after a service at St
Botolph's conducted by the Rev W. Musgrave.
YOUNG HERO OF RIVER RESCUE
COOLLY UNDRESSES IN WATER
Recovering from a serious
illness at her sister's home in Sussex, Mrs Iris Brown of Lilygarth,
Ferrybridge, was not aware, at noon yesterday, that her seven year old
son, Ivor, whom she left at home with his grandparents, had narrowly
escaped drowning. Nor did neighbours in Ruskin Avenue, Airedale, realise
that 16 year old Ronald Crowther, the son of Mr Tom Crowther, who lived
in one of the 'pre-fabs' in the Drive, had made a daring rescue.
was into the Square on an errand by his grandmother, Mrs W. Brown, at
about 8 o'clock on Wednesday night, and 20 minutes later was carried
home "half drowned". It is believed he fell in the River Aire from the
mooring wharfe behind the Golden Lion Hotel, and that the current swept
him towards the lock. Crowther was riding through The Square on his
bicycle and saw the boy struggling in the water, and immediately went to
A representative of 'The
Express' yesterday found Ivor on the way to recovery, and sucking an
iced lolly. All he could be persuaded to say was ''I just fell in. I am
going to learn to swim".
Crowther was at work as usual; he started
at 5.15a.m. underground, at the Prince of Wales Colliery, Pontefract. Mr
Herbert Bowers, however, of Hawthorne View, Chapel Allerton, a garage
proprietor at Ferrybridge, saw the incident:
''Crowther jumped off his
cycle,'' he said ''left it in the road, and ran to the river bank.
Kicking off his shoes, he dived fully clothed into the water and swam
out to the struggling boy. who appeared to have fallen off the mooring
wharfe. When he reached him...'', Mr Bowers recalled, ''...he grabbed him
round the neck and turned him over on his back. Then holding the boy,
he started taking off his clothing. With his one free arm he got off his
coat, trousers and shirt, and left them in the water. Then he started to swim to
the bank. I was waiting for him there with Mr Joe Colombine, who threw
out a lifebelt, and I dropped a rope into the water. The rescued boy
grabbed the rope, and we pulled him up a ten foot wall to safety. Crowther refused help to
get out of the water. By this time a crowd had collected, and I think he
was bashful because he was only wearing trunks. He swam up the river,
and got out on the bank. Then he climbed through a kitchen window into
the Golden Lion Hotel, had a bath there, and was given some food. I
found clothing for him, and half an hour later he rode off home. It was
a very plucky rescue,'' Mr Colombine lives at
Sowgate Lane, Ferrybridge.
Crowther arrived home with £1 in his pocket,
given to him by Mr and Mrs Brown, and he intends to use it to buy
clothes, for his father has been out of work for 18 months, and there
is a little over £8 to keep a family of five. His mother said, ''I'm glad
he was passing, or the little boy might have been drowned. Ronald had
been out for a ride on his bicycle, he had no idea he would be a hero
before he returned".
7th July 1950
GIFT TO HERO OF RIVER
Ronald Crowther, the 16 year-old Airedale youth who rescued a boy from the
River Aire at Ferrybridge last week, received a cheque for £10 for his
bravery, at the Prince of Wales Colliery, Pontefract, on Tuesday. He is
the son of Mr and Mrs T. Crowther, of Ruskin Drive, Airedale, and an
underground worker at the colliery.
Making the presentation on
behalf of the Sports and Entertainment Committee of the colliery, of
which he is President, Mr C. Hudson. J.P. produced a report from last
week's issue of the 'Express' which described how Crowther had dived into
the river to rescue 7-year-old Ivor Brown, of Lilygarth, Ferrybridge. Mr
Hudson told Crowther, who sat shyly throughout the presentation, that
he had won the admiration of every man at the colliery, and that the
Committee had agreed unanimously to make a gift of £10. Also present
were the Agent [Mr P.Davis] and the manager [Mr C.Appleby], who offered
their congratulations. Mr Davis said that a youth who displayed such
promptitude as Crowther, appeared likely to ''get on'' in the pit, and
''We are always looking for young men who can make their own
decisions. In this case, Ronald did not wait for a lead to be given - he
took action". Mr Appleby endorsed those remarks.
In reply, Crowther thanked
the Committee for its gift, and related again, the story of his
adventure. He was away from work on the morning of the presentation because
of an X-ray examination which, his father said, revealed a strained
stomach muscle. Ronald added, however, "I'm going back to work
2nd June 1950
AN EYE FOR AN EYE
Beware of the vernacular and
strange fishermen. That's my advice to anyone who likes to potter around
in the flat lands east of Knottingley, I used to like pottering around
that way myself - Birkin; Norman Church; 1066 and all that. But never
since the affair of the odd angler have been able to look Birkin in the
eye - or to be precise, in Old Eye.
The Old Eye was at the
bottom of that business, right to the bottom. The layers of 20 years at
settled above it. Probably before, but certainly round about that length
of time ago, Knottingley lads had a favourite expedition, known as
"Going over the Marsh". The interesting parts of it consisted of trailing
one's hands in the water while crossing the River Aire in a dinghy, and
dabbling for minnows at the other side.
It was while thus employed
that wiseacres of ten or eleven years old would tell entrancing tales of
how somewhere, away to the east, some other beck came wide and
mysterious, in a place full of big fish, They called this place Birkin
O' Dee, I never saw it then, but it figured in my youthful imaginings;
and it was unfortunate, to say the least, that someone with a case
history like this should meet the angler. He was one of those types one
can meet in the flat lands cycling about, festooned with rods and nets,
and exuding local colour, I was peddling around with no objective in
view - until the colour of it caught my eye,
So then we exchanged the
time, He was going to Ulleskelf perhaps? No, not Ulleskelf, Naburn
then? No, not Naburn. He did not say where he was going. It was only
after two miles and 20 questions that I discovered that he was going to Birkin O'Dee. My heart gave a jump. The boyhood memories flooded back
and I persisted with my interrogation. After more miles and many
monosyllables, I was able to make a startling deduction -i.e. that the
mysterious O'Dee of yester-year was none other than the 'owd ee' of the
vernacular; and that both approximated to the Old Eye as described in
the Ordnance Survey.
So far as I am concerned,
you can pronounce it how you like. I have my own opinion, however, it
is shattering to be persuaded that one has been deceived by one's own
dialect for 20 years. The shock of it must have impaired my judgement
because in next to no time I was accepting a monosyllabic invitation to
accompany the Angler, and promising to observe strict silence.
So eventually we arrived at
an interesting collection of water within sight of Birkin Church. This
was not the Old Eye but the Bull Tongues - though I gathered it was the
same thing, more or less. The first half-hour passed in tense expectancy while on the mint-scented waters I regarded a red and white
quill. Every time a shrew squeaked or a willow-wren twittered, I looked
sharply at the Angler, but his face was as immobile as the red and white
quill; and that was depressingly still. Flies buzzed and dragon-flies
hovered. The summer sun beat down with some force, and the half-hour
went by without any noticeable change in the situation. Another
half-hour saw the edge of my curiosity somewhat blunted.
I had reached the stage of
counting crows when there was a sudden whirl of movement from the Angler
a ''plop'' a splash - as the quill and its appendages were plucked from
the water. His tense frame expressed a crisis as the tackle came
floating in. Then he relaxed, restored the whole contraption to its
original position, and went on staring at the quill, without saying a
word. I was so excited that I nearly asked him what it all meant.
To take my mind off it I
resolutely counted up all the water spiders and extracted the square
root. This occupied another half-hour. I was just starting on the
dragon-flies when he stirred. He leaned slowly towards me, cleared his
throat with infinite caution, and said in a hoarse whisper; "I saw
it... it was a jack,... nearly had my bait".
I got the impression that
the loss would have been irreparable. Silence fell again, but the
communication had disturbed me and my feeling of malaise were
considerably increased when, after what seemed suspiciously like another
half-hour, he repeated it word for word. Then the end of the next
half-hour approached, and I began to look covertly at my watch, I felt
distinctly shaky. The tension was acute. Twenty nine minutes had
elapsed when his body began to cant sideways. He gave his apology for a
cough and I knew exactly what was going to happen. From then on it was sheer
torture. The flies buzzed louder than ever, the odour of the water mint
ebbed and flowed, the sun laid a heavy hand on all green things,
including me, and the quill never moved an inch. After another
twenty-five minutes my legs began to shake. When the watch showed
twenty-eight minutes past, I could fell loads of sweat standing out on
my forehead, as big as tapioca, It was exactly one minute and thirteen
seconds later that I heard him cough, and something snapped in my head.
I lurched wildly to my feet,
demoralising a couple of water hens. "That's right", I babbled, "you
saw it; but it saw you, its probably got an owd ee." What he said to
that I shall never know, because the dream seems to have ended there.
But there was something else I did not dream. One day I was passing
through Birkin just incidentally. Out of sheer curiosity, I stopped and
looked across to the Old Eye. Two figures were silhouetted on the bank and one was canting confidently towards the other. A breath of minty
evening air came to me across the darkening meadow, and the sound of a
dry cough.... I reached for my bicycle and pedalled rapidly out of the
2nd June 1950
A Sunday School Outing
highly enjoyed by a party of 70 parents and scholars, was that of Christ
Church, Knottingley, to Moss, near Askern, on Monday. Sports, for which
prizes were given, were held in a field lent by Mr L.P. Luke, and tea was
served in the Moss Children's Institute. The arrangements were made by Mr F. Fozzard, Miss H. Lawson, Mrs J.I. Nunns, and Miss A. Newlove.
Cine Shots of Malham and
the source of the River Aire were taken on Sunday on another outing from
Knottingley to the Dales; that of the Crystal Glass Works engineering
department. The party travelled by bus and visited the falls at Aysgarth
and Ingleton, where they had luncheon and spent some time in the
afternoon. When they went on to Malham, many of the party had their
first glimpse of the source of the River Aire. The arrangements were
made by Messrs Howdle and Whitwell.
Loyal Greetings to Queen
Mary on her 83rd birthday on Friday were sent by telegram from the Knottingley Branch of the Women's Conservative and Unionist
Association, who have received a reply from the Queens private
secretary. At a social gathering of the Association yesterday week, Mr Golland,
of Cridling Stubbs, was the speaker, Miss L. Hunter presided and
thanks to Mr Golland were voiced by Mrs J.I. Nunns, Afterwards games were
played and refreshments served by members of the committee.
A ROUND TRIP
A round trip of the
Yorkshire Dales, occupying a full day, made an interesting outing for
members of the Ropewalk Methodist Church Choir, Knottingley, on Monday.
Travelling by bus, they had breakfast at Bolton Abbey, continued along
upper Wharfedale, through Grassington and Kettlewell and Buckden, and over to
Hawes in Wensleydale for luncheon. In the afternoon they continued
through Aysgarth and Richmond to Ripon where members inspected the Abbey
ruins and had an exhilarating walk to the surprise view there. There was a little rain
during the day but not enough to interfere and the trip was greatly
30th June 1950
EXPRESS REPORTER 'SOTTO VOCCE'
WHERE THEY PAINT THE PAVEMENT - BRIGHT IDEA AT KNOTTINGLEY
Knottingley last week - end-painted its pavements - and then ceremoniously
result. The idea was born in the deliberations of the Road Safety
Committee for the town, and road safety slogans were the subject of the
works of art. The artists were schoolchildren of the town; and when the
Chairman of the Road Safety Committee, Cr P. Gross, who has been a
painter all his life, unveiled five flagstones so treated on Friday, he
gave high praise to the skill and talent of the children.
On the same evening the Road
Safety Queen of Knottingley was chosen, and a graceful action preceded
the final choice which was made by Lord and Lady Calverley, and fell
upon 16-year-old Margaret Rose Finney, of Aire Street. The competition
for the Queen was conducted during a dance at the Town Hall. As
attendants to the Queen, Misses Doris Finney [no relation] of Middle
Lane, and Sylvia Wallace, of Aire Street, who stood next in order of
selection were appointed.
The painted flagstones are
set in the pavement near the Town Hall and the illustrations well
executed in hard wearing enamel, make an interesting show on the
roadside. The slogans are taken mostly from film titles, thus, 'No,
No, Nanette' shows a girl chasing a ball into the road; 'Destry
Rides Again' a boy cyclist turning correctly at a junction; a still life
group is entitled 'Putting safety first, There's still life'; a
glorious show of flowers is 'Worth looking both ways for', and a man
strolling in front of a lorry is 'The way to the stars'.
Cr Gross claimed that Knottingley is the first town to use the idea of painted pavements, and
he pointed out near them, one of the towns worst accidents of recent
years occurred, in which several R.A.F. men were killed. It is estimated
that the pictures will withstand the weather for several months and
ultimately others will be provided at other points,
Cr Gross, the committee, the
children and their art master, Mr Alan Billbrough, were thanked by the
Police Superintendant, C.F. Marston. of Pontefract. Councillors and
officials were among the large crowd which watched the ceremony and
Police and special constables directed traffic.
FOR THE OLD FOLK
£20, including donations, has been raised in Knottingley and Ferrybridge
for the Knottingley Old Folks Treat fund, during the past week, by the
N.A.D.S&S Club, Knottingley.
An Innovation at the
Ropewalk Methodist Church, Knottingley, is the production of a monthly
bulletin, the first issue of which appears today. They are to contain a survey of the work of the church in all its departments, an editorial by
the Minister-in Charge [the Rev J.J. Lewis], and items concerning the
churches in the surrounding villages.
IN AIR DISPLAY
Leslie Robinson, the youngest son of the late Mr H. Robinson of Low
Green, Knottingley, who is serving with the R.A.F. at Fassburg,
Germany, has written home to say that he has been chosen to take part in
the R.A.F. display at Farnborough, tomorrow. He will be a signaller with
the 3in mortar Flight. He joined the R.A.F. in June last year, and was
previously an apprentice fitter at Greggs Glassworks.
annual prize distribution of the Congregational Sunday School, Knottingley, on Sunday, attracted a large congregation in the afternoon.
Mr D. Ingram presided, and after a programme given by the scholars and
arranged by Misses F. Gardner and G. Heald, prizes were distributed to 50
of the children. A minister's special prize for full attendance was
awarded to Doreen Simpson. On Friday a jumble sale held by the Sunday
School, raised £11 for school funds.
21st July 1950
AT ROYAL GARDEN PARTY
Among Yorkshire guests at the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace,
yesterday week, were Cr and Mrs A. Reynolds, of The Grange, Knottingley.
They saw their Majesties the King and Queen as they moved about among
their guests, and also Princess Margaret, the Duke and Duchess of
Gloucester, and the Duchess of Kent. The party listened to the bands and
had tea upon the lawns and later saw members of the Diplomatic Corps
presented to their Majesties. The visitors were able to see the salons
and the picture galleries at the Palace.
A SUMMER PARTY
A Summer party given by
the Girl Guides of the First Knottingley Company at the Vicarage, on
Friday, included the presentation of a toilet bag to Miss B. Walker,
gym mistress at the Pontefract and District Girl's High School, who
is leaving to take up another post. She received the gift from Company
Leader Mary Day and later Miss Walker presented proficiency badges won
by Mary Day, Margaret Scott, Pat Higgins, Wendy Rhodes, Jean Fozzard,
Anne Musgrave, Shirley Hannar, Shirley Rawlinson, Elaine Scott, and
Janet Woodhall. A variety of games and competitions produced their quota
of fun. Winners of a fancy dress competition were Janet Woodhall [Len
Hutton] Wendy Rhodes and Ruth Jorden [Titania and Bottom] and Kathleen
Moore, flower girl. The event was organised by the Guide Captain, Miss
8th September 1950
Young Methodists from Beal
conducted an enjoyable meeting at the Knottingley Salvation Army Hall on
Sunday. They took full charge, gave the address, the scripture readings
and said prayers.
Backhouse, Of Knottingley, a pupil at Pontefract and District
Girl's High School, has been awarded a state scholarship on the results
of the recent Higher School Certificate Examination.
OVER TO PARIS
the holiday weeks for members of the St Botolph's and Christ Church
Young People's Guild, Knottingley, has been the visits of pen friends
from France and Germany, who have also attended the Guild meetings, Some
half dozen young people from the continent have stayed with Knottingley
families and visited places of interest in the district. One of them, a
young girl student from Paris, who stayed at the home of Miss Audrey
Peel, was to return by air on Wednesday, and Miss Peel was to travel
with her for a fortnights holiday in Paris. [Are you still living
locally and can remember this occasion, please write in and tell us
A Social Evening at
Norfolk House yesterday week, was enjoyed by members of the Knottingley
branch of the Women's Conservative and Unionist Association, Games were
played and refreshments served. The M.C. was Miss L. Hunter assisted by
Mrs J.I. Nunns.
11th August 1950
traditional readiness to help the Hull Sailor's Orphan Homes was
emphasised again during the holidays, when a field day at Marsh End not
only provided some good fun for children and adults but realised £70 for
the Homes. The opening ceremony was performed by Mrs A. Theaker, of
Pontefract, Cr P. Gross presided, and the event was organised by Mrs
E. Kellett and Mr W. Wray. Races were won by Terry Davis; Tony Norfolk;
Jean Ellerington; Alice Forsyth; Barbara Armitage; Maureen Emmerson;
Marlene Pickard; Brenda Gillian; Jack Wood; Keith Schofield; and Brian
Wiltshire; Fancy dress competitions by Jennifer Burns; Denise
Backhouse; and Tessa Stones; Skipping events by Jean Edwards; Mary Pickersgill; Maureen Stones; Violet Lamb; and Cynthia Payne.
11th August 1950
Word has been received this week from many parts
of Lincolnshire of the arrival there of balloons released from Knottingley during the Road Safety field day, reported in the "Express"
last week, In view of the distances covered, The Road Safety Committee
is to keep the competition open for a month to allow more to be traced.
Prizes in kind are offered for those who retrieve balloons. In the field
day already reported, the Chairman of the K.U.D.C., Cr W. Burdin,J.P.,
took over the ceremony of crowning the Road Safety Queen.
OFF THE BLOCK
About a dozen years ago a landmark disappeared
from beside the 'Jubilee' footpath when a mulberry tree
behind the N.A.D.S&S. Club - one of perhaps two in the district - was
chopped down. And that, thought most people who knew about it, was the
end of the Mulberry. Then an elder tree began to sprout from the old
stump a seed probably having lodged in a crevice full of soil. It took
root and hid the stump completely. Meanwhile, hidden by the elder
foliage, the mulberry stump has come to life again and strong shoots
which it has sent out are now fruiting.
6th October 1950
NEW SOCCER CLUB
A new soccer club in the Castleford Under
Eighteen Association Football League was the recently formed Knottingley
Albion, of which Mr F. Slater is chairman and Eric Slater and Jeffrey
Briggs, captain and vice chairman respectively. The team have played
three matches, lost two and won one.
CHAIN OF PRAYER
Friday, Michaelmas Day, was observed by members
of Toc H throughout the country as a national day of prayer. At Knottingley, members of the local branch maintained a chain of prayer
from 7.30 in the morning to 12.30 pm in the afternoon, each member
setting aside an allotted quarter of an hour during their period.
Pontefract members joined in a concluding evening service conducted by
Mrs D. Ingham.
6th October 1950
Now on show at the N.A.D.S.&S Club, Knottingley,
an interesting scene comprising old limestone houses, with red-tiled
roofs and a path leading from them to a gateway, has aroused much
controversy among the viewers. Many people think they know where it is;
others are not to sure. It is strong in local colour and atmosphere and
has been given by the Knottingley artist, Mr Robert Jackson, to raise
funds for the Knottingley and Ferrybridge Old People's Entertainments
Committee. The only clue at the moment is that the scene is within a
radius of two miles of Knottingley but the Committee will shortly
announce the answer.
20th October 1950
Mrs. F. Gross. was the winner of the Knottingley
Road Safety Committee's balloon race, with a distance of 62 miles. Her ballooon
was returned from Carleton, near Louth, Lincolnshire. The
runner up also came from Lincolnshire - Moortown, near Caister, a
distance of 42 miles and secured the second prize for Miss Lewis.
The Royal Visit To the works of Bagley & Co. in 1938, and a Knottingley carnival procession of 1935,
were recalled by films shown to members and friends of Bagley's
Recreation Club, and members of the retired worker's club on Monday. The
films were shown by Mr C. Drinkwater. Mr H. Pickard, who presided, gave a
brief outline of cine photography and projection, which had been his
A BULLET TORN BOOK
A piece of coral and pictures of a
converted voodoo priest burning his stock in trade, are to be seen in a missionary
exhibition dealing with culture, history and evangelical progress of the
West Indies held this week by the Rev Lewis, of Knottingley. With several years service in the West Indies, he is fully
qualified to make the exhibition and the accompanying lantern lecture
highly interesting. He started a tour of the district with a visit to
the Newgate Methodist Mission, Pontefract, on Saturday; was at Norton on
Tuesday; and on Wednesday the exhibition was at Cridling Stubbs and the
lecture given at Ferrybridge.
Four Concerts for good causes in the course of a week is the
record of the "K" Sisters, [ Misses Marjorie and Pamela Kellett] and
their troupe, who have raised large sums for charity over a number of
years. Yesterday week they gave a variety show before a large audience
at the N.A.D.S.& S. Club, Knottingley, on behalf of a fund for Mr. W.
former secretary of the Rugby League section of Bagley's Recreation
Club, who has been in hospital for many months. During the evening the sisters received powder bowls in
appreciation of their good work. The presentations were made by Mr.
22nd December 1950
SIZING THEM UP
Knottingley people have a faculty for sizing
people up, But one man has been around the place for the past twenty
years and has never yet been completely sized up. That is Mr L.P. Luke,
the headmaster of the Ropewalk Secondary School, who retires this week.
There are several reasons for the omission, but the chief one is that
you don't size up people like L.P. Luke - they size you up. Not wittingly, but as part of a gift they are endowed with which makes some
of them teachers - though sometimes they might have liked to have been
something else. And then for another person there is the difficulty of
fitting all the pieces together, Any number of people who have known L.P. Luke in the past twenty years probably would not have imagined him
as anything other than a teacher. Everything points to a generous and
But this 60-year old educationalist - using the word in its
fullest sense - who faces you squarely, and whose quiet exterior mounts a
penetrating eye, does not always look the part. At times he looks as if
he might be a naturalist; or perhaps an author; or maybe a journalist;
or again a showman. And he might have been any one of them, for he has
tried his hand at each and it has not been a bad hand.
Take the showbusiness as an example. It is fifteen years or so
since he first showed that hand in Knottingley, and Knottingley
immediately sat up and took notice. It laughed at itself in "The
Ropewalk Review", a variety show composed entirely by schoolchildren
and produced by Mr Luke. People had not seen children perform quite like
that before. The hand had all the aces.
And so the first sizing up began. They said that L.P. Luke should
have been an impresario. I asked him about it. He smiled, and said, "A
lot of people have put a lot into this show". In later years I asked him
about his interest in wildlife. He is well known to fanciers and
breeders of showbirds, and the books and articles he has written on
those and other subjects, but I only asked has a matter of course. I was
becoming used to the smile and lack of information which came from Mr L.P. Luke about Mr L.P. Luke. It was the same again when I asked him for
biographical details for the present occasion. I haven't had them; and Knottingley people and the teaching profession must essay their sizing
up without them. It won't measure up with any exactitude, but some idea
may take shape of the man who has guided many Knottingley children
towards a knowledge of their own capabilities, And it is surprising
what those capabilities can be. The grace and line of fine pottery
ware-mentioned in another column - made by children of the school, shows
one facet. The respect in which dozens of former boys hold their former
"gaffer" shows another.
But Mr Luke is a firm believer in free expression, and he will
tell you that the pupils have "done it all themselves" Yet who
introduced ''potting '' to the school? Who arranged exhibitions of fine
art which stimulated the minds of young people and developed their
tastes could be coaxed to the realisation of natural bent? Don't ask Mr
Luke, I have tried it, and the answer is a turn of the conversation.
That is why half the things he has done have not found their way into
any sizing up. Nevertheless in the past twenty years Knottingley has had
a man of ideas at work in its midst. Those ideas have borne their
fruits, after Knottingley says "Goodbye, Mr Chips"
Now the "gaffer" of the Ropewalk School takes his leave as quietly
as he took his welcome, but strict injunctions about "fuss" could not
prevent the expressions that have come from the school and the staff,
fro parents and councillors, and from others throughout the town. They
are all sorry to see him go and if it is goodbye to "Mr Chips" it may
be hello to Mr author or Mr Naturalist; or even, down on his holding in
the country at Moss, Mr Farmer. Whatever activities occupy his
retirement, it will be interesting and he will be enjoying it. The
facility is a secret, perhaps he learned it as a young boy, when he helped
turn out a newspaper, worked late at night, and walked home through the
early hours of the morning, but he learned it.
15th December 1950
"Frantic efforts are being made to realise peace and
avert war" writes the Rev J.J. Lewis in the Ropewalk Methodist Church
magazine, "but we have no guarantee. The only hope is in the Christ of
whom we preach."
An autographed football bearing the signatures of the England
Rugby League team that recently met a team of other nationalities, in
Wales, and also those of the present Wigan team, is awaiting some Knottingley enthusiasts, prominent among whom is Mr G. Jackson, of Gander
Haven Farm, who are taking part in a movement to help Billy Batten, the
former Rugby League star.
A Christmas Cantata, "The New Born King", was given by the choir
at the Knottingley Congregational Church, on Sunday. Solos
and duets were sung by Miss G. Heald, Mrs Stratford, Mrs Coward, Mrs
Ramsey and Miss Sheard, and the organist was Mrs E. Arnold. Mr T. Etherington gave a seasonable address.
Years in Focus is researched by
Maurice Haigh and reproduced
with the permission of the Pontefract & Castleford Express.