The History of New Park Part 2

Terry gave a quick summary of his previous talk from the 24th October 2017: ” New Park’s origins began in 1500’s Harrogate with the discovery of spa spring wells—Tewit Well being the first discovered. Subsequent wells were found which led to the formation of the two villages in High Harrogate and Low Harrogate and the advent of tourism. The first three streets built in New Park were Park Row, Park Street and Prospect Terrace. The growing community needed a school and New Park School opened in 1897 75 children ranging from 5 years to 14 years attended. As the community continued to increase the school was extended in 1910/11.

In 1907 the Gas Company installed a narrow gauge railway. They had observed the one operating in Masham, which was built to reduce road wear and tear and would be cheaper to run.”

In the 1840’s the Harrogate Improvement Committee decided to have a Gas Company established at Rattle Crag linking the two villages. In July 4th 1845 the birth of the area of New Park with its growth from the Little Wonder Coaching Inn and Knox stimulated by said Gas Company. We saw how the Little Wonder Inn was, over the years, extended in three stages. Terry advised that the boundaries of New Park were essentially Yewdale Avenue (West), Eastville Terrace (North), Knox Avenue (East) and Jennyfield Drive (South). With the establishment of the gas works coal was brought by steam traction locomotives from Starbeck. The community which developed in this area was both hard working and with a sense of social togetherness. In 1882 the Electric Works were built on the site which is now a gym (formerly the Academy)”

He gave the history of the small ‘saddle engines’ used by the gas company. The most famous being ‘Barber’ plus two other engines being ‘ Drewry’ and ‘Becket’. Terry spoke of the strong community spirit in the New Park area.

Local shops opened, e.g. Lupton & Son, the Post Office and a laundry setting high standards for the area.

Terry was thanked for his second History of New Park Part 2 which was echoed by all the members.

Prior to the talk the Treasurer presented the audited accounts for the year ending 30th June 2018.


The meeting was opened at 1030 a.m. with four apologies having being offered. Last week’s guest Godfrey Alderson had now joined as a member and was most welcome.

John took a little time to reflect on his twelve years as Programme Secretary recalling Ray Coggan, George Mountford and Brian Blakey and named the current Members who were in the Forum all those years ago. John wished he had used Dr. Brian Blakey as a Speaker given his experience and high educational qualifications.

John started his main talk by highlighting that John Taylor was a popular name second only to John Smith but this would decline over time as John is not now a popular Christian name.

We were told about the 17th century Thames Waterman and sometime poet John Taylor; his namesake from more recent times (1970’s) the Ulster Unionist politician; a couple of Ecclesiastical John Taylor’s ; the bass guitarist from Duran Duran and the salutary tale of Lord Taylor of Warwick who flew high but then disgraced himself in the Common’s Expenses scandal. John recalled the Welsh Rugby Union International John Taylor and the electric kettle developer of the same name before moving on to the famous Independent politician Sir John Anderson , a significant figure in the 1930’s to the 1950’s, before finishing on King John . His two Fred’ s investigated the Royal roles of Frederick William 1st and his son Fredrick the Great of Prussia which concluded the morning’s interesting and amusing pen pictures. Questions and comments were invited from the audience.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of the thirty-six attendees was given by Mike South.


Chain of Survival

A number of members attended the training session, last Tuesday evening, concerning the new defibrillator.

The Chain of Survival concerns the following:

Early Access – Early CPR – Early Defibrillation – Early Advanced Care.

The St John Ambulance produce a very good First Aid application for your mobile phone. Do have a look at this a pplication! A good one to read and put on your phone.


Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the meeting at 1030 a.m. by welcoming visitor Godfrey Alderson and advising of one apology.

Under Initial Notices  members were advised of Brian Blakey’s Memorial Service at the Wesley Chapel on Monday February 12th at 12 noon.

A reminder to those attending members was the Defibrillator Training at the Church, using the main entrance, tonight (February 5th) at 730 p.m.

Today’s speaker was Mr Malcolm Johnson whose subject was ” Famous For 12 Minutes”. His talk would be about a Reality T.V. experience he personally took part in, his “Andy Warhol 15 Minutes of Fame”. With reality T.V. all over the T.V. schedules this particular programme would be titled “The Undriveables”  and would focus on Malcolm’s belated attempts to learn to drive and pass his test at the age of 65. He had given up in his attempts to learn to drive twenty-two years previously having had many lessons and a number of Instructors. The audience was taken through the whole process starting on May 30th 2014 when he learnt about the programme and expressed his  interest, to the actual televising of the show on September 15th the same year. This included a Skype Interview; Observed and Filmed driving; completing a Theory Test and signing his Contract for the show.

Filming started in the July of 2014 , first at his house and around Horsforth, moving to Liverpool and Southport for a week’s intensive tuition and  concluding on the 21st July with an actual Driving Test.

Confidentiality had to then be maintained until the programme was televised and out of the twelve people in the show Malcolm was the only one to pass the test to the joy of his instructor and family.The professionalism and work ethic/application of the Production Team was highlighted but also the hours of filming that took place of which only a small fraction made the screen.

Malcolm’s talk was entertaining and well presented supported by some amusing video clips from the programme. Given the questions asked at the end members had obviously enjoyed the morning’s proceedings.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of the thirty-eight attendees was given by John Corby.




The meeting opened promptly with Chairman Michael Cochrane advising of three apologies.

John Taylor Programme Secretary advised members of the death of former member and Treasurer Dr. Brian Blakey after a long period of ill-health and paid tribute to him as a gentleman and valued Forum Member.

Neil Ramshaw General Secretary advised that Defibrillator Training had been arranged for Tuesday February 5th at The Church Hall 730 p.m. for around one hour and an invite to members had been made…there were three takers from the meeting and two others subsequently.

Today’s Speaker was Mr Tony Burkitt who had visited the Forum previously with three varied talks. This morning’s topic was “The English Lakes” and of strong personal nterest to him as a keen walker and naturalist.

The talk was well supported by an excellent slide show of photographs and artists pictures of the area. Members were advised that there is only one Lake in the District namely Bassenthwaite Lake with the rest being meres, tarns or waters. The audience then benefited from a scenic tour of the area which included taking in mountains, fells, walkways and waterfalls.  Starting at Langdale Pikes other locations passed included Scafell Pike, Scafell one mile further on, Furness Fells, Hardknott, Helvellyn, the Patterdale Valley as well as numerous others. Alfred Wainwright, Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth were given a mention and the artist William Heaton Cooper and his father’s pictures were shown.

Some of the history of the lake District was discussed including its mining heritage of copper and slate and the influx of tourists particularly from late Victorian times was covered. Various hostelries and Youth Hostels were shown and the varying difficulty in the walking, scrambling and climbing routes were highlighted.

Questions and comments were made at the conclusion of the morning’s event and the Vote of Thanks on behalf of the thirty-eight attendees was given by Keith Wadd.










It is with regret that the death of Dr. Brian Blakey has been advised.

A retired metallurgist in the steel industry in Scunthorpe Brian moved to Harrogate on retirement, joined the Forum and was Treasurer for 10 years and helped in the kitchen each week until ill-health prevented him from attending.

The Funeral and Memorial Service for Brian will be at the Wesley Chapel on Monday 11th February at 12 noon.


Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the meeting advising of three apologies having been received.

Today saw the return of Mr Roger Oldfield , a former Programme Secretary of Harrogate Men’s Forum, who had spoken to us a number of times previously and whose topic today was “The Yorkshire Residency Test”.

Roger started by indicating an alternative title for his talk which would be “An Alternative Yorkshire History”. He checked the composition of his audience which was primarily Yorkshire born with a smattering of Lancastrians and a solitary Scotsman!!

The audience was then reminded of the geographical size of Yorkshire with more acres in the county than words in the Bible; larger than twenty-six countries and West Yorkshire is bigger than any other counties. The number of sporting personalities was touched upon e.g. Freddie Trueman; Brian Clough etc and the fact that at the 2012 London Olympics Yorkshire would have been 12th in the Medal Table. Sheffield F.C has the distinction of being the oldest registered football club in the world; Yorkshire C.C. have been county champions more than any other (34 times) and the split in the rugby world resulted in Rugby League being formed in Huddersfield. Roger also mentioned the unique sport/pastime of ferret legging.

Industry and Science have been well represented by Yorkshire folk with nods to amongst others John Smeaton; Sir John Cockcroft and Joseph Priestley. Percy Shaw of Cats Eyes fame was acknowledged and John Harrison of Wakefield and marine chronometer fame noted.

Less salubriously in crime and infamy names such as Peter Sutcliffe, Guido Fawkes and George Hudson have a Yorkshire Heritage. More positively Yorkshire has supplied to the Arts and Music personalities such as Lesley Garrett; Kathleen Ferrier; Frederick Delius; the Arctic Monkeys and Def Leppard. Authors and actors number J.B. Priestley; the Bronte sisters; Charles Laughton, James Mason and Judi Dench. Roger advised the county encompassed seven cities and a number of other historical locations.

The morning had been thoroughly enjoyed by the audience as shown by the questions, comments and some light-hearted banter at its conclusion.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of the thirty-seven attendees was given by John Taylor who advised his mother returned to Yorkshire for his birth as otherwise he may have been of Irish heritage.




Gordon Middleton

Hi. My name is Gordon Middleton and I am Derek Simpson’s nephew. First of all I’d like to thank your members for their kind words regarding Derek’s life.
Any friends and colleagues who wish to attend his funeral are informed that on Monday 21st, 2.10pm It will be held at Skipton Crematorium then onto Carleton Social club about a mile away in Carleton village. Everybody is welcome.


The Defibrillator has now been installed. Thanks for all the donations from members and other kind sources.

At the Drop of a Hat

Frank Ellis gave an excellent talk ‘At the drop of a Hat’. His presentation included snippets of the work of Flanders & Swan who were educated at Westminster School and Oxford.

Flanders was writing nearly all of the lyrics, and Swann the writer of most of the music (and the occasional lyric). The duo wrote over a hundred songs, and between 1956 and 1967 gave hundreds of performances in the UK, Canada, and the USA.

As Michael Flanders said, the animal songs made him and his partner Donald Swann famous.

The duo’s best-known number may be “The Hippopotamus,” with its cheerful, waltzing chorus of:

Mud, mud, glorious mud! Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood. So follow me, follow Down to the hollow, And there let us wallow In glorious mud!

Most of the Forum sang along!

The vote of thanks was given by His Honour Derek Clarkson QC.