Secretary’s Report

Chairman Roger Bancroft started the meeting with two apologies being given. He then introduced Rachel from ” Wall to Wall” , a T.V. company, who gave a brief overview of a new B.B.C. series which would involve bringing people back together who had shared good/bad experiences in the past and give them an opportunity to meet up and thank or make apologies respectively. Details were left for any member (family or friends) to make contact if interested in taking part.

A final reminder for the Harrogate World War One enquiry day on Wednesday November 6th at the Library 10–12 noon and a further reminder for Christmas lunch menus and payments to John Taylor with over 40 having been returned so far.

A Forum member and regular speaker His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson took centre stage with his subject being mysteriously ” More of the Same” . This proved to be an entertaining and intriguing hour looking at initially “Hull, Hell and Halifax” and the rather gory subject of public execution—hanging in Hull and beheading on the  Halifax Gibbet using a precursor to the French Guillotine!!

His Honour then talked through in detail three past murder cases—two unsolved and one resolved. The first case was from 1957 and recalled an Emily Pye who was found dead in her home/shop in Gibbet street Halifax. Despite extensive investigation there was no outcome forthcoming in this case. The other two cases were from the murder capital of North Yorkshire namely Fewston!! The first in 1938 related to Mrs Margaret Peel again found dead in her home/shop—suspicion fell on her husband Jesse Peel who was arrested and tried at Leeds but given the flimsy and barely circumstantial evidence was rightly found “Not Guilty”. The second case in 1953 involved Edward Watson a car dealer who was subsequently found to have been shot by a fellow car dealer Robert William Moore due to differences over a   business deal that went wrong and Mr Moore was found guilty at trial and paid the ultimate price.

The morning concluded with the recounting of two hoaxes– one involving art fakes in 1937 by HanVan Meegeren (Vermeer and other Old Masters) in Holland with the forgeries coming to light after the Second World War in 1945 and finally from 1983 the notorious Hitler diaries which were again proved false but not before damaging some stellar expert reputations including Hugh Trevor Roper and the Sunday Times who had serialized some of them.

The Vote of Thanks was given by Peter Staples and 38 members were in attendance.


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