Chairman Roger Bancroft opened proceedings by welcoming prospective new member Richard Wright. Three apologies for absence had been offered, one being Ken Burcher who had been in hospital having suffered a heart attack but hopefully would be discharged back home today. The Forum and its members sent him our best wishes for a full and speedy recovery and hope to see him back soon.
Programme Secretary John Taylor took the floor for a few minutes to update members with the current position regarding Honorary Life Member Reg Jackson who together with his wife is now in residence in Borrage House Ripon . The news was encouraging and Reg would welcome visits from those who know him. John also gave notice regarding the Local and Family History Day on Saturday 15th March at the Pavilions of Harrogate with over 30 stalls, a cafe and free parking, the chance to see our own Programme Secretary working there on the day and admission at only £2.
Today’s Speaker was Mr Jim Monte whose enthusiastic topic was “Lead Mining in the Dales”. His own interest in the subject had begun during courtship of his wife who had relations in the Industry in the Reeth area. It was quite poignant that in the early Lead mines circa 1700’s workers were fortunate to live to an age of 45. His interest was further piqued by meeting Saltaire born Arthur Raistrick author of “Two Centuries of Industrial Welfare” and spending over three hours in conversation with him about lead mining. Another visit to Fred Longthorne of Pateley Bridge a fifth generation lead miner added further stimulation to his interest in the subject matter. Forum attendees were then given an interesting and informative potted history of lead mining starting with the key locations in the country particularly Yorkshire; Durham (most active); Cumbria; Peak District and the Mendip Hills in Somerset. The most important locations in Yorkshire were at Alston Moor; Swaledale and Grassington Moor. Lead Mining can be traced back to the Bronze and Iron Ages, was an important industry in the Roman Empire and in Medieval times Monasteries were big users of lead in the construction of Abbey’s both at home and abroad. The 18th century saw its real development with better production methods (pumping and ventilation)and gunpowder was a vital catalyst in its progress. The Speaker discussed the best geological match for lead mining namely carboniferous layers of rock with mainly vertical veins and he touched on what he called some of the Great Prospectors of the past such as the London (Quaker) Lead Company who built Nenthead village in 1825 and were particularly solicitous to their workers and then landowners such as the Duke of Devonshire. The decline of the Industry started around 1870 and the talk was well illustrated with a mix of recent and some older photographs to illustrate the points made. Comments and questions asked showed a keen appreciation for the talk from the audience.
The Vote of Thanks was given by Keith Wadd on behalf of the 33 attendees.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY
The meeting was started promptly by Chairman Roger Bancroft who announced six apologies for absence. The Chairman advised members that another 90th birthday was in the offing for namely Ken Roberts who received the best wishes from those assembled and who responded in a most courteous and pleasant manner.
The Forum was pleased to receive as today’s speaker Mr Wallace Sampson Chief Executive of Harrogate District Borough Council who offered to share some of his views on the challenging times faced by the Council but also the opportunities that were also available.The last five years since the financial recession took hold, and coincidentally at about the same time he took the reins of office as Chief Executive, had been tough for this District but not unique and a situation faced by all councils in the country. The big issue faced was the Public Sector Deficit and the ongoing austerity programme put in place by the Coalition Government. For Harrogate District Council this had seen an expenditure reduction of £4 million in the last four years and a further £1 million to be found over the next year. Whist a major challenge it had also offered the opportunities to focus savings on back office and administrative functions whilst minimizing the impact on front line services and he took rightly great pride in the fact that they had achieved the requisite savings in this way and with a reduction in the Council workforce of 15% (200) over the four years but with minimal redundancies. Progress had continued to be made by the Council notably in Waste Disposal both in terms of reduced costs but an ever improving recycling result..now up to 42%. Further savings were anticipated from the expected rationalization of Council office accommodation which is currently spread over five sites. Plans were currently being developed for submission to Central Government regarding the District’s Housing plan which were proving controversial but he stressed the need for this plan and also the importance of looking to the period beyond and what would be required. A master plan for Harrogate Town Centre was in place and shared initiatives with Metro (West Yorkshire), the local M.P. and Chamber of Commerce for rail electrification between Leeds, Harrogate and York were important but the biggest and most imminent opportunity was going to be the Tour De France in July and Harrogate’s involvment in the first two stages with a massive amount of interest which will bring possibly hundreds of thousands of visitors and around 22,000 journalists to report on the event. The impact for potential future visitors and income could be immense. On a more sober note Mr Sampson anticipated another five or six years of austerity measures which would continue to pose challenges to the Council. Some lively questions were thrown to the speaker at the end which he answered in an open and frank way much in the spirit of his overall talk.
The Vote of Thanks was given by Richard Brooks and there were 22 attendees.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY
The meeting was opened by Chairman Roger Bancroft who reported six apologies had been received. Nine/ten members had attended Honorary Life Member George Mountford’s Thanksgiving service in Harrogate yesterday.
Today’s speaker was the Forum’s Secretary Neil Ramshaw whose topic “The Rise and Fall of a Very British Institution” related to the Building Society Movement. The speech covered the history of the organization in the United Kingdom from its inception in the late 18th and 19th centuries with its genesis in the days of the Industrial Revolution and initially very much modelled on established Friendly Societies. Its growth particularly in the industrial heartlands of West Yorkshire was commented upon and its steady and low key progress through the 20th century and two World Wars to the leading world position of its type up to 1986 was covered. The impact of legislation and noticeably the 1986 Building Societies Act was looked at and it was noted how quickly the Movement has declined since that time where today it is a small remaining rump dominated by the Nationwide. Some problems and scandals were examined from over the years and some pen notes of key individuals covered where they had a significant impact in their time. The overall conclusion was what had been a tremendous British success story of over 150 years had sadly been lost in a very short period following the 1986 Act with evolution having been replaced by revolution and its adverse consequences.
The Vote of Thanks was given by Mr Michael Cochrane on behalf of the 27 attendees.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY
Chairman Roger Bancroft opened the meeting and announced eight apologies. A visitor Roger Howell was welcomed to the meeting. The Chairman confirmed the sad news of Honorary Life Member George Mountford’s death at the weekend following a stroke and John Taylor took the floor to pay tribute to him and in particular the good works and offices he had performed and held in his fourteen years as a Forum member. A thanksgiving service will be held at St. Peter’s Church in Harrogate town centre at 12.15 p.m. on Monday 10th February.
Mention was made of the Harrogate Theatre tour last Thursday morning which was enjoyed by a small but select audience of seventeen members and guests.
Today saw a returning speaker Mr Alun Pugh whose topic was “Saltaire” the Victorian model village created in 1851 by Sir Titus Salt a Victorian businessman, politician and philanthropist. Titus Salt born in 1803 and brought up in Morley was the eldest of six children whose parents had very different dispositions and outlooks which were both influential on his development. Apprenticed in the wool trade he became his father’s partner in the family firm taking over and eventually making his substantial fortune in said trade. Married to wife Caroline at Guiseley church and not unusually for those times had a large family of eleven children. In those days the living conditions of the general population were poor and there was a low life expectancy and at the age of forty six Titus Salt decided to build his model community which showed concern for his workers both in welfare terms and in the facilities he made available for them—the living conditions he created were far superior to those normally experienced at that time. Saltaire therefore came into being and is now a recognized World Heritage site. The accompanying slides to the talk showed Sataire’s original architectural splendour both in business sites, housing and the leisure amenities provided displaying the proprietor’s far sightedness and a large degree of compassion for his employees. Sir Titus Salt died in 1876 at the age of seventy three and the family eventually sold out their interests in Saltaire at the end of the 19th century. Salt Mills was closed in 1986 but purchased in 1987 by Jonathan Silver and developed to its present status.
The highly interesting and entertaining talk was much enjoyed by the audience of 32 and the Vote of Thanks was proposed by David Essam.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY
It is with regret that I have to tell you of the death of George Mountford following a stroke he suffered a few days ago.
George was a Honorary Life Member, former Chairman and Secretary of the Forum and his passing will sadden the membership and his many friends.
John Taylor will address the Forum on Tuesday with regard to George and hopes to have details of the funeral arrangements at that time.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY