The meeting was opened at 1030 a.m. by Chairman Michael Cochrane who advised of one apology. In the audience we were pleased to see Tom Snelling’s grandson. Chairman Mike advised that John Taylor was still looking for two members to each do a ten minute talk on Member’s Morning on Tuesday April 16th.
Today saw Speaker Mr Eric Jackson make his debut at the Forum with his talk on “The Barnbow Munitions Works” or to give it it’s more sexed up title The National Shell Filling Factory Number1!! Also covered was the explosion and loss of life their in 1916. The genesis of this talk came from Eric noticing the names of Jane Few and Helena Beckett on the World War One Memorial at All Saints Church Pontefract, something unusual on War Memorials and normally a male preserve.
At the outbreak of World War One the country was not prepared for a continental war with a failure to appreciate what a modern industrial conflict would entail. Big Guns using explosive shells as opposed to infantry type shrapnel shells would be needed to combat trench warfare. Royal Ordinance Factories and British Industry had to be put on a war footing with the amount of munitions needed and to be used enormous. (1012 shells used every five minutes day and night.) 170 million shells were used in total during the conflict. The Shell crisis in 1915 with a lack of high explosive munitions limited our success in comparison to the French Forces. Asquith’s government fell and David Lloyd George took office and mobilised a massive expansion of munition producing factories. The site at Barnbow was built as a shell filling factory and in four months was established. Shell cases were transported there by rail and mainly small sized shells were filled with explosives—a technically dangerous and hazardous process. Barnbow was a huge site with its own railway station, lines and engines; its own fire brigade; dentists and nurses were on site and it had its own farm for food products particularly milk.. The work was dangerous to health with skin yellowing and anaemia endemic with prolonged exposure leading to illnesses and even death.
On December 5th 1916 in Hut 42 (fusing room) a violent explosion saw 35 women and girl workers killed and many injured. William Parkin stands out as a hero on the day helping rescue and remove injured personnel. Further explosive incidents and fatalities (low numbers) occurred in 1917 and 1918 respectively. The site closed shortly after the Armistice and Eric advised of the memorials to the deceased at the roundabout in Leeds Crossgates and also at Colton Parish Church. He concluded his talk by mentioning the similar role carried out at Thorpe Arch during World War Two.
The morning’s proceedings were well received and enthusiastic members asked a number of questions or made comments on what they had heard.
The Vote of Thanks on behalf of thirty six attendees was given by Tom Snelling.
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
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
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
Prior to the talk
the Treasurer presented the audited accounts for the year ending 30th
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.
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.