Author Archives: harlowmensforum

Funeral of Harold Dawson

It is with regret I have to advise you of the death of our former member Harold Dawson who lived for many years next door to John Taylor. Harold died in care at the age of 85. He was a member of the Forum for about 4 years and gave us a talk in 2008 about his work as a legal executive, in which he also recalled happy days cycling in the 1950s. The funeral is at St Robert’s RC Church in town at noon on Monday 8 January followed by interment at All Saint’s Harlow Hill at 1 pm and refreshments at the Shepherd’s Dog. Any member who remembers Harold is welcome to attend.

Meeting 31st March 2015


At today’s meeting John Taylor outlined possible visits to either the police station to meet the drugs support officer or to the Sikh Temple in Leeds in May and promised to investigate further as there seemed to be sufficient interest. The Chairman Michael Cochrane then introduced our speaker Gordon Whitehead from near Scarborough. Gordon spoke very knowledgeably about the fire service (now the Fire and Rescue Service) past and present . For 7 years whilst still working at the Examination Board he had been the official volunteer photographer for the North Yorkshire Fire Service which often involved driving as far as Bentham or Whitby at an early hour of the morning. He showed us some very striking pictures of major incidents such as the fire at Shipton by Beningbrough in 1986 which had led to the closure of the East Coast main line as a precaution. Gordon earned a good fee from regional television which made extensive use of his photographs. Several barn fires were attributed to arson. In 1988 he witnessed the disastrous fire at the Lowther Arcade in Harrogate which led to its closure. Surprisingly during this period Gordon saw only two fatalities. A lively question and answer session followed during which Gordon explained that fire protection was something of a lottery until the Act of 1948 which established brigades on a county basis. Now the Fire and Rescue service also does a massive amount of preventative work and rescues other than in fires but has faced political interference. The Labour government felt that the ethos was too military in style whilst today the Fire Brigade Unions are concerned about the serious impact of cuts. John Taylor gave the vote of thanks to his friend and former colleague and noted that this was the first occasion in over 1000 talks that the work of the Fire Service had been featured in our programme.

33 members were in attendance.

Talk 14th October 2014

This week’s speaker was David Alred who gave a delightful illustrated talk about the Washburn Valley Heritage. He had collected old photographs from many farmers living in the valley. David looked back over the last three centuries when there were a number of mills in Blubberhouses, Swinsty and Timble area.

His vast collection of photographs, illustrated the rich history of this part of the Dales.

Secretary’s Report

8 April
34 attended Members’ Morning. Roger welcomed Lou back from USA and told us that Roy Howard was in hospital again. Malcolm Wood spoke about his strict RSM in Berlin in the 50s. Michael Williams encouraged audience participation with his account of common sayings which come from the navy or the sea generally. The odd one out was cock up which is an accountancy term.  Keith Wadd spoke about a local institution  Harlow Hill Allotments. Michael Cochrane remembered the apple pie boys, Dunkirk evacuees helped by his parents when Michael was a small boy.  Bill Blades brought proceedings to a close in his own humorous style with memories of his first teaching post in Hunslet , South Leeds.
15 April
John Taylor thanked Roger Bancroft for his excellent chairmanship at this last lecture meeting of season 37 and outlined the arrangements for the pub lunch on 6 May (12 noon at Smith’s Arms, orders a week ahead.  Our speaker Mrs Lesley Walton spoke about the work of Save the Children Fund, particularly in Syria. The charity is helping refugees from the 3 year war in Iraq, Jordan and in Lebanon, an area the size of Yorkshire where I in 4 of the population are Syrian refugees.  Mrs Walton is an excellent robust speaker and supported her account of the refugee camps with a video and with the items needed in a basic pack to feed and keep refugees as healthy as possible. Save the Children was founded by Eglantine Jebb in 1919. She developed the idea of the Children’s Charter which only the USA of major nations refuses to sign.  A spirited q and a session followed.


JOHN TEASDALE  1923-2013
  John was a member of the Forum for 20 years after he returned to Harrogate to retire after a career in the Civil Service.  He was Chairman in the 90s, always affable with a slightly waspish sense of humour. He had a distinguished war record as a navigator in Halifax and Liberator bombers.  When the Forum visited the Air Museum at Elvington in 2005, he was allowed to sit in the cockpit of a Halifax. His last two years were spent in Hampden House and he died 9 days after his 90th birthday. The Forum was well represented at the funeral at Stonefall.

A party of 13 gathered at Ripon Workhouse Museum for a conducted tour by John Owen, our very knowledgeable guide. The building in the Dutch style dates from 1854. All classes of society feared the workhouse as any family could be hit by financial misfortune. Men and women were segregated and issued with institutional clothing, although the food was adequate but basic.  We saw the Board of Guardians’ room, the vagrants’ area where decontamination took place and the individual cells. The programme of work included stone-breaking and wood-cutting in the yard outside.
Members split up for lunch, some enjoying homemade food at Tiffins on site, others going into Spa Gardens to the cafe there on the first really warm day of the year.
At 1.30 all proceeded to St. Marygate where we were greeted by a Peeler in top hat and white breeches at the Police and Prison Museum.
The buiding was a prison in the 19th Century,then a Police Station until 1956. THe bleak prison cells now house a display of Police history and various methods of punishment.  John Taylor was put into the pillory and Mike South was about to be flogged at the whipping post but both escaped to enjoy another Forum season. One of the upstairs cells still has its ” punishment crank” with its adjustable screw to make the work easier or more difficult. This is the origin of the term “screw” for a prison warder. Thanks to John Holmes and Harry for showing us round.
I think everybody enjoyed the day although I had anticipated more support. Derek and I expect to be at Lucinda’s most Tuesdays from 11.30 during the summer and hope that others will sometimes be able to join us.

Secretary’s Report

Members’ Morning always gives the opportunity of offering a short talk to those who may not wish to speak for an hour.   Mike South set the ball rolling with a fascinating talk about the varied jobs which he had undertaken before settling on his chosen career. These included working on a sewage farm, as a mower’s mate and as a farmhand.  David Hopkinson then told us about a university expedition to Guyana of which he had been a member.  Georgetown is an unusual capital, being largely built of wood. He also described the river scenery inland, including one of the world’s finest waterfalls.  Malcolm Wood with his customary good humour then took over and introduced us to his large collection of ties of all types, colours and designs. His wife had even bought him a special Millenium tie for the year 2000 and he has a Yokshire Show tie which he wears only once a year.  Finally Grahame Devonport reminded us of the tape of Wearside Jack which distracted the investigating officer in the Ripper Case and delayed the arrest of Peter Sutcliffe.
Derek Clarkson gave the vote of thanks and suggested that so great was the expertise within the Forum that we could continue without guest speakers.  Malcolm Wood outlined a possible boat trip on the Leeds-Liverpool canal for our visit in May. This suggestion will be added to others made at the previous meeting and a final decision will be made on 9 April.

Secretary’s Report

Roger Bancroft deputised as Chairman for Bill Blades who was attending the 1000th meeting of Bilton Men’s Forum.  He announced with regret that Forum member Jim Bromhead had died after a period of serious illness.  Our speaker was Terry Frazier, also deputising for John Bevers who had cancelled because of a severe throat infection.  Terry has been a volunteer lecturer for the National Trust for 38 years and he gave us an excellent talk with slides about the Trust in the Lakes and the North-East.
The late wintry weather had reduced our average attendance of 33 to 26 but Terry immediately cheered us up by transporting us to a green Lake District of blue summer skies and shining waters. In 1901 the Trust began its association with the Lakes when it purchased the Brandelhow Estate to protect Derwentwater from the villa developments which occurred at Windermere. One quarter of the National Park is now owned or protected by the Trust.  Recently Ennerdale has returned to the wild and Allan Bank and Wray Castle opened to the public. Excellent photographs of the Lakes then and now enhanced the talk.  Finally we moved via Durham to Norhumberland’s fine houses at Seaton Delaval, Wallington and Cragside and to the enchanting puffins on the Farne Islands.  John Taylor gave the vote of thanks.
The meeting concluded with a brief discussion of a possible visit on 7 May. Ripon Museums, Bradford Media Museum or a pub lunch apppeared to be the most likely options. It is hoped to make a decision at the next meeting.

Change to next Tuesday’s Programme

Moira Smith has been called away to attend a meeting in Birmingham and will be unable to give her talk on Tuesday 5th February.  Instead she has found a very capable
substitute Mr. Geoff  Pawson who will talk about “The wild flowers of Bolton Abbey”.

Secretary’s Report

To cancel or not to cancel is the dilemma of a Programme Secretary in snowy and icy weather. In the event 19
members braved the poor conditions to hear David Davies talk about “The years of recovery and change from 1951 to 1964”.  During this period living conditions improved as austerity eased and controls were lifted but Britain’s economic performance lagged behind European countries and imperial commitments were discarded after the Suez fiasco showed that we could not act independently of the USA on the world stage. Four conservative Prime Ministers (Churchill, Eden, Macmillan, Home) sought to rule from the centre and did not undermine the welfare state established by the Labour government of 1945 to 1951. Mr Davies lightens the serious analysis of his talks with photographs of the time including on this occasion the London smogs, the Mini, teenage Mods and Rockers and the iconic images of Hillary on Mount Everest and Bannister completing the 4 minute mile.  Most remarkably of all perhaps the Queen has reigned throughout the period under discussion and will overtake Queen Victoria as our longest reigning monarch in three years time.  Vincent Naylor gave the vote of thanks and several members stayed to discuss issues raised with the speaker afterwards, always a sign of a successful morning.