Author Archives: harlowmensforumorg


Chairman His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson Q.C. opened the meeting promptly at 1030a.m. and advised two apologies had been offered. He gave an amusing anecdote about Lord Soper, the Methodist Minister, which was appreciated by the audience.

Under “Initial Notices” Terry Byrne advised members of a concert being held on behalf of the Friendship Group on Wednesday October 11th at 2 p.m. for 2.30 p.m. at the Green Hut with a cost of £2 to help raise funds–as an additional delight Mr Byrne will be singing as part of the entertainment!!

Today’s Speaker Mr Charles Lubelski was in attendance to give a discourse on “The History of Printing and its Technology”, having been involved in the printing world for nearly seventy years.

His talk commenced with a few lines courtesy of William Wordsworth and members then received some technical instruction on three principles of printing to aid understanding namely Letterpress, Lithography and Intalagio. The history of printing was touched upon with reference to the Egyptians but with an initial focus on the age of the Scribes, an important part of printing history, who did all the medieval writing of books, bibles and indulgences using parchment and vellum to write on. Many of these products were highly decorated and colourful works as demanded by the Church or Princes who mainly had the wealth to make the purchases. These books were bound in leather by professional binders adding to their cost and quality. Word Block Printing had been available but a major step change took place in 1440 driven by Johannes Gutenberg, a German blacksmith and goldsmith who invented the Movable-Type Printing Press regarded as a seminal event in the Second Milennium. His type method used a metal alloy of lead, tin and antimony and a hand mould for casting type.

William Caxton received a mention as the first Englishman to introduce, from Europe, printing into England at Westminster in 1476 and he used the English language in his printing and the first book known to have been produced was Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.

The 15th–17 century time frame saw the eras of wooden printing presses and was also a time of exquisite bindings and the production of expensive and valuable works such as Bibles which were locked to Church pulpits because of their great value.

Through the 18th and 19th centuries we were advised about the impact of the Industrial Revolution on printing; Lord Stanhope’s building of the first Iron Press; the importance of Bradford in the printing world( Percy Lund Humphries & Co 1895 Print Company); the Wharfedale Machine produced in Otley from 1856 which revolutionised printing and saw thousands of machines made and exported. In a speedy conclusion matters pertaining to printing were brought up to date with emphasis on the enormous impact made by computers in and on the printing industry. A literary end saw Charles share a few lines from Charles Dickens’. Questions and comments were taken from the audience adding to the interest generated by the talk.

The Vote Of Thanks on behalf of the 37 attendees was given by Michael Cochrane.





The first meeting of the 41st season came to order under Chairman His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson Q.C. Five apologies had been offered and a welcome was extended to Mr Charles Lubelski, a visitor, but also next weeks Speaker. Two new members were in attendance and introduced to the assembly namely Mr Jim McPhail and Mr Alan Barker.

There were initial notices from the Secretary Neil Ramshaw, who requested members keep him advised of changes to personal information and he gave an update on some absent members, and from Treasurer Roy Smith who issued and talked through the audited receipts and payments account for the year ending 30th June 2017.

Today’s Speaker was Mr Tom Goodhand whose topic was “Taylor’s Tea”. We were then entertained to the history of tea and all the different types—40 being sold by Taylor’s. Tom had also set up a table full of samples which could be tasted and he explained the intricacies of tea tasting involving double strength brews; the use of two spoons; the impact on our 9,000 taste buds on our tongue and the vocabulary encapsulating tea tasting. A pen picture of the different types was then given including Gunpowder Green, Lapsang Souchong (Kipper of tea), Earl Grey, Darjeeling (Champagne of teas), Assam and of course Yorkshire Tea! The difference and benefits of green tea as opposed to black tea were touched upon and the use of milk or lemon on its flavour.

Tea  was first discovered and used in China 5,000 years ago more by accident than design and remained as that countries secret for many centuries. In 1606 the first shipment was made to America from China, introduced to France (not popular) and then England where its popularity saw it become the National Drink. 1658 saw the first advert for tea in this country and in 1662 its consumption took off due to the patronage of Charles The Second’s wife, receiving a further boost under Queen Anne who replaced beer for tea as her chosen breakfast beverage.The English preferred Indian Tea and that country is now the largest producer of teas although it is grown in around 50 countries with black tea being the main preferred choice in the West. Tea needs warmth and moisture and the tea-plant can grow to large heights but is normally restricted to five feet to enhance flavour which is also impacted by soil types/ quality and locations. The best flavour tea comes from the higher level leaves and we were also told about tea dust used in tea bags.

Yorkshire Tea is a careful blend of different teas by Taylor’s, a company started in 1886 by Charles Taylor in Leeds and Yorkshire Tea is now the second biggest brand in this country. Tea Kiosks were opened in Harrogate and Ilkley along with successful coffee shops and before World War 2 the Cafe Imperial was opened in Harrogate also. On a similar timeline Frederick Belmont opened Betty’s Cafe’s and in the early 1960’s the two companies merged.

Speciality teas were mentioned although not being derived from the tea-plant but from non traditional sources e.g. mint; fruit. Tea picking is a laborious hand picking process with leaves transferred into a back carried basket and then moved to central factories to produce black tea. Tom then handed audience members a variety of objects including a scallop shell, trowel, whisky, dustpan and brush and a bag and tried to elicit connections from members as to tea or the tea process which he then clarified. A lively and pertinent question and answer session followed the finish of his talk.

The Vote of Thanks was given by John Taylor (not of Taylor’s Tea or wealth!!) on behalf of 38 attendees and Malcolm Wood was thanked for providing apples from his orchard for members to take home.




Our Chairman: Welcome Back to our 41st season 20178/2018!

I must first apologise to the Forum for my absence from the 40th Anniversary Lunch. All went well and it was, I am sure, a delightful occasion, one I regret not having shared.

Now, along with our dedicated team of officers waiting in the wings, I am looking forward to the start of the Forum’s 41st season, no less! We are beyond all reasonable doubt a lively assembly–well-known for friendship, entertainment, fun and hospitality; and I can promise a warm welcome to all members, old and new, as we meet after the summer break and discover what delights John Taylor, our Programme Secretary has arranged by way of speakers.

So I say come on TUESDAYS, starting with the 3rd October; and bring if you can, a guest or guests to join our membership and enjoy the many benefits of Harlow Men’s Forum.

Best Wishes His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson Q.C.

FROM SECRETARY: Hope all well and had a good summer.

Subscription Costs, despite inflation, Brexit and the imminent end of the world remain unchanged..£3 Annual Fee and £2 each meeting.

You should have received 2 Programme Cards and spares with me if any required.

Please keep me advised of any changes of address, phone numbers, E/Mail address.

See you at first meeting in October.

Kind Regards NEIL.





Oct 3  Ms Victoria Turner           Taylor’s Tea

Oct 10 Mr Charles Lubelski       History of Printing and its Technology

Oct 17 Mrs Jocelyn Brooks        Gunpowder, Treason and Plot

Oct 24 Mr Tony Brown              In the Kingdom of the Ice Bear

Oct 31 OPEN MEETING (Ray Coggan Memorial Meeting)

Mrs Pam Harcourt                     I Did it for Kicks

Nov 7 Mr Neil Ramshaw          The Great Schnozzle

Nov 14 Mr Keith Wadd          What You Need To Know About Sociology

Nov 21 Mr Mike Bevington         Yorkshire Air Ambulance Update

Nov 28 Professor Martin Curzon      Teeth, Trees and Totem Poles

Dec 5 Miss Sue Wood              Behind the Scenes at the Tour de France



Jan 9 Mr Roger Oldfield                 From Sea to Shining Sea

Jan 16 Mr Ivan Gibson              Lockerbie: Medical–Legal Evidence

Jan 23 Mr Peter Rix                          From Airships to Astro-Physics;

The Work of Barnes Wallis

Jan 30 OPEN MEETING    Rev. Christine Gillespie PRESIDENT’S MORNING

Feb 6 Mr Alun Pugh                     An Illustrated History of Leeds

Feb 13 Mr Chris Helme                      Other Folk’s Rubbish

Feb 20 4 or 5 Members                 Members’ Morning ( Various Topics)

Feb 27 His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson Q.C.   Still More Curiosities

Mar 6 Mr Michael Duncombe           Thanks for the Memories

Mar 13 Mr Malcolm Neesam            Harrogate in the 20th Century

Mar 20 Mr Terry Byrne                         Reflections on My Life

Mar 27  OPEN MEETING  Mr Timothy Fee    Location, Location, Location


Apr 10 Ms Wendy Eccles                I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside

Apr 17 Mr John Taylor                           The Hollins Hall Story

Apr 24                                41st ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

MAY To be arranged                 Coffee Morning at Hollins Hall


President:                        Rev. Christine Gillespie.

Chairman:                       His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson Q.C.

Vice Chairman:              Michael Cochrane.

Second Vice Chairman: Richard Wright.

General Secretary:         Neil Ramshaw  Tel: 01423 879535.

Programme Secretary:  John Taylor       Tel: 01423 506742.

Treasurer:                        Roy Smith         Tel: 01423 538404


ANNALS 2016/2017 AND SUMMARY OF A.G.M. 2017

I have posted a summary of the A.G.M. 2017 held on April 25th and also the Forum Annals for 2016/2017 for member’s attention.

ANNALS 2016/2017


The 39th season ended with 61 members on the records. During the close season Dave Essam left us due to a move to Beverley and our Ruby (40th) season started with 60 members registered.

“Calendar of Meetings” and “Welcome Back” messages were issued to all members. The normal external distribution for information and advertising had also involved Harrogate Library, Harrogate Tourist Information Centre, our local Harlow News Correspondent  (Harrogate Advertiser) Charlotte South and also to our Church Contact Rosalind Crew who includes details on the Harlow Hill Methodist Church Website with its links to the Nidd Valley Methodist Church.

Oct 4th: Richard Pugh was our first new member of the season.

Oct 11th: Michael Jones was added as a new member.

Oct 18th: A further new member Gordon Percy joined us.

Nov 1st: The first special event of our 40th Anniversary season saw us welcome and be entertained by the Daytones Barbershop Group.

Nov 15th: Our occasional guest visitor Roger Howell attended this meeting.

Nov 29th: Ken Selkirk dropped from membership due to ill-health.

Nov 29th: First Open Meeting of the 40th Season took place. 38 members and 9 lady guests in attendance.

Dec 13th: 60 Members and Guests attended an excellent Christmas Lunch at The Ascot House Hotel. A charitable collection raised £266-50 which would be split between Yorkshire Air Ambulance and St. Michael’s Hospice.

In a special presentation Programme Secretary John Taylor was awarded an Honorary Life Membership to overwhelming acclaim from those in attendance.


Jan 10th: Acknowledgement from Yorkshire Air Ambulance re Xmas Charity donation.

Jan 17th: Second Open Meeting of the season and Ray Coggan Memorial Meeting with 36 members and 9 lady guests in attendance. Alun Pugh returned to complete his talk on “A Journey Along The Leeds–Liverpool Canal Part Two”.

Jan 24th: Acknowledgement received from St. Michael’s Hospice re Xmas Charity donation….sent initially to Harrogate Men’s Forum!!

Jan 31st: Joined by new member Peter Wilson and guest Keith Acum.

Feb 7th: John Taylor gives a potted history of Forum in his talk “Forty Years On” part of the Anniversary Programme.

Feb 14th: Third Open Meeting of the season with record attendance of fifty-one members and guests. (forty members plus eleven lady guests)

Feb 21st: Members Morning with excellent contributions from Mike Tutt; Richard Wright; Mike Cochrane and Terry Byrne.

Mar 21st: New member Keith Acum adds to our numbers.

April 4th: 40th Anniversary Lecture by Malcolm Neesam. (Samson Fox)

Apr 25th: 40th A.G.M. held.

May 2nd: 40th Anniversary Lunch at the Ascot House Hotel. 48 in attendance.

Season concludes with 64 members registered on records.


Outgoing Chairman Peter Staples opened the meeting expressing his thanks to members for their support during the year and then handed control of the proceedings to President Reverend Christine Gillespie.

ATTENDANCE: President Reverend Christine Gillespie and 32 members present.

APOLOGIES: 6 apologies received from members.

MINUTES: Minutes of the 39th Annual General Meeting agreed correct and signed by President. No amendments, corrections or matters arising.

GENERAL SECRETARY’S REPORT: At close of previous season (2015/2016) 61 members were registered on Forum records.

–Dave Essam left us during the summer recess.

—5 new members joined during the last season.

—1 member left our database as he could no longer attend.

At the close of the season (2016/2017) 64 members were left recorded on our books although there are a number we are unlikely to see again due to age/ infirmity.

Continued publicity through Harrogate Advertiser/ Church Website Links, Harrogate Library and Tourist Information Centre as well as our own Website. Personal member advocacy still best recruiter and two Programme of Meeting cards issued to help facilitate this.

PROGRAMME SECRETARY’S REPORT: Another year of strong attendances and an all time record at February 14th Open Meeting of 51. Charitable Donations totalled an impressive £645.

Special Anniversary events were well supported– Daytones Group and Malcolm Neesam and good reception afforded to Professor Dixon (Ilkley Water Cure) and Michael Duncombe (Musical Memories of the 50’s and 60’s). Open Meetings and Members Morning  also well established and received.

Thanks to all Tuesday Helpers and Officers and appreciative of Honorary Life Membership Award.

New Season commences Tuesday October 3rd 2017.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Very adequate Bank Balance of around £495 going into new season.

Donation to Church for room usage proposed and agreed at £850.

Secretarial Honorariums (2) amounting to £100 proposed and agreed.

No increase in fees/subs in next season

Discussion re funding defibrillator for Church Premises— to be agreed by Church and Forum Members to consider how we can support if it goes ahead.


President:                      Rev. Christine Gillespie.

Chairman: His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson.

Vice Chairman:                      Michael Cochrane.

Second Vice Chairman:            Richard Wright.

General Secretary:                      Neil Ramshaw.

Programme Secretary:                   John Taylor.

Treasurer:                                           Roy Smith.

Registrar:                                   Derek Simpson.

Church Contact:                               Mike South.                                                                                                                              Peter Belton.

Catering Officers: John Clark; Tom Snelling; Roger Bancroft.                                                      Reserve:                        Richard Brooks.

Auditor:                                       Chris Butterfield.


—Anniversary Spring Lunch Tuesday May 2nd 12p.m. for 1230p.m. at Ascot House Hotel.

—41st Season of Harlow Men’s Forum to commence Tuesday October 3rd 10a.m. for 1030a.m.


Chairman Peter Staples opened the final normal meeting of our 40th (Ruby) season at 1030a.m. announcing seven apologies including sadly Honorary Life Member Roy Howard who is indisposed and in Littondale Ward at Harrogate Hospital and would welcome visitors. We send our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Today’s Speaker Mr Terry Williams is a short notice stand in due to a cancellation and we are very grateful to him. A resident of North Harrogate he is an authority on the history of the New Park area and has travelled worldwide including a year spent living in the U.S.A.

His topic for his talk “Life in a New England Mansion” developed from a student friendship with an American Andy Dauphin. This friend, a Canadian by birth, moved into New Hampshire spending his formative years in Claremont and in 1991 purchased his boyhood dream of a mansion in the town Highland View Farm which was in a tremendous state of neglect and disrepair.

Highland View Farm had been owned in the 19th century by William H Moody , owner of a Shoe and Boot Company, who whilst an enterprising man, suffered from ill-health probably due to the stresses from his business interests and would use the purchased estate as a retreat and refuge. He employed an architect Hira Beckwith to design buildings and extend the estate and Moody would develop a reputation for producing the best racing stock (horses) at this location which included on the land a racing track. With the demise of Moody in 1925 (his wife predeceased him in 1923) and no children to pass the estate to, the properties declined through many of the following years becoming derelict.

In 1991 Andy Dauphin purchased the house for $112,000 but also with a massive amount of restoration work requiring to be done both externally and internally. Plans were drawn up to restore it as far as possible to its original 19th century condition and over the years extensive work was carried out in a sympathetic and considered manner with the purchase of antique furniture and fittings, stain glass windows including the refurbishment of originals and an attention to detail and  labour of love which came across strongly in the presentation. Andy Dauphin lives in the revamped property and estate with two of his autistic charges from his company “Bear Den”.

In 1916 Moody gave part of his estate to the City of Claremont….now Moody Park a recreational area and purchased a hotel (Hotel Claremont) which is now Moody Buildings with shop units and office/conference space. Moody Buildings is also now owned by Andy Dauphin.

The talk was backed up by a comprehensive slide show which detailed the estate in its 19th century guise, through its decline and as it now looks following its regeneration. The audience had enjoyed the discourse and a number of pertinent questions confirmed the interest aroused.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of the thirty-four attendees was given by John Taylor.



The meeting opened promptly at 1030a.m. with Chairman Peter Staples advising of seven apologies having been received. A welcome was extended to visitor Don Birkin.

Under “Initial Notices” the last call for A.G.M. items to be advised to Secretary Neil Ramshaw was made and final bookings for the Anniversary Lunch to Programme Secretary John Taylor were asked for, both with an April 11th cut off date.

Today saw the 40th Anniversary Lecture and the Forum were delighted that it was to be given by Harrogate’s foremost historian Mr Malcolm Neesam who although a regular Speaker to groups in the town was appearing at this gathering for the first time. His topic appropriately was about one of Harrogate’s illustrious Victorians and characters “Samson Fox: Victorian Industrialist”.

For the next hour the audience were treated to an excellent discourse about the great Samson Fox, genius , industrialist and philanthropist with the talk being supported by an illustrated and evocative slide show.

Born in 1838 in Bowling near Bradford his beginnings were from an impoverished background and at the age of nine finished his rudimentary education and went to work at Armley Mill but even from an early age wanted to be a mechanic. In 1853 he was apprenticed to the Victorian Iron Foundry in  Leeds and by 1861 at the age of twenty-three had made enough money to make his first marriage to Mary Anne Slinger from Knaresborough. In 1862 he was sent by his employers to attend the Great Exhibition at Crystal Place in London and in 1863 made his first patent for “Improvements to Machinery”. He was also the Chief Rep for Scotts of Greenock involved with shipping and wrestling with the ever-present danger of Marine Boilers blowing up. In 1874 Samson Fox founded the Leeds Forge Company which at its height would employ 2,000 men. In 1877 he patented the Corrugated Boiler Flue , a world leading development, which massively improved the safety and reliability of Marine Boilers and which established his considerable fortune. In the workplace he continued with developments such as new methods of steel manufacture, started the production of the Press Steel Railway Bogies and by 1900 had three forges producing his steel products.

In 1883 he purchased Grove House Skipton Road Harrogate and moved here. In 1889 he was elected to Harrogate Borough Council and very quickly became Mayor for three years. His philanthropic activities , running in tandem with his business and private life, saw him provide £45,000 to build the Royal College of Music Building as well as many more localised good works such as houses for workers and financial support together with him providing his notable roasted ox celebrations most notably in 1887 on the Stray to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee.

Other things mentioned in the life story of Samson Fox  included the mystery of Louis Aime Augustin  Le Prince; his dealings with “Diamond” Jim Brady to facilitate sales in America and his involvement with the great and good of Victorian Society.

We also were advised of the failed Water Gas Syndicate launched by Samson Fox which saw a lengthy court case eventually won  following a literary attack by the author Jerome K Jerome. Following the death of his first wife Fox remarried a much younger woman Annie Louise Baxter in 1899. His son and heir Willie Fox did not come across well appearing to be the antithesis of his father and following a period of ill-health Samson Fox passed away in October 1903.

Some questions and comments made at the conclusion of the lecture showed the interest and stimulation of the members attending with general agreement that Samson Fox is a true local great who should perhaps be more lauded than he has been.

An appropriate and fitting Vote of Thanks was given to Malcolm Neesam By His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson on behalf of the forty attendees. (40 at the 40th Anniversary Lecture!!)