The background and History of Sweets

Michael Cochrane opened the meeting and welcomed the members, guests and the speaker Mr Keith Tordoff MBE.

This mornings talk was the The background and History of Sweets.Keith had a table covered in bags of sweets, over twenty packets!

He explained that the Oldest Sweet Shop in the World has been trading continuously since 1827 and this was confirmed by the Guinness Book of records in 2014. The building itself dates from 1661.

Keith told us about the various sweets and their ingredients, often liquorice. He spoke of Pear Drops to Raspberry Bon Bons.

Keith’s talk was entertaining and well received by the audience.

It is worth a look at his web site: for further information.


Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the meeting at 1030 a.m. by advising of four apologies. Matthew Jessup (Tom Snelling’s grandson) was again in attendance as a guest.

Under “Initial Notices” a reminder was given about the Spring Lunch at Hollins Hall on Tuesday May 7th 2019 and the fourth call for the A.G.M. on Tuesday April 30th 2019 was made with any proposals/discussion items to Secretary Neil Ramshaw by Tuesday April 16th 2019. The Officer Nomination form was again available and its becoming urgent for some take up of positions to be made.

Today’s Speaker was Forum Member Peter Wilson whose topic was “Back to Front”. Peter recounted his biography to members being born in 1933 reminding us Hyperion won the Derby that year; failed his eleven plus in 1944 (blamed the War!!) but still went to grammar school and then Sheffield University studying architecture with two life changing events in 1955 namely marriage and National Service. For many years Peter was the staff architect for the well-known firm of John Collier. He stressed the importance in his life of making time for hobbies and in particular for him photography and sailing. Backed up by a comprehensive slide show the audience were treated to many of his photos and sketches taken over the years of places visited including Arran, the South of France, Suffolk  and Milton Keynes. He had detailed photographs of shops departed from the Harrogate scene such as Preston’s Photographers and Beardmore, Dobson and Sons Hardware and Ironmonger’s.

More revealing were the internal photographs Peter showed of his former property in Westminster Drive and the amount of space taken up in storage by his work and hobby materials. A move to Beckwith Crescent saw the establishment of “The Wilsonian” which acts as a workshop, studio, gallery, library, museum and drawing office…very much an upmarket man cave!! He entertained members with stories of how his pipe-smoking days came to an end at the hands of his fourteen year old daughter and Monday rice pudding day was similarly ended by his daughters who used a piano stool to effect the disappearance of the offending dessert. His father’s motor bike adventures were shared including a court appearance of said pater and his vehicle!!

The conclusion of the talk was illustrated with pictures of vintage cars and places such as the Tate Gallery in St. Ives.

Comments and questions were taken at the end and the Vote of Thanks on behalf of the thirty-six attendees was given by Peter Staples.




The meeting opened at 1030 a.m. with Chairman Michael Cochrane advising of three apologies. He also told members that Ken Burcher (now into his 90’s) is living with his son in Suffolk and will probably not attend again and we wish him well. It was a pleasure to see Tom Snelling’s grandson attend as a guest again.

Under “Initial Notices” John Taylor informed  members about the Spring Lunch at Hollins Hall on Tuesday May 7th 2019–paperwork and menu choices made available. Menu choices and full payment to be made to John Taylor no later than Tuesday April 16th with the caveat that there is a limit on numbers of forty.

The third call for the A.G.M.  regarding proposals and nominations was made and a list of Officer vacancies displayed.

Today’s Speaker was the Forum’s own His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson Q.C. with his topic being “The Lighter Side of the Law”. For the next hour members were regally entertained and instructed by recollections and anecdotes from the legal world. He started his talk by advising that it had been pointed out that the Courts of Law provide the “… best free entertainment there is” encompassing all forms of theatre albeit with a serious front,. Derek told us about Justice Charles John Darling, a 19th century and early 20th century legal figure, who introduced appropriate jokes into his trials. We were told about the Muslim witness who took an oath to “…. to tell anything but the truth” and the young girl aged nine who addressed the Judge as “Your Majesty”!! Length of jury service and jurors provided a source of amusing memories as did the story of the forty-two year old promiscuous  farm labourer. Hearing issues; falling asleep in court; pomposity and sometimes unpleasantness all provided their lighter legal moments and clever and witty interchanges between Judges, Barristers and Defendants also promoted light relief into the serious business of the legal process.

There were a few tales of pranks being played on each other by Barristers and Judges in trains and hotels which showed the human face of these imposing figures!!

The audience, as usual, had enjoyed the morning’s reminisces with questions and comments at the end. Richard Wright gave an amusing and appreciated Vote of Thanks on behalf of the forty-one attendees.




Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the meeting at 1030 a.m. advising of five apologies.

Under “Initial Notices” Neil Ramshaw General Secretary gave the second call for the April 30th A.G.M. and stressed the urgent need for members to come forward to fill the vacant Officer positions.

Terry Byrne advised members that he would be doing his A.E.D. talk on April 11th and 15th respectively at the Green Hut starting at 730 p.m.

Today’s Speaker was Mr Jeff Jacklin who had spent thirty years in the N.H.S. at Director level both in permanent and interim roles. His talk “N.H.S.: It Only Hurts When I Laugh” was positioned to both educate and amuse.

He started by sharing some impressive statistics on the N.H.S. which illustrated its enormous size and scale, being the biggest employer in this country and the fourth biggest in the world with 1.38 million employees. The strength of the N.H.S. was predicated on three things namely its Volunteer Base, Foreign Nurses and Doctors and the Goodwill of the Public. An interesting issue arising from surveys he had carried out was that the main issue of complaints (a remarkably small total overall) was Hospital Car Parking.

Jeff talked about the establishment of the N.H.S. in 1947/ 1948 and the bleak situation that preceded its creation particularly for the many citizens who didn’t have the financial resilience to pay for healthcare in times when there was no public healthcare provision in place. The N.H.S.’s main features would be cradle to grave provision; all pay and all benefit and free services at the point of delivery. There were some negative views to overcome from rich people, doctors and the general public itself and these were addressed by Aneurin Bevan the Labour Minister for Health.

Jeff then took his audience through some milestone dates from 1948–1998 which included the birth of the N.H.S. ; Prescription Charges being introduced, cancelled and reintroduced; Polio and Diphtheria Vaccination Programmes to the launch of N.H.S. Direct.

To conclude his talk we were shown the vast amount of paper involved in Patients Medical Records and the need to computerize. Finally some Medical Bloopers brought an amusing finish.

The talk was well supported by slides and video clips and enjoyed by members  as evidenced by comments and questions raised.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of thirty-five attendees was given by Edward Rowe.





Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the meeting at 10 30 a.m. advising of four apologies. He welcomed the guests, particularly the ladies, to this Open Meeting which would be the final Ray Coggan Memorial Meeting.

Under Initial Notices General Secretary Neil Ramshaw gave notice of the A.G.M. on 30th April 2019 with any proposals, motions for discussion to be provided to him by April 23rd latest. He pointed out the number of offices that will need to be filled going forward into next season and asked members to seriously consider stepping forward as individuals or possibly in pairs to fill said vacancies— more discussion at future meetings.

Today’s Speakers were Mr Clive and Mrs Kath Richardson whose talk was intriguingly titled “The Woman Who Didn’t Exist”!!

The joint presentation focussed on a Margaret Burns who was born in 1889 at Whitehaven Cumbria to an ordinary working class family–her father Jacob was a Coal Hewer– and domestic moves to the Durham Coalfield Areas took place early in her life. The story was sad, poignant, dramatic but true and involved a surprising twist at the end. It followed her growing up, losing her mother at the age of four, her father’s remarriage and Margaret’s move into employment as a nursing assistant at the age of sixteen determined not to follow a life of domestic drudgery. However she met her first husband miner John George Purvis, became pregnant, married and started producing babies at regular intervals. The tale then moved onto tragic events in World War One, more babies, death on service, eviction, abandonment and a second dysfunctional marriage. The scene then moved to Manchester with bigamy rearing its head and then a period of domestic stability and the final denouement  of “How The Woman Who Didn’t Exist” became so titled and who died in 1962.

A surprising unexpected twist concluded the talk which was supported by slides and presented in a lively, entertaining and amusing manner.

A number of questions/ comments came from the audience at the end and the Vote of Thanks on behalf of thirty two members and eleven guests, mainly ladies, was given by Richard Brooks.





The meeting was opened at 1030 a.m. with Chairman Michael Cochrane advising of two apologies. Richard Wright’s apology was accompanied by news that he was out of hospital and making good progress which we were pleased to hear. Chairman Mike also advised that the places for Member’s Morning were now filled with thanks to those that had come forward.

Today’s Speaker was our very own Member Edward Rowe with his topic being “Bye Bye The Neighbourhood”. He started by advising of him observing a citizenship ceremony and testing this morning’s audience with three of the questions participants were expected to know.

Edward comes from Scarborough and out of a fishing family background. The first part of his talk focussed on the town’s origins visited in around 966 A.D. by Skarthi ,a Viking raider with the settlement being called Skaroaborg. There had been briefly a Roman Signal Station on the headland in the 4th century and possibly earlier Stone and Bronze Age settlements. The new settlement was burned to the ground by a rival band of Vikings under Tostig who subsequently was defeated at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066. The destruction meant very little remained to be recorded in the Domesday Survey of 1085.

Edward then moved on to the second part of his talk by advancing to the outbreak of the First World War at which time his grandfather was a freelance skipper of a fishing trawler. We heard about the decimation of the Scarborough Fishing Fleet and the role of U Boat 57 which sank eleven Scarborough trawlers (and eight from other ports!) in September 1916. The U Boat Commander Ritter Karl Siegfried Von George ensured there was no loss of life, transporting crew off the various trawlers, before their sinking mainly by artillery fire. Edward commented on the amount of submarine activity off the Yorkshire coast and the bombardment of locations like Scarborough.

On May 15 1917 a Filey Coble “The Edith Cavell” was also sunk by a German U Boat with the crew having again being removed before the sinking. The talk concluded with mention of the landslip which caused the loss of Holbeck Hall Hotel.

A number of questions and comments were fielded and the Vote of Thanks on behalf of the thirty seven attendees was given by Vincent Naylor.



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.


The History of New Park Part 2

Terry 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 Academy)”

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 area.

Local shops 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 members.

Prior to the talk the Treasurer presented the audited accounts for the year ending 30th June 2018.


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.


Chain of Survival

A number of members attended the training session, last Tuesday evening, concerning the new defibrillator.

The Chain of Survival concerns the following:

Early Access – Early CPR – Early Defibrillation – Early Advanced Care.

The St John Ambulance produce a very good First Aid application for your mobile phone. Do have a look at this a pplication! A good one to read and put on your phone.