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Barwick-in-Elmet Historical Society 

Today's News (Tomorrow's History)

Part 3. 2005

This information is provided by the Barwick in Elmet Historical Society. 

December 2005

In the last two years, there have been three attempts by property developers to buy properties in the Leeds Road area of Barwick which have large gardens and, through demolition of the houses, build 3 story densely packed housing. The first scheme was approved after a reduction in the height of the development and a lowering of the density of the housing. The second scheme has gone to planning appeal while the third has been withdrawn. All the schemes have provoked a large number of protests from villagers. Colin Burgon, the M.P. for the area, has been involved and has supported the protests. He has asked Leeds City Council to resist the the pressure of the developers in line with the government's requirements that developments should integrate into the existing environment. He supports the views of local protestors that the schemes will not preserve the character of the village.

November 2005

After a pleasant late summer, the middle of the month has brought a spell of brilliantly sunny days and very cold nights. In the mornings the countryside has been white with heavy frost. The late arrival of autumn has kept the leaves on the trees later than normal. There are forecasts of a very cold winter ahead - time will tell.

People in Barwick are writing protest letters again as yet another planning application has been received for large properties on the Leeds Road to be demolished and replaced with three storey blocks of flats. The complainants are basing their main thrust on the incompatability of such schemes in a village environment. Up to now, similar schemes have been approved and the entrance to the village from Scholes will soon be quite changed.

October 2005

The month started with an annual event in Barwick. There was a sale held in the village hall to raise funds for the NSPCC. The sale has been an annual event in the village for about 50 years.

The third week of October has seen the unmistakable arrival of autumn with the leaves turning colour and dropping after what seems like weeks of unbroken grey sunless skies. The Barwick feast is getting assembled on Jack Heap's Field.

This year has been a poor year for nuts with small shrivelled nuts which will hopefully mean a decline in the grey squirrel population next year.

September 2005

The Historical Society received a magnificent donation from Barwick-in-Bloom of £500 which was the surplus which arose from the Flower Festival which was organised as part of the activities associated with the village's entry in Britain in Bloom. The donation is specifically for the planned information boards which will be provided for the earthworks in the village. Before the information boards are produced, the society is awaiting a non-invasive archaeological survey of the earthworks. The society has applied to the Local Heritage Initiative Fund to finance the archaeological survey.

On Sunday 18th September, a memorial was unveiled at Crossgates to remember those who lost their lives at the Barnbow Shell Filling Factory in the First World War (further information and an article on the factory)..

The month ended with the news that Barwick achieved a silver gilt award in the Large Village category of Britain in Bloom.

August 2005

August has started with a Festival of Flowers entitled "This was their finest Hour" by the Barwick-in-Elmet Flower Club. It was held in the Barwick-in-Elmet Methodist Church on 6th & 7th August. There were 21 themed displays as well as various arrangements on the pews and tables. The festival was held in conjunction with Barwick in Bloom as a prelude to the judging of the village on Tuesday 9th August as Yorkshire's entry for the large village class of Britain in Bloom.

Barwick in Bloom have produced a very imaginative DVD containing a slide show of the preparations for the competition, a copy of which has been given to the judges.

August has ended with the third Carling Festival at Bramham Park which was completely sold out. The traffic problems experienced last year seemed not to have been repeated as there were many signs in Leeds deterring motorists from using the A64. The winds over the weekend assisted in not afflicting Barwick with the thudding bass of the music. No doubt Potterton was not spared.

July 2005

The Barwick Maypole Committee (soon to become the Barwick Maypole Trust) held its post-ceremony meeting on 4th July. It has been usual for the meeting to be held at the maypole immediately after the raising ceremony. Its main purpose is to elect a committee for the next three years. Over forty attended the meeting. The present committee was re-elected plus three more members. In a discussion on the arrangements for this year's ceremony it was very apparent that the event was very successful. Many messages had been received by the committee expressing thanks and congratulations. It is envisaged that the event in three years time will be on similar lines.

June 2005

Barwick continues to be busy getting ready for Britain in Bloom on 9th August while Scholes is in good shape for Yorkshire in Bloom. Before then on 26th June, Barwick has its annual Open Gardens Day. Twelve gardens are to be open to the public including the Bowling Club. Each year the gardens are newly selected and it must be 50 or so gardens which have been opened up over the last four years. This takes a lot of effort by the families involved.

This month has marked the use of the York race course for staging the Royal Ascot meeting while Ascot racecourse is undergoing major renovations. While it is about twenty miles away, the event has not gone un-noticed in the parish. While it has not been wise to drive towards York before the start of the racing, the most marked influence of the meeting has been the stream of helicopters passing overhead between Leeds-Bradford Airport and the Knavesmire.

On 21st of June a landmark of the centre of Barwick for decades was removed. BT has removed the telephone kiosk from outside the Post Office. There had been efforts to have it saved but it is no longer economical to maintain many public call boxes due to the spread of mobile phones. The box was of the old type - designed before the Second World War. There is still a public phone box in the village (a new mostly glass type) on the corner of Long Lane and Leeds Road.

May 2005

The month has seen Barwick busy preparing for two events, the Maypole Raising and the "Britain in Bloom" competition in August. Scholes has been busy making sure that the village is looking resplendent for "Yorkshire in Bloom". Anyone who has not been to Scholes in the last three years or so will notice a big change in the appearance of the village. Flower beds are springing up in all sorts of corners and you are welcomed to the village from any direction by a well cared-for bed of flowers.

The noticeable result of the Maypole Raising preparations is the condition of Hall Tower field which has been cut and cleared of undergrowth which was starting to conceal half of the motte. Plans are under way to keep it permanently in the new condition. The tradition of taking the garlands around the village has started and most of Barwick had been covered before 21st May.

As part of the preparation for the Britain in Bloom competition, the ground behind the bus stop opposite the Post Office in Barwick has been transformed.

April 2005

April has opened with some warm days. Both villages are a mass of daffodils growing on the verges along with other varieties of colourful flowers. Barwick is not participating in Yorkshire in Bloom this spring as it is in the national competition. Scholes is now in splendid condition to be judged in the Yorkshire spring competition.

19th April
The programme for the Maypole Raising on the Spring Bank Holiday Monday has been published . The programme is

The new pole is being delivered in the next week or so. It will be pressure treated, ready to splice and will comply with current British Standards and has a 20 year guarantee. It is believed to be a couple of feet taller than its predecessor and a little fatter.

Over 6000 rosettes have been made and are being assembled on the garlands. The garlands will be paraded around the streets of Barwick, Scholes and Aberford from the beginning of May. The May Queen will be elected by local school children in the coming week. Plans for the procession floats are well ahead. The procession will feature the floats and will have a Scout marching band following the "Town Crier".

There will be a new feature of Maypole Day this time. There will be a street market in Main Street, The Boyle and Elmwood Lane with a wide selection of stalls selling, for instance, Whitby Jet, locally produced honey, baby bedding, cheese, Thai crafts, football souvenirs, flower arrangements and a caricaturist to draw your pose.

It is planned to close Main Street, The Cross, Elmwood Lane and The Boyle to traffic on the day from around 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The appeal for funds through the Maypole Roll of Honour has raised over £1,500 so far.

The Maypole Queen for 2005 was chosen on 25th April. She is Maddi Cornforth of Chapel Lane. Phoebe Hainsworth is the Maid of Honour, also of Chapel Lane.
28th April


The new maypole was delivered to Hall Tower Field at 5 p.m. today.

It measures the same length as the previous one - 85ft 9½ ins. -and is thicker at the base (55 ins.). The pole is of Scots Pine and it has come from Finland. The pole is ready-spliced in two sections. Over the coming month it will be spliced together, smoothed, painted white and the stripes will be added.

The new pole ready for much work prior to its raising.



29th April

Retirement after 43 years service to Barwick-in-Elmet

April ended with the last milk delivery by Geoff and Norma Atkinson. Geoff started delivering milk to the southern half of Barwick forty three years ago and retirement follows a lifetime of early mornings and working in all seasons. During that time he has married Norma, who shared his early mornings, and raised a family. He found time to look after livestock and carry out gardening and landscape work in the village - which will continue to occupy him.

Geoff and Norma on their last round on the evening of 29th April 2005



March 2005

The highlight of this month has been the felling of the maypole in Barwick on Easter Monday in preparation of a raising of a new pole on Spring Bank Holiday Monday. Because the maypole had been standing for six years and its condition was uncertain, it was felt that it was not possible to take it down using safer, but untried, methods. The only other time that we know of when the pole was cut down was in 1947 when the pole had been up ten years. Then the pole was cut down with an axe. Now, nearly 60 years later, a power saw was used while the pole was supported by a 50,000 kg crane. The cutting took far less than a minute. The crane lowered the pole sufficiently for the old garlands to be removed and for the splicing to be un-bolted. When separated, the two parts were loaded by forklift onto a farm trailer and taken away to a local farm.

February 2005

The winter is mild and damp. However there was a sign of impending spring today (6th February) as the curlews have returned to the fields north of the golf course.

The Maypole Committee has changed its name to Barwick-in-Elmet Maypole Trust. The trust is to apply to become a registered charity. Plans for this year's Maypole Raising have been hit by the failure to be awarded a lottery grant. This will not stop the ceremony from going ahead but appeals are being made to every household to make a donation towards the event. There will be a Roll of Honour with donors' names on it which will be buried in a time capsule. Donations can be sent to the Barwick-in-Elmet Maypole Trust c/o 14 The Boyle, Barwick-in-Elmet, LS15 4JN. Any queries can be made to the Treasurer, Shelly Horkan tel: 0113 2811078 or by email Shelly.

Today (21st February) the days are noticeably getting longer and the daffodils are out on Long Lane so spring should be in the air - but we have snow and a biting easterly wind.

Since the new year, Tillotson's shop on Main Street has had a fascinating display of wooden objects made by a local wood turner, Martin Thompson-Oram. The items are for sale and what makes them doubly interesting is the fact that most of them are made from local wood.

January 2005

January has started quietly. In spite of a few cold snaps, the daffodil bulbs are pushing out their leaves in the middle of the month. There has not been any significant change. However a recent planning application to demolish two large houses in substantial grounds in Elmwood Lane and to build 6 houses and 14 flats on three stories is causing much protest. The original application led to 300 objections being submitted. The proposal is now going on appeal to a planning enquiry.

The road from Barwick to Garforth is undergoing major repair - not before time. The road is closed from 9.30 to 3.30 for the work to be done in 100 metre stretches per day.

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