Slack family group

The photograph shown above is of the Slack family – father Richard Henry and his wife, Lily, with their daughter Mary in her arms; two of their sons Peter and William sat on the wall, with their brother Richard stood in front of them; and the two other childen, Martha Ann (known as Sissie) and Charles, sat down against the wall.

It was probably taken at the family home on Silsden Moor, in 1895 or 1896 (Mary was born in 1895) and is remarkable in that all four of the boys would later become Farnhill WW1 Volunteers.

  • Richard Slack (b. 1886) served with the Royal Flying Corps (the forerunner of the RAF).
  • William Lister Slack (b. 1887) served for nine years, including the whole of the war period, with the Mercantile Marine.
  • Charles Slack (b. 1889) volunteered to serve with the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment but was discharged due to a throid condition that deteriorated during his training period.
  • Peter Slack (b. 1892) served with the West Yorkshire Regiment.

All four men survived the war, although William died just a few weeks after returning to Farnhill in 1919, of influenza.

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The census taken on 2nd April 1911 recorded where people were living, the size of their dwellings, how they were employed, and their family structures.  It also recorded information about other buildings – including shops and places of work.

An analysis of the 1911 census returns for Farnhill has been carried out for the project.  It provides an interesting and informative snap-shot of what life must have been like for the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers.

Read more about Life and employment in Farnhill in 1911.

Hope you can join us !

War literature talk poster


The project is launching an appeal for donations to enable us to restore a recently discovered Roll of Honour that originally hung in the former Methodist Church at Farnhill, and names 60 local servicemen who served during World War 1.

We were always aware that the Farnhill Methodist Church, which closed a few years ago, once had a WW1 Roll of Honour as the local History Group has a photograph of it.  However, having asked everyone we could think of who might know its whereabouts we believed it to be lost, then, it was unexpectedly handed in at one of our project events, by a former member of the church who had saved it.

Not surprisingly, the Roll of Honour is showing signs of age and is in a poor condition.  It has become permanently warped and cannot be flattened out; the cardboard backing is crumbling away along the edges; the paper has signs of insect damage, paint splashes and surface deterioration; and all the colours on the decorative borders have faded, with some totally lost. The names of the men written on it are barely legible.

We have had it examined by an expert who has suggested that it could be conserved and then a digital copy created which would be put on permanent display in the village.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed that we can use some of our project grant to cover most of the cost but we have to raise £260 ourselves and hope to obtain this by means of public donations and local fundraising.

If you would like to make a donation to help us restore the Farnhill Methodist Church WW1 Roll of Honour, please send a cheque made out to Kildwick & Farnhill Institute to the following address:

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project
Kildwick & Farnhill Institute,
Main Street,
Keighley, BD20 9BJ

The current condition of the Roll

The roll is bent out of shape and cannot be flattened.

Farnhill Methodist Church WW1 Roll of Honour

The Roll of Honour – bent out of shape

The cardboard backing is crumbling.

Farnhill Methodist Church WW1 Roll of Honour

The Roll of Honour – cardboard backing crumbling


The surface has paint splashes.

Farnhill Methodist Church WW1 Roll of Honour   Farnhill Methodist Church WW1 Roll of Honour


Insects have eaten away the ink and bored through the paper.

Farnhill Methodist Church WW1 Roll of Honour Farnhill Methodist Church WW1 Roll of Honour


The inked-in names have deteriorated – some are nearly impossible to read.

Farnhill Methodist Church WW1 Roll of Honour

The Roll of Honour – the names have deteriorated

A lot of the colour has faded – with some colours lost altogether.

Farnhill Methodist Church WW1 Roll of Honour

The Roll of Honour – colours faded

What can be done ?

The Roll can be conserved by:

  • Removing it from its cardboard backing
  • Removing the paint splashes
  • Cleaning the surface

A high-quality digital copy of the Roll could then be created and further restoration carried out, using digital imaging techniques, including:

  • Restoring the original colours, based on other examples of this type of Roll held in museums and archives
  • Re-instating the names onto the digital copy
  • Framing the restored Roll under UV-opaque glass

How might it look ?

Other Rolls of this design from other chapels have been restored.

This one is from a chapel in Bottesford, Leicestershire.

Bottesford WW1 Roll of Honour

Bottesford WW1 Roll of Honour

How you can help

Please consider making a contribution to our appeal.  In addition to the money we can use from our HLF project funding, we need to raise:


If you would like to make a donation to help restore the Farnhill Methodist Church WW1 Roll of Honour, please send a cheque made out to Kildwick & Farnhill Institute, to the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project, Kildwick & Farnhill Institute, Main Street, Farnhill, Keighley, BD20 9BJ.

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Following on from the news posting on March 15th about Kildwick School’s WW1 study day, we’ve now prepared a gallery of photographs taken during the day.

You can see all the photographs here.

At the end of February 2018, Kildwick School had a WW1 Study Day – and members of the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project were invited to attend.

Graham, the project co-ordinator, gave a talk in assembly – explaining the project and giving the pupils an insight into what life was like during the war, both at home and at the front.

The pupils then spent the day participating in three activity areas: baking, weaving & knitting, and drawing.  Graham and Helen, the project’s administrator and former pupil of Kildwick School, helped out with the activities.

A slideshow of photographs taken during the whole day is available here.  For now, here are a few of the highlights.


After hearing how WW1 food shortages meant that people had to innovate when making bread, the pupils turned their hands to traditional bread- and biscuit-making.  At the end of the day the produce was sold and the money raised added to the school’s book fund.


Making biscuits

Making biscuits

Weaving and knitting

At assembly the children heard how many of the men who fought in WW1 worked in local mills.  They also learned how pupils at the school during the war had taken up knitting to make socks and scarves for the men at the front.

Studying weaving techniques

Studying weaving techniques

Helen Moran from the project helped with the knitting

Helen helped with the knitting

Artwork — Portraits, maps and airships

The project has collected photographs of a number of the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers.  The pupils used these to create some portraits of their own.

Drawing portraits

Drawing a portrait

The Farnhill WW1 Volunteers came from all parts of the village.  This was used as the starting point for investigating how maps of the area have changed over time.

Learning about maps

Learning about maps

The pupils heard how, in 1918, a pair of British Naval airships passed over the school.  They decided to find out more about airships and do some drawings.

Drawing airships

Drawing airships

End-of-day Assembly

Graham & Helen with two pupils who are related to Farnhill WW1 Volunteers

Graham & Helen with two pupils who are related to Farnhill WW1 Volunteers

Pupils displaying work done during the day

Pupils displaying work done during the day

More photographs from the Kildwick School WW1 Study Day will be published as a slideshow soon.

Our report on the first year of our project has been sent to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

We are doing wonderfully well.  Here are just some of the highlights:

  • We have established good relations with the local press and have received excellent coverage.
  • We have had good attendance at our events and received positive feedback from people.
  • We have had a good level of participation in the project, and in the first year participants put in 72% of the total hours anticipated for the entire 2-years.
  • Our research findings have far exceeded what we originally expected to achieve.  The results of making contact with relatives have been particularly gratifying.
  • Our project website is getting “hits” from around the world and is proving to be robust and easy to maintain.
  • We have either achieved or exceeded all the targets we set for the project in Year 1 and we are well on target to achieve those we set for Year 2.

In addition to all this we are underspending on the project budget.

A proposal has been put forward to the HLF for a way in which an additional project goal might be achieved by re-targetting this underspend.  The HLF have already given their agreement in principle for this extra piece of work, and we hope to be able to bring you more news just as soon as they agree the details.

Click to view the full Year 1 Report, in PDF format.

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John William Dawson served in the Royal Field Artillery during WW1 and kept a signals training notebook. After the war his wife Annie put the book to a different use, using the blank pages to record recipes and household hints, starting at the back with the pages turned upside down.

A slideshow has been created showing both uses of the notebook.

Slideshow – John William Dawson’s notebook



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In a second article for the project lookng at life at home during WW1, Isobel Stirk examines what both adults and children were reading, how they were spending their leisure time, and what children were being taught about the war at school.

Article – Literature, learning and leisure – 1914 to 1918



The Farnhill & Kildwick Local History Group maintains a month-by-month diary of events in the two villages.

The diary begins in May 1914 and provides information not just about the men that went off to fight in WW1, but also how the impact of the war affected the village.

You can view the diary at: