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Almost a year ago we published an article about the Belgian refugees who came to this area during WW1. 

Since then the project has been given some wonderful photographs of Belgian refugees who were based in Crosshills.  We’ve updated the article to include them – click below to read it.

Article – WW1 Belgian refugees in Airedale


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We don’t know exactly how the Farnhill Parish Council WW1 Roll of Honour was compiled – did someone go round house-to-house asking if any member of the household was already serving, or were people invited to send in the names of men they thought should be included ?

In any case, it must have been a difficult job for the Clerk to the Council to carry out.  Particularly if you were just a young man in his teens, who had only taken on the Clerk’s job a few months previously.

So it was almost inevitable then that Tom Turner, the lad in question, missed the names of some of the men already serving in the forces off the list.

That’s understandable.  What’s a little more difficult to fathom is how Tom managed to forget to include the name of his own father !

Read Article – Arthur Turner – who was missed off the list by his son.

Hand over of Roll to conservitorWork started this week on restoration of the Farnhill Methodist WW1 Roll of Honour.

The photo opposite shows project members Helen and Martin handing over the Roll to the conservitor Richard Hawkes (right) at his studio just outside Ripon.

Watch out for future updates on the progress of the restoration work – which has been made possible by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and by donations from members of the public.

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In the later years of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th, most employment was provided by the very many local mills.

The loss of two mills in Farnhill at the end of 1905 and early in 1906 had a devastating effect on local people: they no longer had work on their doorstep and had to bicycle or walk to work; some chose to move to other townships.

One of the nearby mills that continued to provide work was Woodrow’s at Junction.

Charles Alexander Hargreaves, known as Alec, left school at the age of 13, in 1906, and – apart from serving abroad during WW1 – was at Woodrow’s Mill for all his working life, a total of 49 years.

Towards the end of this time he wrote a memoir of his period there: A working life at Woodrow’s Mill.

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The project has gathered photographs of the gravestones of as many of the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers and their immediate family as we could find. We have also collected photographs of War Memorials and Rolls of Honour which include their names, and entries made in the Skipton crematorium Book of Remembrance.

You can see all the photographs here.

Kildwick poppy display 2018In recent years the local knitting group has produced some wonderful display pieces for the Kildwick Summer Fair – there was a knitted canal in 2016, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal; and a knitted meadow in 2017.

This year, to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War 1, the group produced their most ambitious and architectural piece yet – a “weeping poppies” display, in wool.

Here are some photographs of the magnificent display.

Our appeal to raise funds for the restoration of the Farnhill Methodist Chapel WW1 Roll of Honour has been a great success and the target has been achieved.

We are currently making final arrangements with a conservitor and the plan – still to be confirmed – is that the original Roll will be carefully removed from its decaying cardboard backing, cleaned, and if possible the names re-inked.  A full-sized, high-resolution digital photograph will then be taken and the colours and original border pattern restored, based on similar Rolls held in archives.

We hope that the digital replica will be ready to be unveiled at our exhibition, “From Farnhill to the Front”, to be held on 10th November – to coincide with the centenary of the Armistice.  The replica, framed under UV-resistant glass, will then be put on permanent display in the Institute, where it can be viewed by the public.

Many thanks are due to all the people who contributed to the appeal.

On Friday 13th April 2018 a group of people from the project visited the Bankfield Museum, Halifax, the home of the Duke of Wellington’s Regimental Museum.

Many of the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers served in the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment and we spent about two hours looking at the displays dedicated to the regiment’s history and a special exhibition entitled “For King and Country”, about the First World War, which runs until 22 December 2018.  We were shown round by John Spencer, Curator of Military History, who was kind enough to spend all morning with us.

There was also time afterwards to see other parts of the museum including textile displays and the library, and to take in the historic surroundings of the former Victorian mansion in which it is housed.

A visit, not just for the regimental display but to see the museum as a whole, is highly recommended.

Going by the feedback received afterwards it was a very enjoyable and informative experience.

Feedback & Photographs

Below are some photographs taken during our visit and people’s opinions on the museum and the WW1 displays.  (Note that the views expressed are not necessarily those of the people shown in the photograph next to them.)

Bankfield Museum visit - 1

One of the many interesting exhibition display boards

The displays were interesting

“The special WW1 display was exceptional.”

“Items were well laid out in easily viewed cases, items hung on walls were at a good height and signage was well written and informative.  It provided a very good overview of the war.”

“Displays were interesting and informative being well laid out and well-lit so easy to see.”







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John Spencer, curator, (right) guided us round the exhibition

We were shown round by John Spencer, Curator of Military History (on the right)

“John added tremendous value to the visit.”

“He was knowledgeable, open to questions, acknowledged those areas where his knowledge was imperfect or where our knowledge of a topic might exceed his.”

“What a great curator. So knowledgeable and obviously passionate about history.”




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Bankfield Museum visit - 4
The exhibits promoted discussion and quiet contemplation

The visit was interesting and informative

“It was interesting to discover more about the history of the Regiment from how it got its name to the conflicts it was involved in.”

“I have visited this museum several times in the past.  The Duke of Wellington’s display area is of particular interest although, until my involvement with our project, I didn’t really appreciate the local connection.”

“Seeing the collections of personal artefacts and uniforms made everything more real, more personal.”


There was time for reflection …

“…the tragedy of so many young men losing their lives, often in the most horrendous circumstances…”

“It makes me thankful that most men from our village survived active service but no wonder many chose not to talk about it.”


 … and for recommendation

“I would certainly recommend anyone interested in Military history and the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment to visit Bankfield”

“I think it is very likely that I will visit Bankfield museum again.”

“Besides the military history there are other exhibits and the building itself is impressive.”


Bankfield Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm.  Admission is free
The WW1 exhibition, “For King and Country”, runs until 22 December 2018.  

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Early in 1917, with compulsory conscription in force, Farnhill lad Norman Rhodes was called up for military service.  Norman’s older brother, Cecil, was already in the forces, he was one of the Farnhill Volunteers having volunteered before conscription was introoduced in February 1916.

Perhaps feeling that he had already given up one son and unwilling to risk another, Norman’s father, Albert, appealed to a local Military Tribunal for an exemption on behalf of his son; but this appeal was turned down, and Norman was ordered to join the Army.

Like the Rhodes family, the chairman of the tribunal that considered the case was also a Farnhill man, the Rural District Councillor George Bottomley and, because of his position on the tribunal, Albert Rhodes subsequently held Bottomley personally responsible for his son’s safety.  Over the following months he repeatedly threatened Bottomley with dire consequences if Norman came to any harm, including saying that he was not afraid to die and would “do Bottomley in” and that he would “swing for him” if his boy was sent to face winter in the trenches.

On January 3rd 1918 Albert received a letter from Norman saying that he was going to be shipped over to France within a very few days.  Later that day he accosted Bottomley in the street, shouting “I shall go [deleted] mad. I give you fair warning that I will have my revenge. My son would never have joined the army if he hadn’t been sent; you are the man that sent him and I shall hold you personally responsible. The Tribunal is, like the war, a [expletive deleted] fraud.”

The police were called, Rhodes was arrested, and appeared before Skipton Magistrates on January 14th.  He admitted threatening Mr. Bottomley, but persisted in voicing his belief that he was fully justified.  He took some persuading to agree to cease troubling Mr. Bottomley in the future, but was eventually bound over to keep the peace for six months with a personal surety of £50 and surety of £25 from another person.

Note:  Happily, both Norman and Cecil Rhodes survived the war.  In 1929 Cecil married Florence Julia Greenfield Day, in Ilkley; Norman was one of the witnesses.

View the full news report of Albert Rhodes’ feud with George Bottomley — Craven Herald, 18th January 1918