Nostalgia: From the archives

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In this week 30 years ago: A top local civil servant insisted that plans to merge the courts would not unduly inconvenience the public.

Stuart Baker, clerk to the Dewsbury and Batley Justices was speaking at a public meeting about merging the two courts into one site at Dewsbury. He told the council’s Resources and Planning Committee that the changes would result in “only legal consequences”. This followed the then-chairman of the Batley Bench Laslie Hepworth, who had said any such merger would inconcenienve witnesses.

The Dewsbury Chamber of Trade had slammed shops joining in on late-night Christmas trading but not paying for advertising. Secretary Lindsay Johnson said: “I think it is disgusting that those people are riding on the backs of smaller traders that have made a contribution. It is a very poor show.”

Famine-stricken people in Ethiopia were to receive £2,500 worth of food after a collection from a Dewsbury shop. Oxfam’s shop in Foundry Street collected more than £2,400 for the relief fund. Organiser Ray Maskill said he had been overwhelmed by the generosity of people from Dewsbury, and pledged every penny would go to the starving in Africa.

In this week 50 year ago:

A proposal to provide Heckmondwike with a civic hall suffered a setback at a meeting of the town council’s Town Planning Committee meeting. A report came from engineer and surveyor Mr George Lupton, who told members at the meeting that it was not possible because a proposed loop road through the town centre would pass over the site. “We are back where we started,” he said. The council had recently been told that the proposed civic hall could not be built on land to the back of Firth Park as it was felt such a project might be contravention of the park’s deed of gift. Coun Minnie Bateman said: “Can’t we change the name from ‘Civic Hall’? “People will have the impression that it would be a town hall when, in actual fact, it would be a public hall.” Nobody else commented on the matter. Chairman coun Ray Smithson asked about whether the group had received a reply about the possibility of a site off New North Road being built on.

A committee arrived at Dewsbury Town Hall to present a petition of 4,000 local names to the Boundry Commission inquiry, which was going on at the time. D Birkby, M Grange and H Denton each attended.

In this week 75 years ago:

A district coroner criticised the then- wartime lighting restrictions at an inquest in Dewsbury Town Hall. John Garthwaite, 69, a painter from Clutton Street, Soothill was hit by a vehicle in Owl Lane, Shaw Cross, after leaving work. After being hit by a lorry, the impact threw his body under a bus. Entering a verdict of death by misadventure, coroner Mr G Haworth said: “Even if there hadn’t have been a blackout, it would be impossible to say whether or not this would have happened. But it would be safe to assume that the driver of the lorry would have seen the man on the footpath and could have taken certain precautions if he thought that the man was going to have crossed into the road.”

At a meeting of the Ossett Education Committee, the school attendance officer, Mr W A Cressley, had tendered his resignation after more than 20 years’ service to the group. Chairing the meeting Alderman W Patterson accepted his resignation and placed on record his appreciation of the services Mr Cressley had provided. Referring to the attendances, he said Mr Cressley had helped to achieve the best results possible. While he regretted Mr Cressley’s decision, Mr Aldreman conceded he had served the committee well and was due some rest for the hard work he had done over the years.