Thirsk in old picture postcards

Thirsk in old picture postcards

:   Peter Wyon
:   Yorkshire, North
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-2315-0
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Thirsk in old picture postcards'

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59. 'The Steppings' was a well-trodden footpath which took a short cut across a steep field and was used by walkers to avoid the long trek round the Elbow bend of Sutton Bank Road. Normally passengers would get out at the foot of the hill to lighten the load for horse or car. Just below the start of this track William Wordsworth, the poet, and his sister, Dorothy, became very thirsty on their walk from Thirsk to Helmsley in 1802. They drank from a spring, which filled a very welcome horse trough on the roadside. This later bore her name and the old trough can still be seen, though very overgrown. Dorothy records in her diary that she was 'footsore, the Sun shone hot, the little Scotch cattle panted and tossed fretfully about'. This would be at the top of the Bank, where one of the main Drove Roads from Scotland to London passed along the moors.

60. The upper section of Sutton Bank, above the Elbow, shows its rough surface and how narrow it used to be in 1908. The farmer on the horse would have been safer than the cyclist, who would certainly have been in trouble if his brakes had failed or if he had hit a stone. For those country people, who did not own a horse and lived in remote villages, the easy availability of the bicycle, in the 1880's, transformed their lives, It meant that they were able to travel to the Market Towns, and visit friends and relatives at a distance, in contracts to the rare, probably annual, outings. On the steep bank above the road in this picture, many beautiful wild flow ers can be found in the Spring and Summer, including harebells and the Bloodred Cranesbill, while higher still, heather and bilberry grow in great profusion. A good path for walkers extends north and south from the crest of this hill, with magnificent views over the Vale of Vork.

61. The Motor Cycle Hili Climb in 1921 was a popular event. This gravel road, that climbed six hundred feet vertically in one mile, was only a Ioeal road to the villages of Cold Kirby, Old Byland and Seawton, thence becoming a rugged track through deep valleys. The way to Helmsley was via Rievaulx at this time. Motor cycle trials were condueted on the Bank each year and were very popular in North Yorkshire and beyond. It is interesting that a farmer and his wife have come to see this novel spectacle in their two-wheeled horse buggy. The 1 in 4 slopes of the uneven climb must have been a severe test for the early motor cycles, The road has now been developed to a wide highway, directly over the moors, to the next market town of Helrnsley.

62. A popular stand for the crowd watching the Motor Cycle contests on Sutton Bank was at the famous Elbow corner, where the loose, dusty surface curved sharply to the left and many a rider fell off his machine. Tense excitement can be seen on the faces of the spectators. The we1come shade of the sycamore tree is there no longer and the rough stone walls have long disappeared in the interests of safety and road widening. Behind the group of people on the right is a gate leading into a Forestry track, which provides a very pleasant mile-long walk round the dramatic crag of Roulston Scar, to the base of the White Horse at Kilburn. Before reaching the crag there is a good footpath, called Knowlson's Drop, which mounts the hill to emerge opposite the Yorkshire Gliding Club.

63. The last corner of Sutton Bank must have been a welcome sight to the straining motorcyclists. It would be cooler here at about one thousand feet above sea level, but the ladies were sitting comfortably on the dry turf. Roulston Scar in the distance is a wonderful view point from which to see the Vale of York, and is now the site of the Yorkshire Gliding Club. There is an excellent clubhouse, with a restaurant, for members, and hangars for a large number of gliders. Championships take place here every August, when suitable air currents are frequently present. Some hang-gliders also take off fr om hereabouts, forming a potential danger to themselves and to the gliders. On the south side of Roulston Sear is the wellknown White Horse of Kilburn, cut in the

limestone slopes of the escarpment. '

64. The White Horse of Kilburn was cut in the turf of the hillside in 1857 by Thomas Taylor, a native of the village, who lived in London at the time. It is 180 feet long and 80 feet high. Six tons of time were used to whiten it, and thirty-three men were employed on the work, It can be seen on a clear day for an immense distance. In the last thirty years the horse has been restored by voluntary subscriptions. Robert Thompson, the celebrated wood carver, was born in Kilburn in 1876. His reputation was founded on the carving he executed for Ampleforth College in 1919. Before this he was a village joiner like his father, but now he is known throughout the world by the mouse, which he carved on every piece of his work, including the church furniture. Such is his farne that a letter from abroad addressed to 'The Mouseman, England' was safely delivered! He died in 1955, but his craft is carried on by his two grandsons, named Cartwright.

65. High Kilburn is a charming village about five miles from Thirsk, high up on a spur of the Hambleton Hills and on1y a quarter of a mile from Kilburn Church in the main village. High Kilburn is built round a square green, with the road running obliquely across it. In common with many other Yorkshire villages, it has a characteristic turn in the road at each exit, which gives privacy to the village and more defence against maurauders. Sadly the duck pond is now filled in. lt certainly gave the scene great charm. The fruit tree on the farmhouse wall, to the right of the picture, was probably an apricot tree, as many houses in this area, and even in Thirsk town, grew them to make the famous apricot jarn, This photograph was taken about 1900 and is another example of Joe Clarke's ability with his camera.

66. The Ford at Kilburn was photographed about 1900. It is many years since the water was channelled under the road and visitors entering the village, after coming down the steep, winding hill from the direction of Thirsk, will not realise that they have crossed the stream. The loeal author, Julie Orr, in her enchanting book entitled 'Portrait of Julie', vividly describes the childhood thrill of rushing down the hill on her bicycle and splashing through the ford on her way to the village school. The workshop which Robert Thompson, the woodcarver, used in 1900 was the far building with its gable end to the road. Very little of it now remains, and all this area is piled high with timber undergoing its five years of maturing. The modern workshops and showrooms are on the opposite side of the road.

67. Shandy Hall is situated in the beautiful village of Coxwold, seven miles from Thirsk, In 1900, when the picture was taken, it was occupied by a tenant farmer. It was originally built about 1450 as a priest's house and had an 'open hall'. The house is famous as the residence of the author, the Reverend Laurence Sterne, who lived there for eight years, during which time he wrote 'Tristram Shandy' in 1760 and later the 'Sentimental Joumey'. The Hall continued as a Parsonage house until1807 and after this time there was a succession of tenants until1966. About this year MI. and Mrs. Kenneth Monkman, who were lifelong admirers of Sterne's writing, discovered that the mediaeval timbers of the Hall were suffering from dry rot and death-watch beetle. A Trust was formed and money obtained from a number of charities to restore the old Hall. The Monkmans moved in to supervise the work and to revive the overgrown garden.

68. In 1910 these litt1e children were dancing round the Maypole at Asenby near Topcliffe, four and a half miles from Thirsk. This used to be performed on the first day in May, The custom originated in pagan days, as a fertility celebration in the spring. Early man selected a suitable tree for dancing around, but later a wooden pole was used. The cu stom fell into disuse in many areas, but in Victorian times, with the help of the writer, J ohn Ruskin, there was quite a revival and it still persists in some villages in Westmorland, Yorkshire and Cheshire. In Scandinavia they celebrate Midsummer's Day by dancing round a tall pole decorated with tree branches and flow ers.

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