Nostalgia: From the archives

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In this week 30 years ago:

Birstall custom bedmaker Mick Jones fulfilled a mighty tall order to score with West Indies Test bowler Joel Garner. For the 5ft 5in tall craftsman made a bed large enough for the 6ft 8in tall cricketer, ensuring he had sweet dreams for his stay in Leeds during the Test Series against England. Mick, of Sycamore Way, Howden Clough, came to the rescue when the Post House Hotel in Leeds confirmed the giant-sized bowler would be staying there for the 10 day Test series.

Three Mirfield youngsters decided to make money to send to Ethiopian children after they saw a television documentary on their plight. Brother and sister Janie, 10, and Philip Marples, seven, set up a stall in their front garden with Joanne Clayton, 10, of Nettleton Road, and sold their toys and ornaments to neighbours and passers by, raising about £10 in the process.

The decision was taken to close Heckmondwike Fire Station after six months of controversy over whether it should stay open. The final decision was taken at a meeting of the County Council Fire Committee. The firemen said they could offer a better service to Heckmondwike from where they were currently based than from Batley.

In this week 50 years ago:

A good Samaritan came to the rescue of 30 elderly women when severe storms hit Mirfield. Mr Albert Sheard, of Littlemoor Road, drove to the Salvation Army Hut knowing that the Good Companions were meeting there. As water rushed down Nettleton Road he made several journeys, taking members to the bus stops or higher ground from where they could go home safely. In Lower Hopton a number of cellars were flooded. A chimney in St Paul’s Road was also struck, leaving a thick layer of soot on the homeowner’s floor.

A topless dress was displayed in the window of Heckmondwike Co-operative Society’s women’s wear department in Northgate.“It’s just a catch, really,” said a Society spokesman. “It’s the only one we’ve got, but there has been quite an interest in it.” Had the interest come from young, middle-aged or elderly women? a Reporter staffman asked.“Well, no,” said the spokesman. “There’s been a crowd of men round the window.”

Around 300 girls from Batley Girls’ Grammar School returned to the school to witness a presentation to Miss Agnes McLellan, who was retiring after teaching there for 40 years.

In this week 75 years ago:

Mirfield was honoured by a royal visit when the ceremony of inaugurating the new Yorkshire Toddlers’ Home at Field Head in Battyeford was attended by Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal. Several prominent citizens were presented to Her Royal Highness, who unveiled commemorative and memorial plaques. Despite it being a holiday week, there was a large gathering to welcome the royal visitor.

The remains of Ethel Wraithmell, a 20-year-old Thornhill girl who was the victim of the Leeds ‘torso murder’, were interred at Batley Cemetery. Parts of her dismembered body had been found in a hedge in Scholes, Leeds and in a culvert near Wetherby Road, Leeds. It was not until April 29, 1940, that a suspect was charged with the ‘wilful murder’ of Ethel. Railway telegraphist Wilfred Lowe was tried for the murder but acquitted on July 16, 1940. He was, however, found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to a year’s imprisonment.

William Mann, steward of the Birkenshaw WMC, was accused of supplying beer at the club without a licence permitting him to do so on certain days. There were similar summonses against his wife Isabella Ruth Mann, including two offences of supplying stout to for consumption off the premises to two plain clothes police officers.