Header Copy

Covering the villages of Wilsden and Harecroft

Christmas Festivities

The usual festivities were held during Christmastide at the different places of worship in Wilsden in the form of picnic teas and concerts. In connection with the parish church, the concert was arranged by Mrs. Atkinson. The Vicar (the Rev. H. Roper) presided, and Master Harry Briggs was the accompanist. Mrs. Lister presented prizes to all those who had made good attendance during the year at the Sunday school. The concert at the Congregationalist Sunday school was presided over by the Rev. F.C. Rollin (pastor). The choir rendered glees; Mrs F. White, Miss Alice Calvert and Miss Florrie Whitwham contributed songs; there was an action song by five girls, a sketch by four characters … Addresses and reports were given by the deacons and the Sunday-school officers. There was a moderate attendance.

            A social evening was held in the Primitive Methodist Church. Songs were rendered and games indulged in, and refreshments were served during the evening. In the Wilsden Wesleyan Sunday School an “at home” was held … songs and quarters [were sung]. There were in addition games and competitions, Mr John Metcalfe presided, and Ms Bright Crabtree was the accompanist.

            Two public dances were held in the Mechanics’ Hall on Saturday and Wednesday evenings, promoted by the committee. The proceeds were in aid of the Mechanics’ Institute funds.

- Keighley News, 29th December 1917


Keighley News Archive (accessed via Bradford Libraries website)


22nd December – In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the new Bolshevik rulers of Russia open peace negotiations with Germany and Austro-Hungary at Brest-Litovsk, in modern Belarus, but then part of the Russian Empire. An armistice had been agreed on the 15th December, and negotiators from all the participants met on the 22nd. The Bolsheviks had long campaigned for peace on any terms, but the belligerence of German negotiators, and the harsh demands they made, shocked the Russian representatives. However, Russia had been exhausted by over three years of war, and there was no political will to carry on the fight, especially as Bolshevik control was by no means complete. A vicious civil war was breaking out, as the Bolsheviks and their supporters attempted to consolidate their seizure of power against a mix of Royalists, Government Loyalists, nationalist independence movements (such as the famous Czech Legion), and various political movements ideologically opposed to the Bolshevik revolution. Despite this pressure, negotiations at Brest-Litovsk would continue until March 1918.


Keighley News Archive (accessed via Bradford Libraries website)

Gilbert, M. First World War

preview       preview


Local Inquiry

The Vicar of Wilsden in Opposition

On Wednesday an inquiry was held at the Bingley Town Hall … into an application by the Bingley District Council for powers to borrow £1,300 for the provision of a public cemetery at Wilsden after the war. … Mr. Platts, for the District Council, said that for some years there been a shortage of burial-ground accommodation at Wilsden, and the District Council proposed to acquire from Mr. S.H. Wood a site of 10,267 square yards, at the price of 11d. per yard, to provide the needed accommodation. At present there was only the parish churchyard at Wilsden available for burials. There were three burial-grounds attached to Nonconformist churches, but they were filled up, and at the time the District Council made their application to the Local Government Board there was practically no burial accommodation available for Wilsden. … The population of Wilsden was about 3,000, and the average number of burials in a year was 38. There was only one dwelling house within the prescribed distance, a cottage, and the tenant had consented to the proposed cemetery.

Evidence in Support

Dr. Angus stated that the site was suitable for the purpose of a cemetery, and there was no danger of the pollution of water supplies. … He estimated the cemetery would provide for the needs of Wilsden for 100 years, unless there was a large increase in population. … Mr. Butterfield sad that the committee appointed to select a site were unanimous in recommending the one now brought forward.

Opposition from Landowners

Mr. Harrison said he opposed the application on behalf of the executors of the late Sir F.S. Powell, and also on behalf of Mr W. Ferrand, St. Ives, Bingley, large property-owners in the Wilsden district, on the grounds that the cost would affect the rates and because there was sufficient accommodation existing to meet requirements for some years. Referring to the Nonconformist burial-grounds, he said a good number of the graves were only partly filled and could yet be used.

The Vicar’s Position

The Rev. H Roper said he objected to the application because such an expense was inopportune at a time when public bodies and individuals were alike exhorted to practice economy. They were heavily burdened with rates now, and if a cemetery was made it would mean an addition to the rates. Another ground for his opposition was that there was not now, nor would there be for several years after the war, need for additional burial-ground accommodation. In the Nonconformist burial grounds there were a great many vacant places for the relatives of those already lying there. … The Vicar said that for some years the population had been practically stationary, and there was sufficient accommodation for 20-30 years to come.

A Challenge

… The Rev. F.C. Rollins said that the Nonconformists were very much in the majority in Wilsden, and they would strongly object to being forced to take their dead to the church ground, and their opinion out to be considered. The agitation for a cemetery had been going on for thirty years, and both nonconformist churches and the Church had been strongly in favour of it. The proposed site was convenient and easily accessible. He had been four years at Wilsden, and though he might meet people whom the Vicar did not, he had yet to meet anybody who opposed to the scheme for a cemetery. Nonconformist contributions were made to the churchyard extension, but they did not mean that it was to put off the provision of a cemetery., They had given out of goodwill to the church, and had it been known that their gifts would be used as an argument against a cemetery they would not have been made.

At the close of the proceedings the inspector inspected the proposed site and also the parish churchyard.

- Keighley News, 15th December 1917



Keighley News Archive (accessed via Bradford Libraries website)