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9:58am Friday 3rd August 2012 in Way we were
100 years ago
The phrase The Good Old Days, was one which was beloved of all classes. The politician rolled it off his tongue and our grandfathers, shaking their heads over what they termed the degeneracy of the age, repeated it to us emphatically and often.
Youth, whose rearward vision was but short, was the only group who looked optimistically to the future. A Harrogate magistrate recently cast his eyes back to the glorious past, lamenting that the time had passed when Solomon’s dictum, that to spare the rod was to spoil the child, was regarded and acted upon. In our youthful days if we made a predatory visit to our neighbour’s orchard we did so with the full knowledge that, if caught, the apple grower’s arm was strong and the cut of his lash was keen and biting.
Today the marauded orchard owner would hesitate to deliver the blow. As he raised his arm he would pause as a vision flashed across his mind of the local constable serving him with a summons for assault and battery at the instance of the delinquent’s father.
50 years ago
Tucked away behind a high brick wall at Bishophill, York, there was a “green spot” which every year received visitors from all over the world, particularly the United States.
They came because they respected the memory of John Woolman, the American anti-slavery pioneer, and other leading Quakers who were buried beneath the rich grass of the pleasant tree-lined enclosure. The old burial ground, which was closed in 1855, still belonged to the Society of Friends. Woolman, of Mount Holly, New Jersey, died from smallpox at a house in Marygate Lane, York, in 1772.
His remains were near a small dark-grey headstone on the longest wall of the L-shaped cemetery. Others who were buried there included Lindley Murray, the grammarian, and his wife Hannah Murray, and several members of the Tuke family. William Tuke founded The Retreat in York, the first humane and scientific hospital for the care of the mentally ill.
25 years ago
Inter-City electric trains, which British Rail said would take it into the next century, would be running between London and Leeds a year earlier than expected. But BR had stressed that the leap ahead in schedule would not affect the May 1991 date set for the Electra locomotives to come to York.
Inter-City management were delighted that work on electrifying the East Coast Main Line was so far ahead, with the first electric trains travelling between Leeds and London the following August, instead of October 1989. When the full East Coast electrification scheme was completed in 1991, time reductions would follow, including 35 minutes off the London-Edinburgh schedule.
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