100 years ago

When an Englishwoman married a foreigner she assumed the nationality of her husband. If he died she still retained his nationality until she secured her naturalisation papers, which hitherto had cost £5 5s.

The British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act, which would shortly come into force, had reduced the fee to 5s, and it was expected that many poor English widows of Germans who had died in the war would gladly avail themselves of the provisions of the new Act.

50 years ago

Last year, more than 12,000 articles of lost property arrived at the North Eastern Region's depot at York Station. Ninety per cent of that was never claimed. It was sold at public auction.

The losers? British Railways!

“We don't financially cover ourselves. But it is the service to the public in which we take pride,” said Mr Leonard Holmes, claims officer for the region.

“It amazes me that things, not necessarily of high value, but of value to the individual, like spectacles and keys, should go unclaimed. But they are not. It is far more trouble to those looking after the items for six months, than getting them back to the owner.

"For each item, down to the lone glove or the battered pipe, has to be ticketed and registered to show where it was found and when. A record is also kept of the price an unclaimed item realises at the auction.”

Whereas the police and other lost property departments waited for someone to collect, British Railways felt they had an obligation to find the owner. Details of recovered property were circulated throughout the other regions. “If, when we have sold something, the owner comes and can prove that it was his – even five or ten years after – he still gets some money.”

25 years ago

As the clock struck 12 on New Year's Eve, revellers in Askham Bryan would be listening for the sound of the village's mystery bagpiper.

They would wait to see if the phantom player would pipe in the new decade from his favourite practice place at the edge of the village. Mrs Mary Carbert wanted to see him, but he always seemed to escape her.

“Several people have told me they have heard the bagpipes, but no one seems to know who the piper is. He obviously doesn't like playing at home – maybe he annoys the neighbours. But no one here seems to mind. My husband said it sounded lovely, and the dog pricked up his ears to listen.”

Mrs Barbara Merry landlady of the Nag's Head pub, said: “If I do find out who he is, I'll book him for our New Year's Eve party.”