SADLY, the question of rats, and the catching of, is a subject that is not commonly discussed by Craven councillors these days. But 100 years ago, the passing of the Rats Order 1918, under defence of the realm regulations, was the subject of much lively discussion. The act gave local authorities the power to go onto private land where there was a rat infestation and sort it out themselves, if the land or property owner was not up to the job. In the early part of 1919, Silsden Urban District Council had just received a copy of the act - not that the councillors seemed to think they would have to step in. After explaining that the purpose of the act was to exterminate the vermin, especially if they were eating food meant for people, the chairman thought it would be entirely unnecessary to use the act in Silsden, as there were plenty of people about who were more than capable of the job. “There are plenty of young and middle aged persons in Silsden who will look after the rats if they are given notice, I don’t think we need to take any action,” he said, adding: “I have seen them going rat hunting; in fact I had a hand at it myself, and I liked the fun.” Another councillor said farmers were troubled with rats and added he had had a lot of sport killing the vermin on farms. In fact, under the order twopence was given for every rat killed, so ‘ratters’ would be well paid for their work.

THERE was a distinct lack of sympathy for a homeless man caught begging in Skipton in April 1919. The Craven Herald reported that the man - a James Ishmal - was charged with begging for alms and appeared at Skipton Petty Sessions, from where he was packed off to prison for a month. Giving evidence in court, PC Markham said he received several complaints about the man begging, including knocking on doors in Gargrave Road. He was duly arrested, and told the officer that he had just come out of prison, had just 10p in cash, and some bread and tea. He told the officer he had not worked, since ‘last hay-time’, a claim the officer said he could well believe, adding that he had not ‘in all his experience’ seen such a ‘filthy creature’. He had had to put the man in a cell, without a rug, and then to Skipton Workhouse to be ‘disinfected’ and for all his clothes to be burned. The officer continued he believed Mr Ishmal had not washed for 12 months and that there were ‘millions’ of lice on him. The police cell also had to be disinfected after the unfortunate man had been in it.

A NUMBER of roadshows to do with May’s Tour de Yorkshire cycle race - which will once again be heading through Craven - has been announced.

The nearest to Craven will be in Harrogate on Thursday, March 21, and in Otley, on Thursday, April 4.

The roadshows are organised in partnership with local councils and offer a whole host of information, not just on the race itself, but on the publicity caravan, sportive, and various other community engagement initiatives.

There is also a dedicated section on how businesses and community groups can make the most of the race passing through, and an opportunity for people to ask any questions they might have about this year’s event.

Sir Gary Verity DL, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “The Tour de Yorkshire wouldn’t be what it is without the tremendous support of people right across the county, and these roadshows help them get fully informed and excited about the race.

“They also offer tips on how to benefit from the massive influx of people that will visit Yorkshire over the four days of action, and how we can celebrate our county in front of a truly global audience.

“The roadshows we have hosted so far this year have been a huge success and I am pleased that more have been added to the calendar so we can get even more people involved.”

To find out more,

LATER this month will see celebrations to mark the bicentenary of the Baptist Church in Earby.

The ‘church’ began in 1819 with members meeting in one another’s homes. The first pastor, William Wilkinson, walked to London and back, calling at Baptist Churches on the way to raise funds to build the first chapel in Earby,off Red Lion Street. Several decades later a larger church building was needed so a piece of land was bought on Water Street and work on Mount Zion chapel began. This larger chapel was demolished in the early 1980s and the church is now part of the West Craven Baptist Fellowship and meets in the old Sunday School building.

During its 200-year history, the church has made significant contributions to life in Earby, organising musical shows and entertainments, boys and girls brigade and serving hot lunches during winter months. The popular parent and toddler group, which meets on Wednesday mornings, has been running for more than 30 years.

The church will celebrate its bicentenary with an open day on Saturday, March, 30 from10 am until 4 pm featuring an exhibition of photographs and other memorabilia, information about current activities and the church’s hopes for the future. Children from Earby Springfield school have been learning about the history of the church from church secretary, Julie Bryan (pictured here with some of the children) , and some of their work will also be on display.

Continuing the church’s musical history, there will be entertainment provided by Border Harmony Choir and a ukulele group. Lunch and light refreshments will be served and all are invited to attend.

On the following day, a Service of Celebration will take place for all the churches in Earby.

WOMEN in Craven are being encouraged to apply for a bursary to help them establish a career as an electrician. Launched on last week’s International Women’s Day, the country’s leading body for registered electricians, NICEIC, wants to see more females become part of the electrical sector. The bursary offers grants to women already working as an electrician or those looking to get a helping hand at the start of their career. It is open to females of all ages and the grant can help cover training, equipment or other associated costs up to a maximum of £500.

Now in its second year, the bursary forms part of NICEIC’s wider ‘Jobs for the Girls’ campaign, which was set up in 2011. It aims to educate women on the opportunities available to them in the electrical trade, as well as dispel the myth that it’s a job only suited to men.You can apply for the bursary on the NICEIC website: The closing deadline for entries is April 30.

CRAVEN youngsters are being urged to enter the Young Pea Chef of the Year competition. Run by the Yes Peas campaign, it is back with a bang for a fourth year after teaming up with The Ocado Foundation, to launch the nationwide cooking competition to find the country’s next top chefs.

There are three separate categories, year six - four to 11 year olds; Secondary School Years 7-8; 11 to 13 years olds, and Secondary School Years 9 to 11, 13 to 16 year olds. Each winner will receive a £500 donation for their school to fund ‘Grow-Your-Own’ projects, as well as a personalised cooking hamper for the winning chef worth £50. School children are invited to create a delicious dish using Britain’s favourite family vegetable. The competition aims to challenge budding young chefs to develop a healthy and delicious recipe which includes the Great British pea as the star of the show. Entries close on April 26. To find out more, visit: For pea recipe examples, visit: