BOTH these pictures are of the canal basin in Skipton, although the older is looking towards Belmont Bridge, and the modern one, looking towards Coach Street.

Seen in the older picture is the crane on the dockside, which along with its pivot, is still there. According to information posted on the Rowley-Ellwood website, where it appears, there was also a stone block, that was used as a counterweight. It was positioned several feet in the air, jutting out from the rear of the crane.

One contributor to the website wrote that up until about 1960, there was a banana ripening shed towards the right of the picture, which was owned by a Robert Bailey, a wholesale fruit and vegetable merchant.

RE Bailey and Sons fruit and vegetable merchants were based in a building near to the canal basin and originally a tallow factory before becoming part of the complex of Tom Lumb paper merchants. Another of the contributors to the Rowley website commented how his uncle, who drove for Bailey’s, recalled how once a spider as big as his hand had crawled out from some bananas.

The whole of the canal basin has recently undergone a transformation, along with the town centre towpaths, with new paving, signs, planters and seating.

It is also home to a statue of Freddie Trueman, for many, cricket’s greatest fast bowler of all time. Trueman, who lived in Flasby, was the first test cricketer to reach 300 wickets. One of the last engagements he carried out before he died in 2006 was to turn on the Christmas lights in Skipton.

Old photograph reproduced by kind permission of the Ellwood family, Mrs V. Rowley, and North Yorkshire County Council, Skipton Library