FORMER ‘Mod’ Francis ‘Fran’ O’Brien from Skipton has been sharing with me some more of his memories as a teenager in the swinging sixties and how he and one of his friends decided to hitch hike to London to see the world famous centre of fashion and Mod culture at the time, Carnaby Street.

“While on mid-60’s school, summer holiday, with my friends, on the Norfolk Broads and Great Yarmouth, Brian ‘Chum’ Smith and I had developed a thirst for more of the ‘Swingin’ 60’s Action’, and instead of travelling home with our friends and with little money left in our pockets, earned from hay-timing at Joe Wilman’s farm off Otley Road - now T.N Cook - we decided to hitch-hike to London to see and walk long the most famous street in the world at the time, London’s Carnaby Street which was the place to be seen for 60’s mod-culture shopping,” says Francis.

“After taking in the amazing atmosphere of this 60’s fashion, crazy street, we then decided to hitch-hike all around the south east coastline sleeping on beaches overnight at various sea-side resorts and even sleeping one night in a derelict building, in Margate, after been moved off the beach by the local “law”.

But, their ultimate aim, however, was to reach Brighton, as the resort was the main south coast resort for ‘Swingin’ 60’s action’.

“The resort was renowned for its ‘60’s Mod Culture’ and indeed became the film location for the now folk-lore 1979 film, ‘Quadrophenia’. After several weeks of fulfilling our dreams and virtually no money between us, it was time to leave buzzing Brighton and hitch-hike all the way home to the back-waters of Skipton.

“Once home, it was back to our paper-rounds for ‘Chums’ parent’s family newsagent’s business J. & S. Smith & Son on Swadford Street - now The News Shop. Fond memories of a unique ‘My Generation’ era.”

SETTLE has made great use of one of its former BT telephone boxes. Now its ‘gallery on the green’ is is believed to be the world’s first smallest art gallery and has played host to many artists, including Queen guitarist, Brian May, since it was one of the first to be put to an alternative use in 2009.

In addition to Brian May, who has exhibited photographs twice at the gallery, the former BT box has played host to photographers Martin Parr and Eamon McCabe, and the work of local students and craft groups.

When it first opened, it made national and international news, made it on to BBC Breakfast and National Geographic , and a report in a South Korean publication even led to a group of students from the country visiting the gallery.

During the coronavirus pandemic it has managed to stay open - it size, only one person can enter at a time, meaning it is naturally Covid-safe, and so providing a welcome stop off point for people taking their daily exercise.

There are however, still many redundant and unloved former telephone boxes still wanting a home - and 25 in Craven have now been added to BT’s ‘adopt a kiosk’ scheme.

Communities can take on one of the red phone boxes for just £1, and the opportunities are endless says BT - from the more common libraries and life-saving defibrillators, to Settle’s more imaginative art gallery, although not every community can guarantee getting such well known exhibitors.

BT says since 2008, 443 phone boxes across Yorkshire and the Humber have been taken on by communities, and once a lifeline of communication before the arrival of mobile phone networks, have been transformed into everything from defibrillator units and mini history museums to art galleries and book exchanges.

BT will also consider adoption requests to house defibrillators in modern glass phone boxes, a potentially life-saving conversion.

Sarah Walker, BT Enterprise unit director for the North of England, said: “With most people now using mobile phones, it’s led to a huge drop in the number of calls made from payphones. At the same time, mobile coverage has improved significantly in recent years due to investment in masts, particularly in rural areas.

“We’re currently rationalising our payphone estate to make it fit for the future, and the ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme makes it possible for local communities to retain their local phone box, with a refreshed purpose for the community.

“Thousands of communities have already come up with a fantastic array of ideas to re-use their beloved local phone box. Applying is quick and easy and we’re always happy to speak to communities about adopting our phone boxes.”

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RESIDENTS at Threshfield Court Care Home, in Threshfield, were able to enjoy Mother’s Day this year with a home decorated with fresh flowers and bunting.

Staff organised individual flower arrangements to be presented to each of the women residents, while beautifully decorated vases were individually labelled.

Families ad friends could also chat with mums using an IPad.

Duty Chef , Karl Phillips also prepared a special menu which included a full roast dinner with all the trimmings served with a glass of sherry.

Stacey Nicholson, the Barchester Healthcare home’s senior general manager, said “We’ve all had a really lovely day. Although Mother’s Day has had to be a bit different this year, some of our mums have had video calls using an IPad with their families and friends”.

Jean Moxham a resident at Threshfield Court Care Home added: “I am so grateful to the staff here who try so hard to make days like this extra special for us all and it was wonderful to be able to see my family safely using the visiting video call.”

50 YEARS ago, towards the end of March, 1971, the Craven Herald sent one of its reporters around to the ‘progressive’ Barnoldswick bedding and furniture maker, Silentnight, which had put out an appeal for more workers.

Under the headline ‘Silentnight need more men to lead expansion’, the report outlined what was on offer at the business and how it was struggling to find the right people.

In a ‘two hour interview’ - those were the days - the Herald’s West Craven correspondent discussed the future of the firm with its board of directors. At the time, it was hoped that the new luxury chairs and three piece suites in the middle price range would equal the success of the bedding department. And, it hoped that would mean an additional 200 employees. They were also looking at overseas opportunities with managing director Tom Clarke off to South Africa to explore new possibilities.

But, the immediate problem facing the company was the problem of recruiting the ‘right kind of young person’. The right kind of person was someone who would be a senior executive by the age of about 35 and after finishing the first rung of the managerial ladder could hope for a salary of about £1,300.

Directors wanted to dispel the image of the Silentnight ‘sweatshop’ and although they made no secret of the fact they expected and insisted on a fay day’s work for a fair day’s pay, they were open to many new openings and opportunities in the company.

Computers, the latest in office machinery, and machines imported from all over the world, made in Britain or built in the factory, all gave an impression of dynamism, said the Herald correspondent, adding that the company wanted ‘dynamic young men with sound education’.