IT generally comes as a shock to most people - those unfamiliar with old newspapers anyway - that news stories were frequently more graphic and more full of lurid detail than they are now.

Even the Craven Herald would include much more detail of a murder case or inquest in its mission to tell all, no holds barred.

My son still smarts at how when sharing this information with a teacher at his primary school, he was told it was nonsense and he must have got it wrong.

A prime example of this, I was fascinated to come across in the Craven Herald 75 years ago, of December 13, 1946, the tale of the headmistress of Tosside village school who had been named respondent in a divorce case.

Everyone involved was named of course, not that I shall - family members may well still be around - and included the unhappy couple themselves, another woman, and a man, who was by then, stationed in Rome.

So, at the Lincoln Assizes, following a four day hearing, the husband of the headmistress, himself a school master of 25 years standing, was granted a degree nisi on the grounds of his wife’s ‘mental cruelty’ - her claim that her husband had committed adultery himself was dismissed.

I’m guessing Leeds Assizes was packed for the four days as details of orgies, sexual depravity and more, came to light - goodness knows what tiny Tosside thought.

The commissioner at the hearing said the unfortunate headmistress was a woman who ‘took delight in boasting and vaunting her conquests’.

Throughout the marriage she had carried out things with the deliberate intention of humiliating her husband,m stormed the commissioner.

She was, he added, a woman of ‘abnormal sexual inclinations’ and of a ‘depravity the like of which he had not previously encountered.

He was however unconvinced that the shows as described by the headmistress with her husband present, were of her vivid imagination.

Not denied was her affair with a manager of a shop in Lincoln that she ended after discovering he was married, and her husband’s affair with another woman, who he had apparently turned to in ‘times of stress’. Goodness.

SKIPTON’S professional orchestra, Camerata, will tomorrow evening (Friday) perform Handel’s Messiah in the very splendid newly restored concert hall of Skipton Town Hall. But, will the audience all rise to their feet for the singing of the rousing Hallelujah chorus I wonder?

For many, many years, it seems, Messiah has been very much part of the Christmas festivities in Craven - as well as across Yorkshire and Lancashire.

In the December 13, 1946 edition of the Craven Herald, the diary writer doubted if there was anywhere in Yorkshire, or even England, where the Messiah tradition was as rigidly observed as in Craven - there being performances going on in church halls and other venues across the area.

And, continued the writer at the time, just where did the tradition of the entire audience standing for the Hallelujah chorus begin? One idea was it had been started way back in 1750 with King George II who had spontaneously risen to his feet - and had been swiftly followed by everyone else.

Ben Crick, conductor of the Camerata, tells me the tradition is still carried on, and people still rise to their feet, and it always catches him out. So, if you are lucky enough to have a ticket for Friday’s concert, be prepared to get to your feet.

ON a different note, in the same edition of the Craven Herald, of 1946, it was reported how five year old Melvyn Booth, was ‘attacked and knocked down’ by a cow while he was minding his own business and playing in the playground of Christ Church School, Skipton.

He received head injuries and suffered from shock but was said to be progressing well.

The cow, belonging to a Mr Blewitt of Bradley, was being driven to Cavendish Street from the auction market when it broke away from the herd and rushed into the school playground.

ONE has to sympathise with those responsible for Craven’s bridges - whether it be North Yorkshire County Council Highways, or the Canal and River Trust, they really do get a battering from motorists who for one reason or another, lose control of their vehicles and end up crashing into the often listed structures.

‘Red Bridge’ as it is known, pictured here, is over Otterburn Beck, a feeder of the River Aire, at Bell Busk, near Coniston Cold.

Being as it is, on a tricky bend on a back road to Malham, its not the first time it has suffered a knock, but the latest is the worst for some time. By all accounts, it was hit once during the snow that fell after Storm Arwen and then again, and by something pretty large by the look of it.

North Yorkshire councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for highways, tells me the damage has been reported to both the highways and bridges teams.

Hopefully, it will be sorted more quickly than the Canal and River Trust bridge over the canal between Gargrave and Bank Newton, which was badly damaged well over a year ago now and remains unfixed with parts of the parapet in the shrubbery below.

MEANWHILE, 100 years ago, on December 9, 1921, a ‘Mile of pennies’, was opened in Skipton for the benefit of the war memorial fund. The total collected represented 15,709 pennies.

AND, 50 years ago, the dedication of the new Sutton-in-Craven Baptist Church took place. More than £8,000 was raised since 1967 to build the new church, designed by architect, Alan Eden of Bradford.