THERE are some truly wonderful hats in this picture of a Gargrave wedding of more than 100 years ago - and not just those worn by the ladies.

Ann Bell, who has kindly shared the photograph with us, tells us it was taken on October 19, 1910 outside the Anchor Inn; the wedding itself took place at St Andrew’s Church.

Getting married were Martha Bell, who lived from 1883 to 1970, and John William Wilkinson, who was born in 1884, and who died long before his wife, in 1942.

Martha was the second daughter and one of six children of Jacob Bell (1855 to 1906) and Margaret Wilkinson (1850 to1924). Jacob and Margaret were Ann’s great grandparents.

Both mother and daughter were pub licensees.

The groom, John William Wilkinson was the second son and one of seven children of James Wilkinson (1856 to 1917) and Elizabeth Ann Bridges (1858 to 1908).

Around 1902, Jacob moved his family from The Craven Heifer Hotel, Kelbrook where he had been an innkeeper and farmer to The Anchor Inn, Gargrave where he was again innkeeper and farmer until his death in September 1906. His wife, Margaret then became licensee for almost 20 years until her death in 1924. Her name can be seen over the door of the inn behind the wedding group.

Meanwhile, the Wilkinson family had a long association with the Coach and Horses, Bolton by Bowland starting with James in at least 1891 through to the 1960’s. Martha carried on running the establishment along with her eldest son George Edward Wilkinson after John William’s death in 1942.

Martha and John’s wedding took place at St Andrew’s Church, Gargrave and the only people who can be identified with any certainty says Ann are from left to right, John Wilkinson (son of Margaret Bell nee Wilkinson), Margaret Bell nee Wilkinson, Annie Bell, the bride Martha Bell.

“I believe the male on the very right of the front row to be James Wilkinson father of the groom and suspect the man to the right of Martha will be George Edward,” adds Ann.

On the second row, from left, is William Wilkinson and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Bell. Mary Elizabeth was one of two children born to Jacob Bell and his first wife Ellen Stott. The male with the bowler hat is Edward Bell and standing next to him is his sister Margaret Bell.

MY picture of the week is this of a heron in flight taken by Brian Stott of Skipton. Brian tells me he took the photo while at the Bolton Abbey Estate, near to the Cavendish Pavilion. I can’t be the only one to have noticed that heron appear to be increasing in numbers; and in fact they are.

The British Trust for Ornithology says in 2019 there were 9,998 apparently occupied heron nests in the UK. The charity puts the steady increase in numbers, which can be stalled by harsh winters, down to several contributory factors, including improvements in water quality, a reduction in persecution and a growing number of suitable nesting and feeding sites as gravel pits having been flooded and restored.

They eat mostly fish but also take amphibians and small mammals, with small quantities of reptiles, insects, crustaceans, molluscs, worms and birds. I was recently told of a heron picking off frogs from a pond and have been sent a picture of one eating a mole -imagine the patience needed for that!

Some years back, I also knew of the owner of a small lake which was full of very expensive and very large koi carp - heron were very regular visitors and kept returning, however many decoys they placed around the edge of the lake.

50 YEARS ago, in April, 1972, efforts were being made to encourage more overseas visitors to the Dales. The then director of the Yorkshire Tourist Board at a meeting at Skipton Town Hall said of the eight million foreigners who visited Britain, only 20 per cent left London.

Mr Whitaker told the audience: “We must get the tourist out of London into Yorkshire, or we are going to lose very heavily. When the tourists are travelling up the motorways from London we must put a mental S-bend in their minds and try and stop them just passing through Yorkshire.”

One man suggested the reason why tourists were steering clear of Yorkshire was because of a lack of modern hotels with up to date facilities.

Chairman of the Yorkshire Dales Tourist Association, Major R J Allan said Dales hotels did not lend themselves to modernisation. It was, he said, the character of the inns and boarding houses that attracted visitors.”A tourist can get a good night’s sleep, dinner and bed and breakfast for £3, you can’t get a bun and a cup of tea in the West End of London for that,” he said.

Major Allan said there had been some complaints of sub-standard accommodation in the Dales that had been fully justified.

The Skipton Joint Tourism Committee, part of Skipton Urban Council, had undertaken an exhaustive survey to ascertain whether there was a need for a modern type of hotel on the lines of the Post House hotels with about 50 bedrooms. The result was quite clearly that there was a growing demand for high class hotel accommodation which at the time could not be met. It meant visitors going instead to Ilkley, Harrogate and Bradford.

One Skipton councillor said how he had just returned from Germany and he felt that the Common Market would encourage a great interchange of visitors to the Yorkshire Dales. All in all, he said, the future of the tourist industry have never looked so bright or encouraging. It was, he said, the second largest employer in the country, and it was in the interest of local authorities to encourage tourism.