Friday, 21 February 2014

OTLEY West Yorkshire 5

Otley has a multitude of activities throughout the year.
Otley Agricultural Show, said to be the oldest one day show in the country. Established in 1796 it is held annually in May.
The town Carnival which is held in June is a very popular event and in 2014 will be the start of a two week build up to The Tour de France.

The town is particularly associated with cycling and each year in June there is a cycle race round the streets.  In 2014 it will be held a bit later to coincide with
The Grand Depart of the prestigious Tour de France cycle race which will
pass through Otley.




The town received a boost when local girl Lizzie Armitstead won a silver medal
for cycling in the 1012 Olympic games in London and she received a tumultuous reception on her return home.

Otley Folk Festival is held in September whilst the ever popular Victorian Christmas Fayre takes place in December in the run up to Christmas.
At Easter each year the combined Otley churches erect a huge wooden cross,
30 feet high with a span of 16 feet, on The Chevin.
A plaque reads :
This cross which is erected every Easter reminds us of the eternal love  God has for every person. It is made from wood salvaged from the Manchester bomb outrage on 15th June 1996.
Otley is close to Leeds Bradford Airport situated just south of The Chevin,  but fortunately most of the air traffic travels to the south away from the town.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

OTLEY West Yorkshire 4



Manor Square leads us to the old Manor House.
 The former Royal White Horse Hotel is now converted into a bank and apartments. This imposing building was built in 1865 on an earlier foundation. It acquired its Royal prefix when Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught stayed there in 1876. It closed down in 1973.


The Manor House stands on or near to the former residence of the Archbishop's of York. King Athelstan (924-940) granted the Manor of Otley
to the Archbishop's of York who in later years granted burgage plots on Boroughgate, Walkergate, Kirkgate and Bondgate,
when the town began to prosper.

A small portion of road after Manor Square is called Clapgate where the old Grammar School building stands on the site of an earlier foundation dating to 1607. Known as Prince Henry's Grammar School after The Prince of Wales, it was endowed by Henry Cave. The present building was built from the older material in 1840 and closed in  1874. At the beginning of the 19th century the building was also used as a church courthouse and a relic of this time is Gallows Hill on the Pool Road where executions, sanctioned by The Archbishop, took place. The last person to be hanged there was in 1614. The Grammar School was also used as a town courthouse until a new courthouse and police station were built nearby.

This name above the door of an adjacent building recalls that it was once the Royal Oak pub and dates to c1651. The pub closed in 1971
and now contains offices.
On the other side of the road is the entrance to Bay Horse Court which exits through a passageway to the Market Place. The old pub stables are situated in this courtyard together with a number of small shops.
Courthouse Street
The 'new' courthouse and police station were built in Courthouse Street in the mid 19th century and closed down in 1997. The complex is now an arts centre and from time to time it is possible to visit the old cells. 
Otley has long been used by television companies and many episodes of Emerdale and Heartbeat have been filmed here. Known as Ashfordly in Heartbeat the old police station was a regular feature of the programme.
Cattle Market Street reminds us that the area behind the old courthouse was once one of Otley's cattle market's. Today the large open space is used as a car park.
Bridge Street leads down to the River and was originally called Northgate.
Two more of Otley's pubs are in this street.
The Horse and Farrier and The Bridge.
Fish and chips are still popular in Otley where at least six such shops
 are still trading.
 The stone  7 arch bridge over the River Wharfe, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, carries the B6451 over the river to link the two halves of Otley. The eastern part of the bridge dates back to 1228 when the Archbishop had it built to provide a more direct route to York. It was substantially rebuilt and widened in 1775-6 and the pedestrian walkway was added in 1957.
Wharfemeadows Park on the north  side of the river is a substantial
recreational area which starts with gardens and the park extends along the river bank with bowling green, children's play area, tennis courts and exercise area.

The first Wharfedale printing machine was invented in Otley by David Payne in 1858. A crucial step forward in printing, this one stop cylinder machine had a travelling bed which could deliver continuous print without having to stop between impressions. By the end of the century 2000 people worked for ten firms in Otley to produce this machine for world wide exportation and the industry continued until the 1980's.
A sandstone replica, commisioned by Otley Town Council, sculpted and designed by Shane Green Head of Art at Prince Henry's School, was unveiled at Wharfedale Meadows in 2012 to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee
There is a large children's play area but sadly the former open air swimming pool
is now derelict.

 The town has a thriving brass band which performs at various venues throughout the year In the summer months the band occasionally gives an
open air concert in the park.
The weir serves a working paper mill which is on the site of the 12th century manorial corn mill. It retains the original water channels.
A small promenade on the south side of the river along Mill Lane is known as Tittybottle Park, so named it is said because of its popularity with generations of mother's, babies and perambulators.

The area to the north of the river is mainly residential but is also the location of the present Prince Henry's Grammar School, now an Academy, and the modern Wharfedale Hospital situate alongside the old hospital which is now closed and awaiting development.

Old and new hospitals


Monday, 17 February 2014

OTLEY West Yorkshire 3

At the junction with Bondgate and Crossgate is the War Memorial Garden where there is a replica of one of the Saxon crosses whose fragments are preserved in the Parish Church.
On the other side of Crossgate, The Old Cock is one of Otley's newest pubs.
The building was originally two cottages which were built in 1755 but in the late 19th century it was converted into one dwelling. In 2010 the fully restored building was opened as an independent real ale freehouse and in 2011and 2012 was named Leeds Camra pub of the year.
Crossgate leads to the bus station and thence to
the junction with Boroughgate.
Alongside the bus station at the end of Mercury Row is a
fine Georgian town house which dates to 1800 and which adjoins
a courtyard complex
Opposite the bus station in Nelson Street is the post office and a new library
which contains the tourist information desk
The bus station now forms part of a modern development, Orchard Gate,
with a courtyard which leads through to Newmarket, Market Street
and the Market Place.
The original bus station was built in 1938 by Legard's bus company and The West Riding County Council. Prior to the modern development there was no through road between Bondgate and Boroughgate.


Saturday, 15 February 2014

OTLEY West Yorkshire 2

At the end of Kirkgate there is a crossroads. Burras Lane, the road to the right climbs up past the church, through modern housing and onto West Chevin Road which climbs steeply up the west end of the Chevin and over to
Menston and Guiseley.
Burras Lane also connects to West Gate and the roads to Ilkley and Bradford.
At the same point, Station Road ahead slopes up towards The Chevin and ends at the point where the railway station once stood. A branch line to Otley was opened in 1865 and closed in 1963 following the Beeching report.
The line of the old railway forms the A660 bypass road which opened in 1984 and a footbridge crosses this road to give access to a footpath which climbs steeply to the top of The Chevin.



Spectacular views are to be seen from The Chevin over the town.

View from the by-pass towards the town

Back at the crossroads Bondgate leads to the Leeds road.

Immediately on the right, a sign on a tea shop declares that it was once the home of Thomas Chippindale.

Thomas Chippendale, the celebrated cabinet maker was indeed christened at Otley Parish Church on 5th June 1718. A sign on a building in Boroughgate at the Junction with Wesley Street, declares that Chippendale , the son of an Otley carpenter, was born in a cottage formerly on that site.

 There is also a fine statue of Chippendale outside the Old Grammar School in Manor Square.



On the left the old Woolpack Inn closed down in 2009 and is now an arts centre.
The old pub sign still remains.

The narrow street at the side of the Woolpack leads to Mercury Row and gives a good impression of the ambience of this area.

A little further on just past The Woolpack is Newmarket which leads back down to the Market Place. It is a narrow street with minimal traffic. With small shops and tea rooms it is a good place to meander.


Looking back we see nice views to The Chevin with Sainsbury's supermarket in the background.

The Ring O Bells pub on the right has recently changed its name to
The Otley Tavern.

On the left corner the ever popular Wetherspoons is called
The Bowling Green a Grade 11 listed building which dates to 1747.

Sainsbury's large car park  has an exit into Gay Lane which is the way out of town on the Leeds road.