VR1 – Heavy Snow, Rawdon, 1960s.
|Title||A Memory of Heavy Snow|
|Written By||Val Ryan|
“One of the advantages of living at the highest point in Rawdon was the amazing panoramic views we had from our back windows. There was always something interesting to see and I would lay in bed as a child and look across to Otley Chevin with a clear view on a good day of the Royalty Inn lights twinkling at night. Watch planes take off and land at Yeadon Airport, count the diminishing mill chimneys and see through to Guiseley, Menston and to Ilkley and the hills and moors beyond.
In this beautiful photo taken in heavy snow we can see on the far right the bungalow occupied by Mr & Mrs Helmsley and Janet and Edward (they kept rabbits in the large hut to the right and occasionally popped one in the pot!) . In front of this are the outbuildings and allotments kept by a really lovely man called Jim Holliday (our local Desperate Dan) he lived with his wife in the right semi detached in view, that was in Batter Lane, next door were the Exleys. Then on the opposite side of Batter Lane the two buildings to the left of the photo were originally a farm (see the arched barn door) and are some of the oldest properties in Rawdon, the cottage to the right Stonycroft was occupied by the Milners, Phyllis and Wilfred, both teachers and their children Alistair and Gail. The farmhouse far left was not farmed at this time, but the large field in the foreground was part of the farmland. We used to rent a small plot where my dad grew vegetables and fruit. Sheila Ryder who was in the bungalow opposite our house kept her horse there and we would ride it and play in the field in summer.
Sadly the farm was sold and the land passed to developers and there is now housing on the site which must have changed this view forever. We spent many happy years in this house, it was bitterly cold in winter with no central heating in those days and windows would ice up on the inside and the outside. Huge icicles would hang from the guttering all round and many a winter we had to dig ourselves out of the side and front door.
My mother Renie Hoare, who was a poet and used to perform for local societies and the Darby and Joan Clubs and was also on Yorkshire TV and Radio Leeds wrote a poem about this house which she loved very much. She was so sad when she had to move to a smaller property in Canada Road in the early 1970’s, after my father died in 1966. They had lived there since shortly after my birth in 1945. I missed going home there to visit after I moved to London.
Here is the poem that sums up her love of this house and it’s unique views.
From the Top of the Hill
At my bedroom window I stand,
Looking, just looking
Across the land.
Watching the clouds as they hurry by,
Covering, just covering
A spot of blue sky.
Here in my house at the top of the hill
Watching, just watching
And getting my fill
Of the beauty I see, in sunshine or gale.
Wondering, just wondering,
Will it never grow stale.
It thrills me each time I gaze on this view,
Alert and attentive
I see it anew.
Seasons transform it, as they vary the tree.
It costs me nothing,
Like the air – it is free.
Renie Hoare “
Consolidated by Jack Brayshaw. 23 August 2022.
Last updated: 23 August 2022.