Village Web Site Forum

Denis Pickles
Monday, January 22, 2007 18:25
Fishing in the Beck
Do youngsters still take their fishing nets and jam jars down to the beck and try to catch sticklebacks, red bellies and bullheads? Our favourite fishing place was just below the 1900 Bridge where the water was shallow enough to wade wearing wellies and where there were a number of big stones on which to kneel whilst peering into the water. Glusburn beck proved to be the best 'fishing ground' but Sutton beck, where it runs alongside the park wasn't too bad!
kevin mcvay
Wednesday, January 24, 2007 08:08
Aaaah those memories of wading up the beck in summer, leaving a jam jar filled with bread to catch sticklebacks and minnows, taking them home to find they'd died overnight, why you'd wonder? mother telling you to get rid of them, dad saying when i was your age it was down near the sutton alloments, deeper water, better fish, i still say under the park bridge bottom entrance or the sluice gates between holme bridge and where the mill was. circa 1966 (i remember the year very well something to do with football)
Denis Pickles
Wednesday, January 24, 2007 10:24
Glad somebody remembers those simple childhood pleasures. The catch never lasted for more than a few hours did it? But do the kids go fishing nowadays or are the 'risks' too great?
Our gang rarely ventured into the stretch of beck your Dad mentioned ie downstream of Holme Bridge. There was always a danger of getting involved in gang warfare with the 'Holmebridgers' who regarded that area as their territory. Mind you, the 'Glusburnites' were a similar threat on the Sutton Fields side of the beck.
I never remember catching anything in the Clough beck, [apart from cadis fly larvae] though my Dad, who lived at Wood Vale Farm [Smelt] in the early 1900's used to talk about tickling brown trout up there.
Did your dad work at the Co-op Kevin?
kevin mcvay
Friday, January 26, 2007 01:04
hi denis from wollongong australia, my late father Barry McVay worked in Keighley as an architectural/surveyour before emigrating to oz with the family in 1969. his father and my grandfather Tommy McVay did work in the co-op at one stage but he had retired due to ill health well before my memories of him start to materialise. they lived at 8 harker st sutton and grandma Mary McVay used to work in the mending room at the mill (with my mum who worked there part time) and also at the retirement home? next to the vicarage? on the high street, (i think it was run by the Irwins) hope my memory is right after all these years. Tickling brown trout eh! (our gang) from eastfield place and Gordon st were pretty succsessful at that in the part of the beck? that used to pass by/go through Sutton House, if you dared!! we were only kids and didn't know there was a word called tresspassing! same as raiding the allotments at Glusburn and Sutton for peas in the pod and strawberries on late summer nights.
Bruce Walker
Saturday, February 10, 2007 10:01
Greetings from Geelong, Australia.
Wow it does bring back the memories reading from the forum. We were lucky our boundaries were not blocked by gangs or areas of turf and we as kids up to young adults fished Glusburn beck well up past 'The 10 ft pool' and 'The Bethney' (behind Malsis school) down to the river Aire. I remember some great trout holes. I always found early morning the best and most rewarding time. Although a bit of rain and colour in the water always helped. I would be on my way while it was still dark and knock on the bedroom windows of my mates with the end of my fishing rod because as usual they would of slept in!! Places like the 'root pool' really were worth getting up for. I took a 21 inch Brownie from that place one 4.00am!! I had many a happy hour fishing Glusburn beck. But the beauty and tranquil surroundings of our village always made the walk home worth while with an empty catch bag!!
Denis Pickles
Monday, February 12, 2007 16:28
Na'then Bruce! It sounds as though your type of fishing and mine were 'poles' apart! The fishing we did was perhaps up to the age of 8 or 9. We used simple nets - nothing as sophisticated as a proper fishing rod. I suspect that we are a few generations apart - my fishing was done during the war years.
And let me put your mind at rest re my reference to gang warfare [The Glusburnites, Holme Bridgers, etc.]. It didn't amount to much more than shouting and posturing - perhaps the odd stone was thrown. The confrontations with the Holme Bridgers usually took place in the field adjacent to the Baptist Chapel. We took the high ground where the household refuse from Sutton was deposited [ie the tip]. The others lined up on the flat piece of land where the Sunday School Sports used to be held. Lots of name calling,waving of arms and then we retreated back upthe field to Hazel Grove just like the Zulu warriors did in the Michael Caine film Zulu.

I suspect that nobody fishes in the beck these days.
David Laycock in Melbourne
Thursday, March 1, 2007 12:00
Fishing in Glusburn beck, now that does bring back a few memories. We lived at Grag View,not far from Dennis and the "beck".
I used to look forward to the heavy rains as it put the beck in spate and coloured it so we could get closer and fish our with our worms we had kept in moss to toughen them up.
It usually got one or two brownies we hadn't been able to get close to! It was good to be able to take them home to mum, and Martha Stell who lived next but one, mind you we had to soak them in salt water o/night to clean the muddy taste out. There was was only one problem a chap called ? Robinson (lived at the first house next to the "waste piece" as we new it) kept catching us and told us it was private fishing. This was correct cos it was in Horsefall's woods, but we still got in and picked up one or two before he arrived! It was private from up of Lumb Mill down to Glusburn Bridge. By the way Iv'e tickled quite a few on the way up to Cowling. By the way I would be pleased to hear from Bruce Walker down in Geelong.Also regards to Dennis, Iv'e got a few photos (copies) of the locals taken on Coronation day in the field behind the Pickle's, courtesy of Anne nee Wigglesworth. David in hot and dry Melbourne.
Denis Pickles
Thursday, March 1, 2007 14:44
Na'then David. I am correct! There's nobody in the village who fishes in the beck nowadays. The only folk who comment are the ex pats and those like me wallowing in nostalgia.
I never got round to sophisticated fishing with hooks and worms. Did you get the interest from your dad and big brother Allan? I seem to remember seeing them with fishing rods. Wasn't it Arthur Robinson? He was a builder with a business in Skipton. Do you remember the air raid shelter which he built on the 'dog patch' [waste piece] at the beginning of the war? The only purpose it served was to provide a magnificent den for the local lads - Brian Lambert, Brian and Peter Wilcock, myself, Brian Allen, Sam Richards. Colin and Alan, Kenneth Bradley et al.. I remember it being demolished at the end of the war by the nearby residents who used the old railway sleepers which had covered the roof, to form the basis of the Victory bonfire. Now that WAS a night!
Remind me of the names of other Crag View residents. I remember Fred Stell and Martha; Willis's who had the shop at the Old Dyke end, the Laycocks, Percy Brown who worked in Keighley [wasn't he employed at the Registrars Office in Keighley?] - he used the sit in the gallery at the chapel on a Sunday evening and take down the sermon in shorthand! And David Coleman lived at the Low Fold End didn't he?
Post the photos of the Coronation Day David and let's all have a laugh.
I've wandered a bit from the thread of fishing in t' beck. But your mention of Mr Robinson reminded me of a few paragraphs in Peter Wilcock's biography where he tells of the dog field, the air raid shelter and its abuse by the local lads. I might copy it out one of these days when I've nowt better to do. I think you'd like to read it.

Bruce Walker
Sunday, March 4, 2007 03:52
Greetings Denis and David!

Just washed my scuba diving gear and thought about that "beck" in Sutton/Glusburn again!! I sit and read with great pleasure all your stories, and it's amazing how passionate people can be remembering wonderful times and memories from the past. Yes you have certainly started something there Denis!!

When we moved to Oz 6 and a 1/2 ago I packed up all my fishing gear and brought it all with me, and yes there is still bits and peices here with me that once graced the currents and eddys of our beloved beck! I still have many wet and dry flies that I took great pleasure in tying and trying to create as close to the real thing as possible. March browns and mayflies to mention a couple. And yes with a short fly rod would cast the home made flies into the easily accessable stretches, (meaning hazzards such as overhanging trees) It was always a delight to take a nice brownie on the fly!

Other ways we would catch Brownies would be when the water was too clear and the time of day was into the afternoon, we would catch a small Minnow first, and at places like the 1900 bridge we would hook the Minnow under the dorsal fin and then make it swim under the ledges there! WOW It would be fast and furious as the Brownies scrambled for a quick lunch.

Well I still fish from time to time Denis but it's usually from a boat in the bay or ocean chasing fish like Snapper, Salmon, flathead and Whiting. And when I am under the water on occasions we will return with such delights as Crayfish, Abalone and scallops.

Well Denis, playing sport and fishing through the Summer gave us many a happy memory. But in Winter I had just as many a happy time ferreting rabbits around Sutton and Glusburn. And to this day I think I was the only person who was actually given permission to ferret on the land of Clarance Smith! Thanks to Wendy Dickinson the milk lady I worked for. Were you and ferrets ever a team Denis?

Hello David, Yes it is a long dry spell we are in mate! How long have you been in Melbourne away from that now famous "Beck" thanks to Denis who I think has just put it on the map!!


Denis Pickles
Monday, March 5, 2007 09:02
How do Bruce?

Can't truthfully say that ferrets and I ever formed a team though I did accompany my dad and his mates, Tom Crossley, Alan Hardcastle and my uncle Walter on one or two ferreting expeditions, but not in Sutton. We went further afield to Cracoe, Hebden and Settle where the rabbit population was denser. I remember one day when my dad and I spent the afternoon at Lodge Farm in Settle [farmed the by my uncle George Hargreaves who used to live at New Laithe Farm in Sutton Main Street before Frank Ingham took it over] My dad had borrowed a ferret from someone in Sutton, Prin Ratcliffe in all probability, and we expected great results. We netted up the warren, stuck the ferret down and waited ... and waited! Nothing came out, neither rabbits nor the ferret and we had to dig the little blighter out! No pie next day I'm afraid.

Wasn't rabbit pie a treat? My mouth waters thinking about the ones my mother used to make - hot out of the oven with beautiful short crust pastry and 'see through' gravy! It disappeared from the menu in the 50's when the myxomatosis epidemic struck and nobody fancied it any more. The disease must have been over when you were active. From what you say, I deduce that you'll be 20 or 30 years younger than me. In my youth, Bent Farm was farmed by Norman Riddiough and Clarence Smith was the lad who courted Norman's daughter Dorothy. Wendy Wallbank [sorry, Dickinson] was the little lass from Bent Royd [my second cousin]who helped her dad, Alan delivering their milk. I seem to recollect that she dragged a crate of mild round on a 'bogey' - the chassis of an old pram. If I'm wrong, brother Alan will put me straight!

David Laycock
Wednesday, March 14, 2007 12:12
Hi Dennis, Bruce and all,
Sorry for not replying to your emails earlier chaps, but I had thought I had replied and sent a message!
It's caused quite a bit of interest, I've had to print a copy to refer back to as I reply!!
To answer your mail Dennis. It was Arthur Robinson and yes we had some good times on that waste piece. We excavated quite a few dugouts where we met to dicuss tactics, as I always remember having to guard the bonfire we had assembled from being burnt down before plot night by the Sutton Millers. I remember it used to get quite rough to the extent of using bows and arrows????
But in the end we always had a great night, with the Wallbanks making brown pea soup and your family plot toffee etc. it was great how every one pitched in and the next night baking spuds in the hot ashes!
With regard to the fishing, it was Allan who did the fishing and many a time it was his rods I used, cos he was away alot.
Brian's sister Joyce, Christine P, Janet Sugden etc. would be my age although I knew David Clark, and Colin, and Alec Crossley etc. Glen Richards lived on the end of Ash Grove. The one between us and the shop? Can picture them! next to us was Arthur Storey who owned the allotments across the road. I think you are correct re Wendy Wallbank and her milk cart. My photos of Coronation Day are copies from Anne Wigglesworth and I think would be better for posting if you could contact her and get them scanned I do have a few photos I will have to find re school.
Bruce, we used to tie a rock to a banger and fling it in at the 1900 bridge, got a few minnows! I left UK in 66 for NZ. Now there's a place for Trout. Later on in the 70's I lived not far from Taupo. Leave that for the imagination.
Dennis it would be Prin Ratcliffe and his whippet, he always carried a ferret in his raincoat. Can you or anybody remember the old fellow who used to go around fixing the stone walls? Wilf, Wal?? I used to go shooting up on Wallbanks, Riddioughs, Hellewells etc. As usual I would run across Ralph Clark and his next door neighbour ? Tempest. Hope the memory cells are working overtime. Waiting for the next installment.
Kevin, I was an apprentice weaving overlooker in about 62 before moving to Skipton, my dad Donald was foreman in the sorting. There used to be a few good one in the beck opposite Hall way up to the first bridge in the clough.
Regards to all
David in Melbourne
Wednesday, March 14, 2007 18:58
Hello all,
What a wonderful picture you all paint of Sutton goneby. It only goes to show that not a lot has changed. Bruce is obviously quiet a bit younger than the rest of us, His reference to Wendy Dickinson as opposed to Wendy Wallbank shows that. Having said that he has retained the affection that we all appear to have. In the poem I submitted I refer to rose coloured specs and wonder. Maybe they are.
David certainly has a good memory. The Tempest he refers to was Tom, Marion's father. Marion still lives in the village and looks much the same. I was talking to her a few weeks ago.
Ann Wigglesworth is now in Malham and I have asked Janet Sugden for her e mail address. If you can obtain any photos from her then please post them on the website.
With regard to the wall fixer: I seem to remember a chap from down Sutton mill who used to deliver papers doing that type of work. This would be just after the end of the war. His nephew, Sam, took over the delivery business, extending it to include Sunday papers as well.
Got to go now, Matron's just been with the Horlicks.
Keep up the good work lads.
David L
Thursday, March 15, 2007 10:14
Hi Allan,
It's good to remember the old days and the friends.
Give my regards to Marion,The chap I am thinking of did quite a bit of work for Frank Ingham when we lads were messing about at the farm, I'm sure Tony would remember him.I last saw Anne when I visited her in Somerset in 99 and remembered an email to say that she was noving back up North. I do have her email as well if required it is supposed to be the same.
Denis Pickles
Friday, March 16, 2007 20:50
Wasn't the 'wall fixer' Wilf Mount?
Saturday, March 17, 2007 11:09
Hi Dennis,
I think you are right. I contacted Anne and she replied and will send copies to you.
You may get my email from Paul as she gave me her phone no.
Anne Wigglesworth
Saturday, March 17, 2007 15:17
Anne Wigglesworth is at Buckden not Malham - and from my memory Wallbanks delivered their milk by horse and cart (one of two horses - Duke and Daisy), which was very efficient since the horse would walk on and stop at the houses where they delivered and all Alan had to do was ladle the milk out of the churn into the waiting jug (before they had bottles!)
chris throup
Friday, March 30, 2007 11:00
WOW, what a trip down memory lane, trout, rabbits and hares, all we used to live for when we was younger, oh, as well as our friday nights in the ZOO!!........................
A former Holme Bridger
Friday, May 4, 2007 22:32
What the heck is all this nonsense that Bruce Walker is trying to tell us about fishing the beck with his rod. As anyone in the village can tell you (especially the Holme Bridgers) Bruce was very rarely seen with a rod in his hand. The rest is true though about the big brownies, in fact it was Bruce who famousely took the fabled 'Brown Sam' from the stretch of beck by the 'first waterfall'. So how did he do it? Quite simply Bruce was the best 'Tickler' the village has ever seen. Many's the time we would look over the beck wall to see one half of Bruces face just above the water line. We would watch in awe for what seemed like hours before he invariably leapt from the water with a trout in hand. There was also the odd time down at the 'second waterfall' where he would have his arm under the big ledge and would completely submerge himself in order to reach right to the back.
Rather uniquely amongst the ticklers he never took his glasses off even when he went right under but it never seemed to hinder him. Yes Bruce you were a legend amongst the kids of Sutton and the last true master of the lost art of tickling.
Bruce Walker
Monday, May 7, 2007 11:19
Greetings former Holme Bridger!

I thank you for your overwhelming compliments, and it did bring a smile to my face as I read your contribution to the subject. I did serve my apprenticeship and learned the 'art' watching the older kids 'tickling' trout in the beck. And there were some fine trout 'ticklers' around back then. And some of them far more skilled than me in the 'art'.

As we used to work sections of the beck carefully and slowly working ledges and cracks, yes I suppose it would seem odd and catch a persons eye as to what those fellows in the water were doing! And if I'd have had a 'longer arm' I may have kept my glasses dry more often!

I am humbled by the 'urban legend' status, we each had our own village hero's growing up and if we gave joy and put smiles on kids faces as we ourselves went about the things we did, then that's a warming thought and in itself and enough to be remembered for.

I thank you for your kind words but it would be my friends who would stand there in the cold water of the beck, right there with me pursuing the brownies, they were my hero's, we were a team and I was just one of them having fun.

Many thanks, Bruce
david in Oz
Sunday, July 1, 2007 13:51
Hi all
I reckon the beck has had a b----y good flush out with this lot of rain you have had, them there red worms would have been copping a few brownies!
Seriously has the village been affected by this lot of rain.
We have seen a lot on Oz tv mainly South Yorks but that's all. We have been having some good rains to seemingly break the drought we have been experiencing.
It seems it's too little or too much (south east have had floods like yours).
Paul Wilkinson
Monday, September 17, 2007 12:24
Alan Pickles sent this picture and poem as a contribution to Denis's original message - does it evoke more memories for anyone?

David in Oz
Friday, November 28, 2008 11:31
Hey Alan
Just bin perusing some old forums and looked back at the photo and poem. (I realise that the battle with the council is important and being so far away can't help much, but to the campaigners good luck. It is good to see the "offcomedens" such as Basil pitching in). However I get most enjoyment reminiscing about when we were young and living in the village.
Not meant to offend.
David in Oz
Friday, November 28, 2008 19:37
Gud on yu Dave.
I must agree that I also need to have my fix of nostalgia, which I often admit to. The younger end and the off cumned 'ens, seem as though they might have as much feeling for the village as we have and had. Take care.
Alan ( Now in Bingley.)
graham daniel
Sunday, March 15, 2009 20:05
hi kevin mckvay hows u happy days becking for stickle backs bullheads in sutton beck used to rember good times up at ccowling pinnacle and the ravenstones
kevin mcvay
Monday, March 30, 2009 11:02
hi graham, been a long time. would love to have a chat, ask the webmaster for my e-mail address and post a line cheers matey from down unda
Paul Wilkinson
Monday, March 30, 2009 11:11
Hi Kevin/ Graham - email addresses forwarded.
kevin mcvay
Thursday, April 2, 2009 09:13
ure e-mail don't work for me graham
Paul Wilkinson
Thursday, April 2, 2009 09:18
Me neither. Graham - if you email me directly I'll forward your message on to Kevin.
Brenda Whitaker was Grime
Queensland Australia
Sunday, February 7, 2010 01:49
Hi everyone - Alan and Denis in particular
I have been trolling this site for a few days and my shaky cob webby memory is getting so many signals that I think I am in overdrive. Being away so long with no regular memory stimulus has left me in the dark with so much of my childhood.

The part of the beck in your photograph and delightful reminiscent poem Alan, evokes such a lot of memories, as do all the beck and fishing stories I am reading..

Just beyond the park bridge in your photo, opposite the chapel gates and between the bridge and 'Polly Ogden's ' were some large side steps leading down to the water, very similar to a stile... - are they still there? - these steps were the ones used by the early Sutton Baptist folks for the formal immersion baptism which had to take place in the beck.

They were used long before the tiled baptismal in the old chapel under the pulpit - Gee how I missed that wonderful building on my first visit to the village after it had been demolished. I cant begin to imagine the heartache that went on during that time.

What great memories of Anniversary day and the large congregation outside after the evening service singing a stirring hymn in the evening air.... -Cym Ronda (buggar the spelling) is the first one that comes to mind..

As my previous visits have been solely to visit my mum, who died last Feb, any other visits now will take on quite a different hue. Thanks guys.

Paul Wilkinson
Sunday, February 7, 2010 08:43
Hi Brenda, yes the steps are still there - I remember Doris Riley pointing them out and explaining their use for baptisms.
Alan Pickles
Sunday, February 7, 2010 18:08
Thanks for your comments. The steps are still there as Paul says. I am charged with taking a photograph of them at the first opportunity. The weather has not been too kind when I have visited Sutton recently and so the task will have to wait. Your knowledge of their use astounds me. Having said that I'm glad that they went out of use as I would not have fancied being dipped in the beck by Mr. Pilling. He had all on to pull me back up out of the bath in the Chapel.
I have several photos of the park and other parts of the village which I have taken over the yearswhich are not really up to the standard of those on this site. If you want to give Paul permission to release your e mail address or even ask him for mine, then I will e mail them to you with pleasure.
At least I am fortunate in that should I feel the need for nostalgic indulgence, I can be over to Sutton in twenty minutes or so.
I am glad that you are reaping the enjoyment out of the website, to me that is what it is all about.
Take care.
Brenda Whitaker was Grime
Queensland Australia
Monday, February 8, 2010 01:28
Hi Alan - I will send a message to Paul for your email address. you also mentioned in one posting that Jane Walker was in Australia these days, I am very keen to catch up with her, our last communication would have been 1965/66 when I was in South Africa and she was in Kenya. Having passed the 70 mark one certainly starts looking back a lot more, is it age or just more available time?

Yes you would have been a handful in the baptismal - I think I would have been easier to handle when I was baptised - oh the white dresses with weights around the bottom to prevent floating and Miss Maggie and others waiting with a coverall on the way to the vestry dripping water everywhere!! I am not sure I would have ventured down the steps into the beck !!!

Having said that how many times have we slipped and fallen into the beck with our jam jars and then gone home wet through, with squelching gum boots (sorry - 'wellies') knowing there would be a telling off at the other end!
I will email Paul now.

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