December 2002


At present as one enters the 1853 Gallery at Salts Mill in Saltaire, there is the loveliest Christmas tree. It is a dark green traditional tree extending as far as the mill ceiling and it is decorated only with small white lights. Around its base are boxes wrapped in thick creamy buff-coloured paper and tied exquisitely with white string.

Christmas tree at Salts Mill


On Sunday 8 December little Harrogate Railway AFC, a Northern Counties East club, played Bristol City of the Second Division of the Football League in the second round of the FA Cup. Whilst usually, in their distinctive green and red strip, they play in front of a crowd of a hundred on a good day, on this occasion television paid £100,000 to screen the game.

The club was formed in 1935 at Starbeck station, now desolate but then a busy goods depot before being closed in the 1960s. The club's ground, Station View, has a sloping pitch which was seen for the first time by tens of thousands who until then didn’t even know there was a football club in Harrogate. (In fact there are two).

Harrogate Railway lost 3-1. Even Steve Davey, the 31 year old postman and club striker, could not save them. His season was spoilt when he fractured his jaw falling down the stairs whilst moving house. ‘I couldn’t chew for a month’. Nor could Kevin Smith, the 21 year old overweight barman and centre forward, help. Kevin, who smokes, drinks, stays out late and doesn’t give a damn about much apart from football, represents club football which is fun and far removed from the prima donnas of the modern game.

Andrew Martin wrote in the New Statesman about growing up in York. ‘You either like the place you were born or you don’t, and I do. I knew a man at university who was born in Stafford, and if you wanted to wind him up you’d say: ‘You off back to Staffs for the holidays, then?’ He eventually married a woman from Hull. She was very nice, but I always used to suspect he’d been seduced by the relative beauty of her home town as compared to his’.

Salts Diner

The Sunday Telegraph reports that there are now seven different companies running ghost tours in York. Frightening. There’s Ghost Hunt, Ghost Trail, Ghost Trail with Mad Alice, Ghost Detective, Ghost Hunters and the Original Ghost Walk. You can’t beat the free market. If there is a demand for something it will be more than filled. Another tour, A Walk of Convenience, visits public and private lavatories, some of which date back to Roman times. There are also apparently places of relief in the city walls themselves. I think I’ll stick to the Minster and the Castle Museum, thanks.

I am afraid I have bad news for devotees of the sauce who write to Yorksview from all over the world. Are you sitting down? The Hammond’s factory at Apperley Bridge has been demolished. It’s gone. I don’t think I ever tasted it but it now rather looks as though I never will. All things must pass.

Hammond's (Before)

Hammond's (After)

A survey in Country Life named Alnwick in Northumberland as the best place to live in Britain. Sounds fair to me. Castles, a wonderful coast, no rush hour, it has a lot to commend it. But it is a cold place and a little isolated. Richmond, Yorkshire was rightly in the top ten places. Richmond is a lovely market town in Swaledale. On reflection I think I’d prefer to live there.

Have yourselves a merry little Christmas.