On this page we publish your replies to questions we ask on this website:

Has Moor Road been forgotten?


Apart from the timetables for the Ripon/Burton road, I think they've made a pretty good job of 167 of the 168  marked potholes.  A crumbling road edge has been left - probably in need of some kerbstones.  I think also the road through Roecliffe has been done though have not been down it.

But, what about Moor Road?  As at 3pm today (23rd June) the sign on the top road still said 'Road Closed 16th June for 4 Days'.  Well, it's not closed, no work has been done and we are now well past the notice date!  The misleading (and incorrect) notice has now been 'arranged' to inform 'the hedge'!

Interestingly, while there were some white markings on Moor Road (mainly at
the top and the bottom), to indicate repairs needed, there were many more potholes and crumblings not marked, that needed be done.  Why are many not marked?  Will they all be repaired and When?

Filling our potholes


'We have all seen the white spray markings and numberings on the road running from the Ripon Bypass (numbered 1) through to the T-junction the other side of Burton (numbered 166) -   

These markings appeared in late February and by early April, with nothing done and with some of the markings starting to fade, Martin Minett made contact with Highways at NYCC.  Remembering what happened three or so years ago, when a similar set of markings (1 to 178 but in the reverse direction) appeared but eventually faded away with no repairs being undertaken, he was after some reassurances.  

When will the work now planned - the NYCC Road Works website said between 1 March 2016 and 31 July 2017! (yes, unbelievable and of no use to anyone).  NYCC confirmed these dates (something to do with legal reasons) and added that because of unknown priorities, they had little idea about when the
work would be done.  They seemed somewhat surprised and offended when mockery was made of their planning systems!  You won't be surprised to know that the Road Works website today states 'closure between 15 February 2016 and 14 October 2017' - how useless are they and the 'information' they provide?

Martin also raised the question of the cost of and who pays for the wasted marking work of the earlier years and of the apparent inefficiency of their systems and procedures.  Little response was given other than a claim that 'the work is actually at negligible cost to the Authority as it carried out by an engineer who is in the area on other duties, so therefore there are no travel charges concerned and the work can be completed within an hour, if not quicker'.  So, 166 checkings, numberings and markings in an hour, what a load of twaddle!  What confidence does that give over the way in which they operate?

Martin has often maintained, with authorities and councils, that the old way of a 'Lanesman', with his truck and tarmac and tools, maintaining his defined set of lanes, was a far more effective, efficient and satisfying way for all.  Without apparent evidence, NYCC Highways insist their multi step approach
(involving perhaps 7 stages and parties), done every few years and then with considerable disruption, is the best approach.  Do you believe them?

However, for whatever reason, something has now happened, so that's progress.  Well, the repairs have not been done yet but matters seem, to be going forward.  We can plan accordingly - though with only 14 days notice it's just as well that the Acorn Charity bike ride, for example, was in May.

It's more than worrying how inept so many councils and public bodies are.  The above is just one example of many that I've personally experienced over the last few years and I think things are getting worse.  These bodies are accountable to us, the tax payers, and need to be highlighted and criticised for their inadequacies and incompetence, otherwise nothing will improve'.

PVC windows


Zillah Horner writes:

'In 2008 much work was involved in The  BM Conservation Character Appraisal Report.There were many recommendations on how to keep the character of the village intact. With the proliferation of  plastic window frames was the survey and its recommendations a waste of time?
See page 21 of said above report (Harrogate Council). I am hoping the Parish
Council will look into this but your comments would be appreciated.

Postal dilemma


Fencing round the front of the of the old village shop, preparatory to very legitimate building work, has meant it's harder now for villagers to post a letter. You'd think there's a quick and easy solution - but there's not!  Read why in The Last Word on front page.


Martin Minett sent an e-mail to the Royal Mail about the situation. Part of it read:
'The box, outside of Forge Stores on Main Street, has been blocked off (I  think there's rebuilding and the box is probably on private land).  Collection was 4.45pm.  Three other small/wall boxes in the village have a collection 9.00am.  Can the closest of these to the blocked off main one (about 150 yards) not be changed to a 4.45pm collection, at least as a temporary measure? 
What is going to happen longer term if the main box is on private land, as I suspect is the case?  The three wall boxes are small and from past experience will in no way be able to handle Xmas
requirements and certainly cannot take wider or thicker letters/packages'.
There has not been any communication from Harrogate Royal Mail to us about what's happening. I've rung Customer Services (based where ???) but they are of no use and wouldn't supply me with the local Harrogate phone number. 
However, I've found two Harrogate (Claro Road) phone numbers via the internet but, on dialling,  had no joy.  One they (BT) said is out of use at present and the other cannot take calls at present!
A pretty sad state all round in the current world of communications.


Unwanted sign


Why is it that the two signs saying 'Bridge Road' (wherever that is!) will be closed from February 29 for five weeks are still in place? This is so despite the work of replacing the Mechanics' Institute bridge having been completed almost a month ago?  
Local residents have complained to NYCC to ask for them to be removed and a council van has actually appeared at the site but then gone away again.

Perhaps the signs are considered to be historic monuments which will grace Boroughbridge Road for ever!


Action Man writes: 'Easy. Take it down and leave in flat on the grass until someone bothers to come round and collect it. That's what I've done and it removes most of the eyesore'.


The milky way


Years ago if you left a bottle of milk on the doorstep for more than a few minutes you'd find the top had been pecked by a bird when you came to take it in.
Nowadays bottles of milk can sit there for hours and the lid is never pecked. Why is this? Are the birds too pampered these days? Or is there no cream!
Answers please to EditorBMToday@aol/com


From Martin Minett
'It appears to be as I suspected - most bottled milk has been  semi-skimmed for many years so there is no longer a collar of cream at the top  of the bottle which was present with full fat milk (or normal milk as we used to 
know it!).  I thought that they no longer pecked through the foil because the delight of the cream was not there.  It seems it's not taste but more down to  their (tits and robins) digestive systems - they cannot properly digest lactose  which is present in milk but not, it seems, in cream'

From Emma Archbold

'I saw your post on the BM website about birds pecking milk bottle tops and I
also saw that there is an explanation below it. It's a funny coincidence because
I am actually learning about that behaviour at the moment as part of my biology
degree at Oxford and thought you might be interested to know what I've been

The behaviour is actually an example of animal innovation and social
learning. The behaviour was first noticed in the South of Britain in 1921 and
was carried out by an innovative blue tit. The behaviour quickly spread amongst
the blue tit population of the area and around the rest of the South of England.
Because it was such an excellent novel behaviour and blue tits are so clever, it
was quickly picked up by birds who observed others (demonstrators) carrying out
the behaviour. A second separate innovation event occurred in the North of
England in 1929 and spread around the North in a similar way. This was an
interesting way these birds learnt to adapt to new conditions and as a result
was studied by many scientists

As a result of the fact that this behaviour was spread by social learning
among the blue tit populations, the fact that the occurrence of milk bottles on
door steps has decreased so rapidly in recent years means that there has been
fewer and fewer opportunities for the spread of the behaviour. As a result the
new generations of birds have not been able to learn this behaviour from
experienced demonstrators, and so do not carry out the behaviour. There are
also very few opportunities for any new innovation events. 

I'm not saying that the explanation you have on the website is wrong, it is
probably very much correct, but this might also be another additional
reason why this behaviour has declined in recent years'.


Home guard 1944 photo


Can you name those in this 1944 Home Guard photograph?


Martin Whincup, who did much of the research for the Great War special feature we ran on this website  to mark the centenary of the start of that conflict,has been turning his attention now to the Second World War.

He was interested to see several references to that war in recent report on this website, including the publication of a picture of the local Home Guard taken in 1944 and taken from one of Elizabeth Wilkinson's Photo Albums..

He writes: ' I was interested to see the Home Guard photograph posted in the site. I mentioned it to my Grandfather who actually had the same image - his uncle, Robert Gowling of Burton Leonard, was the Company Sergeant Major and seated fourth from the left in the second row.. 

He had served as a regular soldier in the Boer War and in Africa after that, then again in the Great War as a Sergeant Major, being awarded the French Croix de Guerre. He ran a traction  engine business rather than a butcher's shop, and if you're looking for  'Dad's Army' parallel, he is closest to Corporal Jones.   

By coincidence, Grandad had looked at putting  some names to the faces of the men who were drawn not just from Burton Leonard  and Bishop Monkton, but also from Copgrove and Staveley. I reproduce below some of the names, but he will be interested to learn of more names to fill the blanks as they come

Front row: L/Cpls A. Barker (Burton Leonard),  J. Heward, G. Harker, Pte  J. Adams  (Staveley)
Second row (seated): L/Cpl?, Cpl. T Hardy, Sgt P. Watson, CSM. R. T. Gowling, Maj. L. B. Holliday (Copgrove), Capt. Lodge (C),  Sgt. W. Hemsworth, L/Cpl. L Claydon (S), Cpl. H. Hawksworth (S)
Third row: Ptes J. Tratles (BM), ? Alderson  (S), ?, F Wood (S), ?, ? (BM), H. Walker (S), ?, F. Lumley, R. Wintersgill (S),  J. Dimmock (S)
Fourth row: Ptes J. Scott, ?, ?, ?, H. Bland,  ?, R. Leeming, ?, F. Horrocks, ?, E. Hartley
Fifth row: Ptes. ?, ?, A. Pratt, C. Chapman, C. Wigby, ? 

One of the more interesting faces featured is that of Major Lionel Brook Holliday of Copgrove Hall. He had made his living in the family dye business in  Huddersfield before setting up on his own account. A territorial soldier before  and after the Great War, he had served in France during 1914/15 before being  recalled to Britain due to his specialist chemical knowledge, earning a mention  in despatches and an OBE for his trouble. By the time of the photo he was not  only a successful businessman but also a well known race horse breeder and, between 1943 and 1944 High Sheriff of Yorkshire'.  


War Memorial names


Who are the Rentons on our War Memorial?


Martin Whincup was also interested to see our article about Sgt Reginald Renton, who is one of three local men  killed during World War 2 and honoured on the Village Hall Memorial.  

He writes: 'Noting the names on the memorial, it would be interesting to know if S S and R J Renton are related. A brief search doesn't confirm anything, but I would assume there was a connection there.

Born in 1921 to Walter and Constance, Stuart Senior Renton was commissioned into the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in February 1941. It was, however  while serving in Burma with 1/8th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers that he was  killed in action on 28th April 1944 during the Battle of Kohima. 

By way of completion the final name for the Second World War - Arthur  Frederick Walden came from Littlethorpe and served as a Driver in the Royal  Engineers. He was killed in action in Italy on 26th August 1945 at the age of 24 and is buried in Padua War Cemetery.