Member’s Evening 2016

Report on our meeting held 15th February 2016

Prior Rick Hudson welcomed members and commented on the enjoyable “refection” held the week before. The Scribe, Bro George Parrott, then introduced four members in turn who gave presentations on a wide range of topics in their own individual styles. It is this variety that makes the Member’s Evening so enjoyable.

First up was Linda Ellis. Her grandfather was a “Wolds Wagoner” and she presented a film about them with the kind permission of the Bridlington Central Library. It was Sir Mark Sykes of Sledmere who in 1911 realised that the wagon handling skills of the local farm workers would be an asset if war broke out. He set up the Wolds Wagoner’s Reserve. By the outbreak of war there were 1000 men in the reserve and they were quickly called up. The film used the Wagoner’s monument as an aid to telling their story, ending with a roll call of those who lost their lives.

In a snappy and witty presentation Bro Andy Jefferson told a little of his grandfather Alfred’s difficult life. Alfred had finally managed to get a full time job as caretaker at the Spa, only to see it burn down shortly after in the early 1930’s. Andy contemplated that maybe this was a good thing. We got an attractive art deco building as a result. If the end of its natural life had been in the 1960’s we may have got a stark concrete cube of a building, so in vogue at that time. Bro Andy had carried out a straw poll seeking people’s choice of most iconic building in Bridlington and not surprisingly the people’s first choice was the Spa. Bro Andy’s choice would be the “Snaps” building overlooking the sea and harbour at the end of Prince Street. He surmised that the individual who nominated Ebor Flats must now be living in a safe house somewhere.

Bro Chris Attlesey was in the RAF in the 1960’s and early 70’s. He served in North Africa, the Middle East and Belize. Whilst not water skiing and sunbathing, and no doubt carrying out a bit of work for the RAF, he visited the local historic sites. His pictures of these showed how they looked before the mass tourism era. Notable photographs included overgrown Mayan temples in Belize, Giza before the pyramids and sphinx became more of a stage set, close up photographs of King Tut’s mask, sites in the Middle East now damaged, and notable buildings of World War Two still in a state of ruin.

Maureen Bell gave the final presentation. This was history in the making. She is involved with the Bridlington regeneration scheme, as a result of the pleasant surprise that the town’s folk were asked for their opinion. Although progress has been slowed by the financial crisis, things are moving and the Spa rebuild and new leisure centre are evidence of this. Among the public’s suggestions were, clean the Gypsey Race, create public open spaces, and plant more trees. The planners took note, and these suggestions are major features in the proposed linear park along the Gypsey Race. Maureen was able to talk us through the five zones involved with the help of plans shown by courtesy of Helen Jackson of East Riding Yorkshire Council.

The vote of thanks was given by Bro Terry Reeves. He thanked the speakers for their pot puree of interesting subjects covering the past, the present, and most unusually for a history society, the future.