Parlington Hall :: Newspaper Articles, with references to

Skyrack Clippings


A local paper the Skyrack came in a variety of names, the list below sets them out chronologically. This section contains a selection of articles from the paper in its differing guises. [Thank's to David Teal for the information on the name changes.] For the purposes of this site I'll stick to the name Skyrack Courier, since that fits the period of most of my research!

Skyrack Name History

  1. Started 1886 as the Roundhay Gazette, Moortown, Shadwell, Seacroft, Thorner and Cross Gates Courier
  2. Changed 1887 to Roundhay Gazette and Skyrack Courier, this lasted 6 months then changed to Skyrack Courier and Roundhay Gazette
  3. Changed 1889 to Skyrack Courier
  4. Changed 1923 to Skyrack Express
  5. Changed 1978 to Skyrack and East Leeds Express
  6. Changed 1982 to Leeds Skyrack Express
  7. Changed 1996 to Leeds Express
  8. Merged with Leeds Weekly 2002

A short article as it appeared in the Skyrack Courier

The Skyrack Courier, Saturday, May 27th, 1893
From the Skyrack's editorial column Non-descript notes by Roamer
Following the columnists visit to report on the erection of the Barwick maypole he continued, to Aberford and took the opportunity to look at Parlington Park, it continues: Aberford, - Ah me! What a sorry world this is after all. After more or less faithfully chronicling a scene of gaiety, one must perforce come down from the clouds. On Whit-Monday I passed through this village, and I looked through the gates of Parlington expecting to see the park bright with lively costumes and radiant faces of school children as in the days of the gentle lady, whose irreparable loss we have not yet ceased to mourn, [Isabella Gascoigne died in October 1891.] but all was silence and stately solitude. The swings were empty, the green sward deserted, the merry laughter was not heard. It is, of course, quite true that the children may have been in another part of the demesne, and that was the only crumb of comfort I could take to my weary soul. I hope they were, poor little beggars, for goodness knows the lives of our little ones are none too bright that we should desire to deprive them of even a little fleeting pleasure once a year. When I was a youngster, in my teens, and just beginning to fancy myself a bit, I once wrote to Mrs Gascoigne and asked permission to have an afternoon's picnic in her beautiful Park, and the gracious old lady's reply is before me as I write these lines. It ran: Mrs Gascoigne will have much pleasure in welcoming the  ------  Society to Parlington Park, on  ------  next, and she trusts that fine weather will secure for the visitors a pleasant day in the country. I still indulge in a hope that Ichabod will never be written over the gateway of the Park.

Comments on the Article

From the above article it is very clear, how Isabella Gascoigne was held in high regard, she had been an enthusiastic contributor to local hospitals, and she also did much to alleviate the difficulties of the elderly in Aberford, by providing the Almshouses in the 1840's. She and also her sister Elizabeth were heavily involved in providing relief to the Irish tennants during the period of the potato blight at their estete in Clonodfoy (Castle Oliver).

The article provides some new insights into Parlington at the end of the nineteenth century. Firstly the visitor mentions the gates, clearly the position of them is fairly obvious from the remaining masonry at the entrance on Cattle Lane, but no-one has ever mentioned them in any previous references. Secondly and perhaps more significant is the comment about the swings. Clearly fixed apparatus for the amusement of visitors; today locals recall that in the area where the council sheltered housing exists and also the flats in Parlington House adjacent to the houses, in the past were sited childrens playground equipment including swings and a very high slide. These were maintained by the NUM (National Union of Mineworkers), also in this area were bowling greens and a delightful wooden pavilion, latterly used as a bird coup by a young Aberfordian. The reference to Ichabod is interesting, I suppose he is hoping that the park would never carry a sign saying that it had gone away, or was not there anymore, to that, I can attest has now happened, - there are no swings, only the wind in the trees. The other meaning to Ichabod could be the reference to Washington Irving's short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, in which Ichabor Crane is pursued by a headless horseman who is supposedly the ghost of a Hessian trooper who had his head shot off by a stray cannonball during some nameless battle of the American Revolutionary War. This comes back to our famous Triumphal Arch!!

Header Image

On a final note I had to include the advert from the newspaper, along with part of the article I have reproduced, simply because it refers to the former watch and clockmakers, Dysons on Briggate in Leeds, [now an excellent Malaysian Restuarant, called Georgetown. Sadly now closed down!] Amongst the copy in the advert is a paragraph on the right which is barely large enough to read, but it is a poignant reminder to how we have slipped into the second division as an industrial nation; the text states:- English watches are renowned throughout the World as being the finest and most accurate timekeepers made Oh, how things have changed!

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