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Blue Plaque - Loxleigh House

A new blue plaque is on display in Ilkley at Loxleigh on Mount Pleasant and a new oak sapling has been planted by the Association of Jewish Refugees in nearby Belle Vue Garden.  They commemorate the usage of Loxleigh House as a hostel for Jewish children escaping from Nazi Europe at the outset of World War 2.

In the Spring of 1939, Jewish boys came on the Kindertransport from Germany and Austria. They were supported by Ilkley and Bradford residents. After the war the hostel was a safe home for Jewish orphans to help them recover and decide where they wanted to live their lives.

Over 100 people gathered on 27th January, Holocaust Memorial Day, to see the plaque ‘unveiled’ and the tree planted. Those in attendance included the Deputy Lord Mayor of Bradford Councillor Mullaney, local councillors, members of the Jewish communities in Leeds and Bradford, local school children and members of Ilkley Civic Society.

People were welcomed by Albert King. There were moving speeches from Rabbi Gilbert, Hanneke Dye - members of whose family died in Auschwitz - and Michael Eaton whose father had been a refugee at Loxleigh.

Alex Cockshott gave details of the history of Loxleigh and some of its residents. Until recently very little was known about the hostel in Ilkley and the children who stayed there, but the Civic Society hopes that publicity surrounding this event will encourage people to come forward with more information and memories. Some of these have already come to light and will be documented. We now know where some of the boys went to school and how they went on to successful careers.  If you have information or even photographs of the hostel, that you would like to share please contact  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thanks go to Mr Michael Eaton who co-sponsored the plaque and to the Waterland family who now live at Loxleigh.

Blue Plaque unveiled 27th January 2022

The Deputy Lord Mayor of Bradford Cllr Mullaney, Deputy Town Mayor of Ilkley Cllr Ros Brown, Alex Cockshott, Helen Kidman, Albert King, Rabbi Gilbert of Leeds and Michael Eaton.  There are more pictures on the ICS website.

Blue Plaques – Donkey Jackson’s Steps and Operatic House

After months of discussion, we have agreement in principle from Bradford to place a blue plaque in memory of Donkey Jackson on the grassy area known as Daffodil Hill on Bridge Lane. This is close to Donkey Jackson’s Steps, the site of his cottage and the field where he kept his donkeys. His business was in transporting by donkey the unwell visitors up to White Wells to take the water cure. Plans are also underway to place a blue plaque at the Operatic House on Leeds Road.

Local History Hub

A substantial donation of material has been offered to us by a local historian. We are slowly making progress in setting up the attic space at the Manor House and the popular Saturday Zoom meetings are continuing.

A heritage walk concentrating on Ilkley’s Victorian Architecture is being held for visiting Victorian Society members, at the end of March. This walk can be repeated for ICS members later in the Spring – please let Alex know if you would be interested.

The Local History Hub is funded by donations at present and anyone wishing to contribute should contact Alex Cockshott.

Heritage Walks

Which areas of Ilkley’s history would you like to know more about? Let Alex know and we’ll endeavour to include them in one of this year’s walks.


The bonanza for extensions continues – there can be scarce a house in Ilkley which has not had a loft conversion, side extension, garage, orangery, conservatory, playroom or home cinema added. Jan Stallworthy, David Blackburn and Anthony Barnett check out all the plans and comment as necessary. We need society members to be our eyes and ears though as there are now ‘permitted development rights’ which do not have the same planning scrutiny. This particularly applies to space above shops being converted to flats, but there may be no bin store or anywhere within reasonable distance to park a car. Everyone has visitors and deliveries. Please let us know if you see anything which causes concern.

Windfall Sites

A windfall site is one which has not been identified in the Local Plan. Such sites with low numbers of homes make a demand on our town’s infrastructure without paying a levy. We have counted a total of 11 windfall sites for 2021. There are already a further 8 in 2022.

Blocked Drains and Flooding

Bradford Council staff state that they aim to clean streets and clear drains and gullies on a three-year cycle. This is different to what is stated on their website. We think that this is insufficiently frequent because of the high level of leaf-fall in Ilkley (lots of trees) and the speed of run off in many steep streets, leading to blocked drains and localised flooding. Those drains in High Risk areas need regular inspection and urgent action.  We need to understand what is designated ‘High Risk’ so will continue our discussions with Bradford Council.  

We are concerned that there is no publicised schedule for street cleaning, so people have no chance to move their cars parked on-street in advance of the clean-up day.

We have provided Bradford officers with a list of blocked gullies which need attention. We are aware that many civic society members litter pick and that a number do clear blocked drains when there is heavy rain. Thank you for your efforts.


War Memorial

We have been talking to the town council and Bradford about the war memorial, which is in its centenary year. The Second World War Memorial is in need of attention. There is water ingress. The pavilions need some maintenance and many of the trees in the garden, which is 100 years old this year, need pruning. The council is considering what action it can afford to take.


Friends of Ilkley Cemetery

The Friends have continued to meet each week when possible during the winter, undertaking litter picking, clearing untended graves of weeds and overgrown trees and shrubs and clearing leaf-fall. If you would like to join them, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rights of Way

The deadline for registering RoWs is fast approaching and a small group has been working with Cllr Owen Wells on collecting data to ensure that all of our minor footpaths are covered. If you are aware of any footpaths which are not shown on the OS map, please let us know and we will check them out.

Meetings February and March 2022

The Meeting on 24th February 2022 has the theme of Local Issues and we will have presentations from two local groups planning improvements for Ilkley. This meeting will be held on Zoom.

The March meeting will be on Design Awards and we will let people know as soon as we can if we will be on Zoom or Face to Face. This depends on infection levels which sadly remain high in Ilkley.


There is a vacancy on the committee. Please contact Helen Kidman This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in joining.

ICS Executive Committee

Chair Helen Kidman 

Vice Chair Alex Cockshott (Local History Hub)

Hon Treasurer Brian Mann  

Hon Secretary Kate Brown

Committee: David Blackburn and Anthony Barnett (planning), Graham Peacock

(transport issues), Jan Stallworthy (cemetery), Denise Shillitoe (local history hub).