At the 1931 May meeting of the Parks and Allotments Committee of Stainland Council Councillors Noble and Sutcliffe moved that a notice be posted prohibiting the use of the recreation ground for the playing of golf or of the striking of golf balls or knur and spell or other similar games and that the said notice be posted in the window of the pavilion.
Councillor Edwards opposed the motion. He said that the public had the right to use the public recreation ground and to use it as they thought fit. Whereas Councillor Crossley said that there was a danger to the public walking along the path through the rec. Councillor Sutcliffe said that it was their duty to protect the public and not just to provide for the few. The resolution was carried.
One week later a letter, signed by ‘A Few Unemployed’, appeared in the local press. The correspondents lamented the council’s decision. ‘During the last few weeks we have been able to indulge in this innocent recreation as a diversion to hanging about the streets, reading the papers at the institute and wondering if our unfortunate circumstances will ever be improved.’ The letter reassures that the games ceased should anyone cross the path and that most practices took place during school hours therefore no children were in the vicinity. It concludes what is the rec for given that the funds to buy the land were raised by public subscription?
You can imagine the sucking of teeth by councillors and officials as they read the newspaper. Perhaps this eloquent if provocative letter was written by local unemployed men then again perhaps someone, who wished to remain anonymous, felt strongly that councillors (some of whom may have played golf during the day at local courses) were denying access to public sports on public land. We’ll never know but the subject is not raised again.
1970 World Championship
Whatever happened in 1931 was forgotten by 1970 when the district hosted the Knur and Spell World Championship on Tuesday 31st March. Competitors ventured from across the North (although favourite father and son from Sheffield were barred – no reason given) and over 600 spectators turned out on a bitter cold day. There was a cash prize of £200 plus a cup for the victor. Some failed to hit the knur far. All agreed that Fred Trueman, the former England cricketer but now trying his hand at knur and spell, was rubbish and lacked the knack. Those who managed to hit the knur into the distance had to wait until flat-capped officials located the little ball. One local predicted a controversial end ‘whoever wins will end up in that quarry and the heather there is a foot deep’. Eventually a chap from Colne, Lancashire won with a knock of 225 yards.
David J. Glanfield
Greater Elland Historical Society
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