Here are a few of the less recent things that have been on our front page as news items:

December 7th 2014

December 7th was a big day for us, with events in both the visitor centre and the coach house; next door.

Santa called in to see us.

Wood turners

The wood turners from Eldwick gave us a demonstration.

Lace makers

Some lace makers show us how their work is done.

Hand bell ringers

The hand bell players put on a performance.

New display in visitor centre

A big thank you to Bradford Urban Wild Life Group who have put a new display up in our visitor centre.

Phytophthora Ramorum reaches St. Ives

Infection It is with sadness that we have to announce that phytophthora ramorum, the fungal disease that kills oak trees has reached St. Ives. Our picture shows a group from the Friends of St. Ives discussing the new restrictions.

Photograph by Stuart Gabitas

Fungus walk 28th September

fungus 1 fungus 2

Photographs by - left Sally Handcock, right Kath Gabitas

The Fungus walk that was lead by Bob Taylor wall well up to his usual standard. There had been concern that the dry weather in September would have ruined the fungi. That proved to be not the case with many surviving. A fine walk was had by all and our warm thanks to Bob.

Remembering the first great war


Photograph by Kath Gabitas

The Friends of St Ives decided earlier this year to plant a field of Poppies to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WW1.

Initial site clearance was carried out for us by BEES (Bradford Environmental Education Service), who kindly made the garden possible.

Further help was given by the Sport Turf Research Institute (STRI,) who are based at St Ives. They prepared ground, with the creation of a wide grassy path and sweeping earth beds ready for the seeds.

The Co-op memorial group had a memorial stone made with the names of the groups and companies involved. Made of grey marble, black engraved words and scarlet poppies, it hopefully we be a lasting memorial for another hundred years.

The little meadow is situated within the Mansion grounds and permission was kindly given by Elder Homes there, to plants thousands of poppy seeds throughout the field.

The public came along in May including many children and planted the seeds and we all looked forward to ‘a sea of red’ in July.

However weeks went by with no signs of even one poppy plant and eventually we decided to hold the commemorative ceremony and the memorial stone dedication anyhow.

The ceremony was attended by about 60 people. The Rev Bob Evans from Harden led us in prayers and blessed the stone. Kath Gabbitas from FOSI read the story of Stafford Ferrand, the only Ferrand we know of who fought on WW1. A brave man, it would seem, who won the Military Cross, but would never talk of his experiences of the war. The Ferrand family were the owners of St Ives during this period.

Mark Potts , the head manager of the Co-operative Funeral services, came up from the South and read the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’

Eve Haskins, clerk to Harden Parish Council, read the names of all the Harden men who fought in WW1 and then the names of those who’d sadly died. She then read the two famous lines from the poem ‘For the Fallen’, ending ‘ We will remember them’.

Judith Hayles from Harden movingly played the last post on a bugle whilst the Standard was lowered followed by a minutes silence and the Standard was then raised.

Pam Laking, Chair of FOSI, introduced the readers and told the story of our poppy field with ‘no’ poppies. She said that the seeds could still germinate at any time within the next 50 years. So we must all keep watching and hoping.

Elder Homes was represented by Heather Craven.

The Bingley British Legion provided a giant poppy shape covered in small fabric poppies and also fabric poppies on wires which Kath and her husband planted in the field and some crosses to place around the stone.

Everyone said it was a beautiful ceremony, not celebrating War, but acknowledging the suffering and death that occurred and is still occurring around the world today.

Good news about the toilets
Toilet 2

Photograph by Kath Gabitas

We are pleased to announce that our petition and support letters have been sucessful in making the council have a rethink about closing the Public Toilets on St Ives.

Thank you for all the support which made this happen.

Recent events

On the 1st August, Ian Butterfield gave us a talk on Bats. This was very good and had us all enthralled. The talk was followed by a walk round Coppice Pond to watch them. Unfortunately the weather was too bad, even for bats!

Jane Ramsden Talk 1 Jane Ramsden Talk 2

Photographs by Kath Gabitas

On the 2nd August, Jane Ramden, professional herbalist, gave two talks in the herb garden. Telling us about the different uses for the herbs in the garden. See the above pictures.

This was followed by a history walk on 17th given by Susan Hart. There was a walk on the estate, giving history and stories from a past rich in the events of former times.

UKAR install steps
Steps 2 Steps 3
UKAR team

Photographs by Pam Laking

A team from UKAR very kindly came and made some steps so that we have access to the other green house. They also did a lot of weeding. The two pictures above show the new steps and the lower picture shows the UKAR team.

Let us never forget
Planting poppies with flax

To mark the outbreak of the First World War FOSI has planted some poppies. The land that had been supplied by Elder Homes was first cleared by BEES and UKAR before preparation by the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI). Co-Operative Memorials of Nab Wood, Shipley then gave us some poppy seeds and the people at STRI mixed them with flax seed for us. Our picture shows one of the many FOSI members who helped with the planting.

Photograph by Kath Gabitas

A note from Pam Laking, our chair

The Friends of St Ives are holding a short ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1 on Sunday 5th October at 2pm. This is not to celebrate the war in any way, but to acknowledge the loss of life and suffering which occurred at that time.

There will be an unveiling ceremony of a memorial stone created by the Co-op memorial group from Saltaire adjacent to the picnic area opposite the café. The British Legion, SSAFA and the army cadets will be present and there will be a display relating to the WW1 in the visitor centre from Saturday 27th September until Saturday 11th October inclusive. Everyone is welcome to attend.

What can only be described as a potential disaster
toilet closure protesters

Photograph by Kath Gabitas

Our picture shows just some of the people who came out to register their disagreement at the proposed closure of the toilets on St. Ives.

The St. Ives Estate has been one of the great success stories. The only country park with English Heritage status in the Bradford Area. It is visited by thousands of people a year, including school parties, who use it as a resource, parties of senior people, young families and every sort of group that you can think of. The new play ground is a big attraction, the Estate has an inestimable value to the whole community.

We regret to say that all this is now to be put in jeopardy. Just at the time when we would be expecting the toilet facilities to be enlarged to meet the requirements of the larger number of users, Bradford Metropolitan Council is to close the toilet facilities completely to save money. As far as the Estate is concerned this is a disaster, we cannot over state the importance of the toilets. The Friends of St. Ives was set up to make the public aware of the Estate and make more use of it. Now all that work is to be wiped out to make what we feel is a false economy. Without the toilets, even the Green Flag Award would go.

It is with some irritation that we have to anounce that Bradford Met has rejected our petition on what at first sight appears to be a technicality. They have given us a new link to their petition site and we would therefore urge all those who have kindly registered their feelings with the old site, to re-register on the new one. This is:- Petition

Just as an after thought. Surely the Bradford Council would want to provide toilets for its own people working on the Estate so why not make them available to the public at little extra cost?

We would wish to stress that we are not politically motivated in any way but do not want lose St.Ives whilst the public is deriving such great benefit from the Estate.

Easter at the visitor centre
Easter 2014 visitors

Easter 2014 saw lot of visitors calling in. Here are just a few.

Photograph by Kath Gabitas

Preparing the land

FOSI are creating a Poppy Meadow to commemorate the start of WW1. To prepare the grassed area adjacent to the picnic area on the Estate, STRI (who are based at St Ives) kindly brought their stripping and seeding machines along and firstly stripped areas that are to become a sturdy path for all users including wheelchairs, and also the beds for the poppies and then sowed the suitable grass seeds for us.

The sowing of the poppy seeds is taking place on Saturday 26th April at 2pm. Please come and join us in sowing these seeds and bring a small bowl to place the seeds in. We will be meeting in the grassed picnic area opposite Lady B's Café.

Text and photograph by Pam Laking

Participate comes to the rescue

On Friday 21st March "Participate", a group renown for team building, brought a group from "UKAR" to help sort out the garden. We are very grateful for the work that they did.

Photograph Kath Gabbitas

Teaching bird song
Bird recognition

On Saturday 8th March, Mark Doveston (picture right) installed a new system in the visitor centre for teaching bird recognition. The new interactive display boards have now been installed by Mark Doveston and Graham Hart in the Visitor Centre at St. Ives Estate, Bingley, the casing supplied by Experia. Great for kids to learn about birds and the sound they make....just push a button! After installation, all that was needed was a volunteer to test the system. At that moment Charlie (picture left) was passing and kindly offered to carry out the test.

Photograph Kath Gabbitas