Week in the Life column with Keith Tordoff

Descendants of pioneering 19th Century doctor John Snow are pictured at the new memorial in York.
Descendants of pioneering 19th Century doctor John Snow are pictured at the new memorial in York.

Lights, camera, action, let’s Roll! On Monday last week, I was in charge of the clipper board used when people are filming. We had been approached at our little shop to see if we would help some students from Leeds Beckett’s Film Course to make a short film documentary for their coursework.

Happy to oblige and on Monday morning Danny, Andy, Ben and Tom turned up with bags full of equipment which they proceeded to unpack. They said they had come to Pateley Bridge from Leeds on two buses with all their bags of equipment.

Once the lights, cameras and recording booms were in place, there was no room for customers – just myself and my wife Gloria to take centre stage for the production.

A full day of filming followed and feeling rather sorry for the students with all their equipment, at 6pm they jumped in my car for their journey back to Leeds.

On Tuesday, I encountered a group of four people in Pateley Bridge who had come to visit following last week’s article in the Sunday Times listing Pateley Bridge as one of the best places to live in the UK.

They were impressed with Pateley – it just goes to show the power of publicity.

Later in the week, I bumped into local resident Peter Chadwick. Peter was born and bred in Pateley at the Black Bull pub which used to be on the High Street.

Peter even has a listing on Wikipedia!

He attended Bridgehousegate School and in 1945 started playing for Pateley Bridge Cricket Club at 11 years old. In 1949, aged 15, he started playing for Harrogate Cricket Club before in 1959 playing for Yorkshire County Cricket Club. Peter played alongside the greats including Fred Truman, Ray Illingworth, Dickie Bird, and many others. He says his proudest moment was when he was playing for Yorkshire against Middlesex at Scarborough and he looked around the dressing room and realised he was the only one who didn’t play for England.

Peter, in 2013, was installed as president of the Yorkshire CCC players Association.

Unbelievably, Peter only stopped playing for Pateley Bridge CC when he was 69.

In York last week, a memorial was unveiled for a Dr John Snow. When John Snow was a young man, he came to Pateley Bridge for 18 months in 1834 to be an apprentice to local surgeon Joseph Warburton who Dr Snow would later describe as his ‘old master’. Dr Snow came from a working class background in York.

He realised that in the countryside people lived longer than those in towns.

Eminent physicians at the time put short life expectancy and diseases down to the quality of air but Snow suspected it was down to the water people were drinking.

Snow was proved to be correct after famously breaking the handle off a water pump, therefore stopping the drinking supply of infected water in London and Cholera cases diminished.

Since 1854 there have been no outbreaks of Cholera. The memorial in York is a water pump without its handle!

Pateley Bridge played a part in the life of a man who did actually change the world.

Dr Snow described Pateley Bridge as being “stunningly beautiful and dangerously rough” just as no doubt a young man found last Sunday. I was in Park View Stores when he came in wearing a green fluorescent jacket with a mobile phone glued to his ear saying “I don’t know, I am in the middle of nowhere, somewhere near Harrogate!”

After making his purchase, I watched as he got into his delivery van and drove off.

No doubt delivering to someone in the ‘middle of nowhere’.