2002 Press coverage
Yorkshire Evening Post
Thursday 6th June 2002
View the orginal article here
“The future of England’s biggest maypole which stands 87ft high in a Leeds village is hanging in the balance. Health and safety fears have put a stop to the centuries-old method of using muscle power to manoeuvre the existing wooden maypole into place in the centre of leafy Barwick-in-Elmet. Next Monday residents will decide the long term future of the maypole at a public meeting. One proposal is to install a permanent 110ft metal and fibreglass version. It would replace the existing pole – thought to be the biggest in England – and also commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.
Whatever is decided, insurance costs have put an end to the traditional method of lowering and raising the pole by hand which dates back to the Norman Conquest in 1066. Maypole committee member Tim Chippindale said: “After we ruled out removing the pole using manpower, ropes and ladders, we looked into how much it would cost to get a crane to lift it out. “The cost was around 2,300, which was just too much. “The pole is normally removed every three years for repairs and to be repainted, but this time it stayed in position for the gala on Bank Holiday Tuesday and for the Queen’s Jubilee.
“One of the options available to the village now is to put up a permanent maypole made out of modern materials. “The proposal is for a steel and fibre-glass pole. A specialist company in Hull has already quoted us a price for this which was in the region of 15,000. “This would be 110ft, which would make it the highest in England and certainly one of the biggest in Europe. It will be up to the villagers, the new maypole committee and the Parish Council to come up with a solution.”
In the meantime the existing pole, which is made from two pieces of Pine spliced together in the centre, will remain in its position gazing down on the villagers below who hold its fate in their hands. * The public meeting starts at 7.30pm on Monday, June 10, in Barwick-in-Elmet’s village hall.”