For Yorkshire Day 2019, we interviewed Iby Knill on her experiences and reasons for moving to Yorkshire in the 1960’s.
“It was 1962. I was employed as Welfare Training Officer by Berkshire County. Then, one day, somebody at County Headquarters thought that it might be an idea to send me to a Home Office Training Course at a god-forsaken place called Easingwold in Yorkshire.
It was midwinter; we lived in Reading and we were snowed in, but I still thought that I would drive there, as there did not seem any other way to get there. The car was dug out and I set off. There was no motorway up so far north and the journey seemed to take ages, but the further north I came, the less snow there was and the more open the landscape seemed. There was space here to breathe.
I spent three weeks at Easingwold and used every spare moment to explore Yorkshire. I decided that this is where I wanted to live. It was not only the countryside, but the people. I was called “love” everywhere; people smiled at me and were intrinsically friendly. What a difference from the stiff, straight faces I was meeting in the South. It seemed like a different country, different people.
From then I scoured the papers for possible jobs in Yorkshire. It was 1964 when I found a job advertised in Leeds. It was for an Emergency Planning Officer/Assistant Civil Defence Officer. Slightly beyond my area of knowledge, but – nothing ventured, nothing gained. Sort of Yorkshire way of thinking?
And yes, I got the job – and it took only a couple of months before the Chief Clerk of my department, Harry Atkinson, pronounced “There is something Yorkshire about you”. I could not have got a higher accolade.
And I have lived in Yorkshire ever since, and cannot imagine living anywhere else. I feel at home here – I love the countryside, the space and the straight way of communication. People say what they mean and accept that I respond in the same way. I was not born in Yorkshire – or even in the UK, but feel that I belong here, as do my children, although they live now elsewhere and am delighted that my grandchildren have returned here.
There is something that draws us back here- there must be something Yorkshire about us.”
To find out more about Iby, follow the link to her website http://ibyknill.co.uk/index/