AROUND THE TOWN
Reproduced from the Official Guide to Knottingley
by Knottingley Urban District Council, circa. 1950
Town and country meet
and new and old mingle in Knottingley, urban district of about 9,000 population,
whose smoking factories outpost the flat agricultural area which ranges
eastwards to Goole.
Situated east of the
Great North Road and south of the River Aire, with good rail and road
connections, Knottingley is best known as a centre of the glass industry, but
it's manifold occupations include also boat building, tar distilling, pottery
making, iron-founding, lime-burning and the manufacture of electrical
accessories. The agricultural interest still survives, a notable feature
of which is the labour force which Knottingley women provide for the seasonal
Much of the older
town, with it's shopping centre of Aire Street is concentrated in the eastern
half of an island formed by the River Aire and the Knottingley to Goole section
of the busy Aire and Calder Canal. These two waterways add character and
colour to the typical, square windowed old houses, which were built about the
time the canal was opened in 1826 and the decade which followed.
Knottingley Marsh, lining the open north bank of the River, gives the rather
sultry little main street, a great green panorama, and the Canal cutting,
crossed by five road bridges as it winds it's way eastwards, has not lost all
it's charm to the clustered factories.
The Canal is a link
with the maritime tradition, dating back to the days of sail, which is
responsible for the inn-names like "The Boat", "The Jolly
Sailor", and "The Lime Keel" ( a more indigenous product).
That tradition is inherited by the shipyard workers and those employed in the
Canal carrying trade.
Since 1918 however,
with an impetus renewed after the Second World War, Knottingley has spread
southwards in big Council housing estates, beyond the Wakefield, Weeland and
Goole Road, which now roughly bisects it, west to east, dividing new from
old. Red brick had supplanted native limestone in Knottingley's
composition long before the Council houses came, but a reminder of the limestone
era remains in the shape of quarries with which the town is not unattractively
pitted; in long white boundary walls; and in the gleaming square tower of St.
Botolph's Church at the head of Aire Street.
Nearby and overlooking
the Canal cutting from a wide sweep of Weeland Road is the Town Hall, s
foursquare Victorian building, and not far away is the Ropewalk Secondary Modern
School, largest of the towns five schools, with the commodious Ropewalk
Methodist Church hard by. There are four other places of worship,
excluding those of Ferrybridge, which village was added to the Urban District in
Community life is
conditioned by the segregation of the new estates which at present have no hall
or church of their own and are at a distance from those of the older
parts, but it's most typical expression is in a strong sporting element.
Outdoor recreation for
which facilities are provided by the Council varies from Junior Rugby League and
Association Football, in which local firms play a large part, to Cricket and the
typically northern sports of greyhound racing and pigeon flying. Despite
the somewhat dispersed population, a variety of cultural activities are carried
on, for which facilities are largely supplied by religious bodies and schools.
There are eight school departments in the Urban District area of Knottingley which come under the
authority of the West Riding Education Department. Local affairs are
managed through the Divisional Education Officer, Mr. F. Hall, at the Education
Offices, Chapel Street, Knottingley.
Knottingley Ropewalk Secondary Modern School (mixed). Approximately 380 pupils attend the
school whose staff consists of a Headmaster and 13 assistants some of whom are
competent to give instructions in Handicraft and Domestic Science.
Knottingley Weeland Road Primary Junior Mixed School. 220 pupils.
Knottingley Vale Primary Junior Mixed and Infants School. 140 pupils
Knottingley Ferrybridge Primary Junior Mixed School. 110 pupils.
Knottingley Ferrybridge Primary Infant's School. 110 pupils
Knottingley Chapel street Primary Infant's School. 90 pupils
Knottingley C.E. Primary Junior Mixed School. 185 pupils.
Knottingley C.E. Primary Infant's School. 180 pupils.
Dinners are supplied (from a central canteen) to all pupils. For further and adult education an
Evening Institute is provided at Ropewalk, Knottingley.
Although no new schools have been built since the war, the County Council have included the
erection of a new 7 class Junior School and Playing Field at England Lane in
their 1949 programme.
The health of the
population is looked after by two authorities. The first is the Pontefract
and Castleford Management Committee which is centred at the Pontefract General
Infirmary. This body, whose secretary is Mr. W. Bowring, exercises a
general control over all hospitals and clinics in the area. As no hospital
exists in Knottingley itself, the inhabitants avail themselves of the others in
the region, the nearest being Pontefract General Infirmary, 60 beds, and
Pontefract and Baghill Joint Isolation Hospital, 36 beds. In order to keep
a check on the health of the townsfolk, especially that of mothers and young
children, and to attend to minor ailments, clinics have been established at
Knottingley and Ferrybridge.
Before 1939 the
council had been responsible for erecting 730 houses spread over a total of
twelve estates. This accommodation though rather distant in some cases from the
town centre, is well placed in relation to the industrial areas. The
largest of these estates are at England Lane, 202 houses, Pinders Garth,
Ferrybridge, 100 houses and Broomhill, where there are 168 houses. In 1945
the urgency of the housing problem was realised and the Council have erected a
total of 264 dwellings, the majority concentrated in two estates at Spawd Bone
Lane, Knottingley and Pontefract Road, Ferrybridge. As a part of the above
programme, 64 houses are now in course of erection and plans have been approved
for further building. The Council encourage building of houses by private
enterprise - 54 houses have been completed under building licences and others
are nearing completion.
It was not until the
expansion of industry in the town that Knottingley, in 1894, became an Urban
district. It's status and boundaries remained the same until 1937 when,
under the West Riding County Review Order, a portion of the parish of
Ferryfryston (Ferrybridge) and a part of the Borough of Pontefract were added to
Knottingley. The Council now consists of fifteen members who represent the
four wards into which the town is divided, these are Central, East, Ferrybridge
and West. The Knottingley Electoral Division, which contains over 6,000
voters, elects one member to the West Riding County Council.
The Chairman of the Knottingley Urban District Council is Lewis George Creaser Esq. of Capetown
Villas, Womersley Road, Knottingley, and the Vice-Chairman is Wilfred Burdin
Esq., 'Headlands', Pontefract Road, Knottingley. The General Meetings of
the Council are held on the first Wednesday in every month at 6.30pm.
Rating Officer and Registrar of Cemetery: Mr. Stuart D. Hill.
Surveyor and Waterworks Manager: Mr. Gilbert J. Laverick.
Sanitary Officer: Mr. Kenneth Whiteley.
Medical Officer of Health: Dr. J. F. Fraser, 'Mayfield', Carleton Road,
Treasurers: Midland Bank Ltd., Pontefract.
Town Hall: The Public Offices of
the Urban District are situated in this building, whose large hall is used for a
variety of purposes such as dances, concerts and meetings. The Hall, which
was erected in 1865, was formerly used as a Mechanics Institute. In 1903
it was purchased by C. G. Lyon Esq. and presented to the Township. In view
of the ever expanding population, plans have been made for an extension to the
Town hall premises and to provide additional office accommodation, ante rooms
This is situated at Hill Top, Knottingley and is open during the following hours:
Monday: 2.30pm-4.30pm and 6pm-8pm
Friday: 2.30pm-4.30pm and 6pm-8pm
Saturday: 10am-12.30pm and 5.30pm-8pm
Today, current is provided under Sub-Area No. 5 of the Yorkshire Electricity Board, whose
Sub-Headquarters are at 1a, Denby Dale Road, Wakefield. The Sub-Area is
divided into districts and Knottingley comes into the Castleford District, whose
offices are also located at Castleford.
This is supplied by
the Knottingley Undertaking which is part of the North Eastern Gas Board, Bridge
Street, Leeds 2.
Four post offices serve the various districts of the town:
Knottingley Sub Office (Delivery Office)
Ferrybridge Sub Office
Hill Top Sub Office
Weeland Road Sub Office
SPORTS AND RECREATION
of the towns facilities for outdoor recreation are planned by the Council in
view of the increasing population. At present the main playing fields are
sited at Hill Top, Knottingley; soon these are to include Bowling Greens and
Tennis Courts. At Pontefract Road, Ferrybridge, 7 acres of land have been
leased for us as playing fields and in addition the Council are negotiating for
the purchase of 4 acres of land for development of Bowling Greens and Tennis
Outdoor sports include
Knottingley Town Cricket and Lawn tennis Club (who have frequently headed the
West Riding League), Junior Rugby League and Association Football Clubs (many of
them works teams). Greyhound Racing at Knottingley Stadium, Pigeon
Flying. Naturally, the above clubs do not restrict their activities purely
to sport and many such organisations possess large licensed clubs. In
addition to these a number of societies and clubs supply a variety of
instruction and entertainment during the winter months. The Knottingley
Evening Institute maintains several classes, The Ropewalk Methodist Church
fosters choral music, while branches of the British legion and Toc H. carry on
an active social life. Other clubs include the Knottingley Working-men's
Club, Foundry Lane Club and Institute and the Knottingley Conservative Club.
The nearest golf
course is that of the Pontefract and district Golf Club Ltd., 1 1/4 miles from
INDUSTRY | EARLY
HISTORY | WEST RIDING