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Years in Focus




Knottingley in the 1960's as seen in the Pontefract and Castleford Express

The hard work of the Knottingley Discharged Sailors and Soldiers Club, in providing a Christmas treat for the children of the town whose parents fell in the Great War, continues apace. The treat took place on Saturday when some 77 children participated, and it will be numbered among the most successful given. Mr. G. Howdle, proprietor of the Palace, reserved the balcony at Saturday afternoon's performance for the children and their mothers. Appropriate pictures were shown and the entertainment was greatly enjoyed. After the performance the children assembled at St. Botolph's Parish Room where an excellent ham tea was provided. The room was artistically decorated and after tea, to which full justice was done, a concert consisting of sketches, vocal, and other items, was given by the Knottingley Unique Concert Party, whose efforts were highly appreciated. During an interval, Mr. Percy Bagley and Mrs Bagley, who take a keen interest in the event, addressed the gathering, They were supported by Mr. Ramskill (secretary of the fund,) Mr. James Taylor (hon treasurer) and members of the committee. Mr. Bagley spoke in high terms of the work done by the committee, and congratulated them on the results achieved. Mrs Bagley presented to each child a voucher to the value of 10/- for boots or clothing to be spent in the town, and a sixpence to each child as a special gift from herself and Mr. Bagley. Each child was given a bag containing l/2lb of nuts, l/2lb sweets, and an orange and an apple, Mr Walker thanked all who had subscribed to the fund and mentioned there were no expenses for clerical work. He moved a hearty thanks to Mr. Howdle, The Vicar, and Churchwardens of St. Botolph's Church, and Mr. and Mrs Bagley, and the vote was seconded by Mrs Trueman and carried with acclamation. After the concert the children revelled in games until shortly after 9 o'clock when they were sent home, all feeling very happy. The whole of the treat is defrayed out of the fund. Mrs George Taylor sent a tin of potted meat for the tea.

The St. Botolph’s Church Lads Brigade, had their annual dress inspection on Sunday before entertaining the Parish Church. The Company, which was in charge of Captain A.J. Boardman, was inspected by Mr. R. Mollett, J.P., the vice President of the Company who is greatly interested in them. He complimented the Lads on their smart appearance and expressed the hope that they would continue to hold their very good record of Church Attendance.

With surprising suddeness, the death took place on Monday morning of Mrs Emma Horstead, wife of the late Captain George H. Horstead of Hull, while on a visit to her sister-in-law, Mrs D.A. Coward, at Sarnia, Cow Lane, Knottingley. Mrs Horstead was a daughter of the late Captain W. Coward, of Knottingley, and in earlier days was the secretary of the Sunday School and a member of the Church Ladies Society. For many years she had made her home in Hull. Since the death of her husband in 1923,she had paid periodic visits to her sister at Knottingley. She was out on Wednesday week, and appeared to enjoy fairly good health. Her death from heart failure came as a great shock to all her friends. The interment took place at Knottingley Cemetery on Wednesday, and was proceeded by a service in the Congregational Church (now United Reformed Church) The Reverend W.B. Minikin conducted the service, and referred very appreciatively to Mrs Horstead's connection to the Church. She was one of the first members of the church to welcome him to Knottingley, he said. The hymns ‘Peace Perfect Peace’ and ‘Dear Lord and Father of Mankind’ were sung, with Mrs J.T. Arnold presiding at the organ. The chief mourners were, Mrs D.A. Coward, (sister-in-law); Miss Dorothy Coward (Hull) and Mr. and Mrs J.W Coward, nephew and nieces; Mrs Lightowler (Ossett); Mr. and Mrs Hart (Leeds); and Mr and Mrs Nicholls (Ossett) cousins. Among others present were Mr. and Mrs Sharpe and Mr. and Mrs Panell, all of Hull, members of the Church, and many friends and sympathisers.

It is announced that the area of K.U.D.C. has been added to the area of Pontefract local committee for the administration of the coalfields Distress Fund. Some surprise has been expressed at the announcement but it may be recalled that Knottingley has approximately 300 miners living within its boundaries.

15th MARCH
In May 1924, the West Riding County Council sanctioned the provision of facilities for x-ray examinations in connection with several institutions in the Riding where treatment of tuberculous in women is undertaken. The necessary arrangements were made in accordance with the approved scheme. At the suggestion of the Ministry Of Health, and in view of the importance of x-ray examinations in the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis, the West Riding Health Committee have further considered their arrangements for this form of treatment. After considering detailed reports by the County Medical Officer, and visiting up-to-date installations, they have come to the conclusion that it is necessary to install four x-ray outfits to meet the demand of the Riding. They recommend that four x-ray outfits be provided (with accessories) at 600 each. The necessary estimates have been sent to the West Riding County Council.

The placidity of Knottingley's Good Friday was enlivened by the visit of Barratt's Canadian Circus, and as it is some years since a similar entertainment visited Knottingley, it was a big attraction. The material was excellent, and all the ingredients for the glamour of the sawdust ring were in evidence, including clowns, prancing horses, performing elephants, wire-walkers, gymnasts and cyclists. Claurenski gave a dashing bar act while the Harrow Brothers performed dexterous feats on high trapeze bars. Antoninus ‘The Roman’, careered round the ring driving four beautiful horses, and Dignity and Impudence, the giant horse and midget pony, proved an amusing contrast. Fred and Claude Yelding rode cleverly, five horses posed in masterly fashion; and the Lynton Troupe of Cyclists performed all manner of seemingly impossible stunts on their machines. Throughout the programme Douglas and Cooke ‘Smile and Smile’ and ‘Speedy’ provided great fun. They were adepts at getting in each other’s way, doing everything wrong, and misbehaving themselves generally. They left a trail of laughter in their wake. A great asset to the performance was the circus band, which played a march and popular music.

19th APRIL
The Chairman of the Knottingley Nursing Association, Mr. A McDonald, Mr. A Pickard, (Hon-Secretary), and Mrs B Arnold, at a special meeting held last week, confirmed the appointment of a district nurse for the township under the committee's auspices. The nurse, the first to be employed in Knottingley, is Miss Lilian Muriel Robbins, of Clowne, Cheshire, a Queens Nurse. The salary, as laid down by the Queens Nursing Association, is 185 per annum, rising by annual increments of 5 to 200. The nurse is to take up her duties in Knottingley on May 1st. The committee has provided a cottage in Chapel Street, and Mrs McDonald and Mrs Worfolk are to see to the domestic arrangements. The appointment will be hailed with satisfaction by the townspeople, and especially by the poorer residents. The association will function independently of the infirmary Committee, though the latter was responsible for its initiation. The Association has now a balance in hand of 247.6s including the following amounts which were handed to the new secretary; Knottingley Chamber of Trade, (proceeds of a dance), 41, Pontefract Board of Guardians, (annual subscription), 5, Mrs B Arnold, 1.1s, Mrs H.T.B. Worfolk, of Skew Bridge House, Knottingley is the Hon. Secretary.

19th APRIL
Thanks to the generosity of Mr. G.H. Howdle, the proprietor of The Palace, Knottingley, the Infirmary and Nursing Committee of Knottingley were able to augment their funds by means of a sacred concert in the Palace on Sunday evening. Last year by a similar concert, the committee raised 19.11s 2d. The building was filled on Sunday, and everything was provided by Mr. Howdle, including the staff, a picture entitled ‘Every girl loves a fighter’, and a panatrope for musical selections. Cr. J. Brown presided and spoke of the good work done by the committee. In addition to much appreciated selections by the panatrope, solos were sung by Miss Murial Wormald, Miss M and Mildred Brown, and Mr. W. Tinkler; and Mr. C.H. Littlewood of Ferrybridge, played violin selections and all the items were greatly appreciated.

19th APRIL
The members of the Knottingley Rugby Union Club on Friday held a whist drive and dance in the Town Hall, which was attractively decorated with crepe streamers, and so on, in which the club colours of green and white were predominant. Messrs. H. Appleyard, T. Northrop and Cooper were responsible for the decoration, while members of the committee helped to make the arrangements for the function. The proceeds were for club funds.

31st MAY
The death took place very suddenly at Pontefract General Infirmary on Sunday morning of Mr. William Pickersgill, of East Parade, off Aire Street, Knottingley. Mr. Pickersgill who was in his fiftieth year, was a native of Knottingley, and had worked in the town all his life except during the war when he served overseas with the Northumberland Fusiliers. He was an employee of Messrs. Bagley and Co when the war broke out, and was the first bottle-maker from the firm to enlist. He was badly wounded in France, but after a period spent recovering in England, he was sent to the front again. He was demobilised at the end of hostilities. Mr. Pickersgill was a much respected member of the British Legion and the Soldiers and Sailors Club in Knottingley. He was re-engaged by Messrs. Bagley, but for a period of nine months he was unable to follow his own occupation, and was employed in the yard. He was taken ill suddenly at about 2am. Saturday, and was taken immediately to Pontefract General Infirmary, where an operation was performed, but without avail. The interment took place at Knottingley Cemetery on Tuesday, the Rev. J.W. Hetherington (Wesleyan Minister) officiating. The chief mourners were the widow, Private Louis Pickersgill and Mr John Pickersgill,.(sons), Mr. and Mrs Knapton and Mrs Robinson. Also present were members of the Knottingley Branch of the British Legion.

7th JUNE
A disastrous fire broke out at Messrs. Bagley and Co., glassworks, Knottingley early yesterday morning. At about 4 o'clock, George Knapton and Sam Franks, founders, discovered the fire in a warehouse which covers an area of 3,000 square yards on the north side of the works near the canal. They immediately raised the alarm by sounding the works buzzer, and the firm’s fire brigade were quickly on the scene. They were however unable to cope with the outbreak and the Pontefract Fire Brigade was summoned. They responded very quickly, and soon had five jets playing with water obtained from the canal. Despite the work of the two brigades the fire assumed alarming proportions and the Leeds Fire Brigade were also sent for; they arrived at about 5 o’clock and soon had two jets in play. They left at about 9am. All the directors and other members of the firm were on the scene, and assistance was forthcoming from employees. All efforts however, proved unavailing, and the fire devastated the entire warehouse, doing damage to the extent of approximately 20,000. How the fire originated has not yet been discovered.

The two-storey warehouse, which was built some 30 years ago, was used for storing glass bottles. Nothing but the iron uprights are left standing; all the woodwork on both floors, being completely burnt out. A railway wagon, standing near the warehouse was also destroyed. The fire has completely disorganised the bottling department. All the bottles made in the adjoining shop, which were transmitted to the warehouse, will now have to be carted round, and this, and the consequent clearing of the debris, will find employment for many hands. In conversation with a representative of ‘The Express’ Mr. S. Bagley. J.P., a director, stated, reassuringly, that the fire will not cause any unemployment and that it would not affect the productivity of the firm. This is the largest fire in the history of the firm, which has been in existence for over 50 years and which employs the largest number of men in Knottingley. The fire had not been subdued up to noon yesterday, and the Pontefract Fire Brigade were still busily occupied with smouldering embers and woodwork.

12th JUNE
Thanksgiving Services for the King's recovery were held at the Parish Churches in Knottingley on Sunday. The form of the service used was similar to that used at the service in Westminster Abbey. At St. Botolph’s Church, choral communion was attended by a very large number of communicants. The Vicar, Rev E.G. Egerton, referred to the King's illness and the anxiety felt by the nation and Empire, and said the nation's prayers had been answered, and they were that day taking part in a universal thanksgiving to God. At the evening service the Vicar described the King's great feature in life as devotion to and self-sacrifice for his country. Having recovered from his long and trying illness, he desired to offer thanks giving to Almighty God, and had expressed the wish that his people should join with him. Their reason for doing so was because they loved the King, and desired to show their gratitude. As a compliment to the efficacy of the medical skill, which had played a part in the King's recovery, their offerings were to be given to the medical charities. We were a favoured nation, added the Vicar, with an ordered government and a settled monarchy established in the heart of the people. We might have differences of opinion and changes of Government, but the Throne was firmly fixed in the love and affection of the nation. The days offerings amounted to 5-15s. The thanks-giving service at Christ Church was held in the evening and the collection here amounted to 3-6s. The Vicar, the Rev. H.K.A. Schwabe, likewise made reference to the King's recovery.

12th JUNE
The Knottingley council school trip took place on Monday when the Council School children went to Cleethorpes. They were joined by the Ferrybridge council school children and together numbered about 250, accompanied by some 20 parents and teachers. They left Ferrybridge station at 7.35am and reached Cleethorpes at 10 o'clock. Here they were left to spend the time as they wished, and the sands near the station attracted most of the party. No set arrangements were made for meals. After a very happy day the party entrained at 7.30pm., and reached home about 10pm, tired but happy, This annual trip is a boon to many parents as well as to the children. The money is saved for them each at the school banks and then distributed when the time of the trip comes round. Mr. Jackson Morris, the headmaster of Weeland Road School, is the organising secretary and much credit is due to him and his helpers for the excellent arrangements, which were carried through without mishap.

14th JUNE
Nurse Robbins, the new District Nurse for Knottingley, is justifying herself since taking up her duties on 1st May. In her first month, it was reported to the members of the Nursing Association at a meeting on Monday, she had paid 181 visits and had nearly 20 patients on her list. Another satisfactory feature mentioned was that the membership of the Association is increasing. The fee is 4/- per year.

12th JULY
Knottingley was en-fete on Saturday, when the Knottingley Infirmary Committee held their third annual gala, carnival and sports, in aid of the Pontefract and Leeds Infirmaries, Cold and showery weather affected the receipts, but there was an excellent attendance in the evening. The carnival was held in Mr. G. Braim's Field, Gasworks Lane, and there was a varied programme of folk dancing, maypole competitions, gymnastic displays, fancy dress competitions and sports.

The town had been gaily decorated with bunting, flags and streamers, and an interested crowd watched a procession which included the Knottingley Silver Prize Band, The Church Lad's Brigade, tableaux, fancy dress competitors, comic bands and so on. The route led from the Flatts via Marsh End, Shepherds Bridge, Fernley Green, Weeland Road, Town Hall, Forge Hill Lane and Aire Street. On arrival at the field judging took place and the following were the prize-winners;

Fancy Dress: 1st - Margaret Thompson and Beryl Branford, (the Erasmic Twins) Equal 2nd - Ralph and Derrick Ward, ‘Son of Sheik’ and ‘Cupid Doll’.

Decorated Motor cycle or cycle: 1st - Percy Bedford, ‘Carters Knottingley Brewery’; 2nd - H. Higgins, ‘Raleigh Giraffe’

Tableaux on Dray: 1st - Ropewalk School, ‘Vikings’; Equal 2nd - Knottingley Infant Welfare and Weeland Road School.

Groomed Horse: 1st - Fred Backhouse.

Comic Band: 1st - Pontefract Charities Comic Band; 2nd - Knottingley Bobby Dazzlers.

There was an excellent display of folk dancing and maypole dancing by school children, the latter competition being won by Featherstone National School. Another much appreciated show was a gymnastic display given by members of the Pontefract Welfare Institute, arranged and produced by Mr. L. McGowan.

After morning service at Christ Church, Knottingley, on Sunday, the Reverend H.K.A Swarbe dedicated the new tower bell, which is to form part of the Church renovation scheme. The bell is the largest of three at the Church, weighing 4cwts, and has been re-cast by Messrs. Taylor of Loughborough. It will be re-hung later.

The project of a playing-ground for Knottingley has been revived, and seems to promise completion. It has been decided to raise a fund of 1,000 with a view to purchasing the Green House Fields, an admirable and altogether attractive venue, and a special sub-committee has been elected to arrange for raising of funds.

Messrs. Bagley and Co Ltd., gave the fund a handsome start, and other people in the town have followed suit. Councillor H. Bentley J.P. is head of the committee, Councillor. G.P. Jackson has been made Vice Chairman and Councillor H. Gregg is the Hon treasurer. Mr. W.T. Coates has done much to revive the idea, and the elementary schoolteachers of the town also have taken a hand. On Saturday they organised a ‘mile of pennies’ and raised 32-8-5d. This brings the fund to about 200, a most gratifying start. Other efforts are to be made.

Commemoration Services were held at both Parish Churches in Knottingley on Sunday. There were early celebrations of the Holy Communion at both and The Vicar of Christ Church read the names of the fallen from his Parish at evening services when special prayers were offered.

There was a large gathering of ex-servicemen at the annual Remembrance supper held at the Knottingley British Legion Club Headquarters last week. The new premises were packed with members and friends, and the function was very successful. Mr. Dan O'Driscol, Hon Secretary of the club, presided and was supported by Mr. J.W. Kipping. The toast ‘Our Fallen Comrades’ was honoured in silence. The British Legion have done good work during the last 12 months, especially supervising pensions, relief, and cases before the Court of Referees, The branch has also been instrumental in obtaining employment for it's many members.



Large Gathering in Spite of Fog


Memorable scenes attended the funeral at Knottingley on Friday of the late Mr. George Granville Bantock Bagley, of ‘The Mount’, Knottingley, whose death was reported in the Express last week. Rarely has Knottingley been so moved by the passing of a townsman. The route from the residence to the Cemetery was lined with townspeople, and at points near the Town Hall and outside the works of Messrs. Bagley and Co, which were closed for the time, there were crowds of people.

The cortege itself included workpeople of every grade who paid reverence to the memory of a great employer who was also a friend. The funeral took place in thick fog. The interment was preceded by a service in St. Botolph's Parish Church, of which Mr. Bagley was a member. The service was conducted by the Vicar The Reverend F.E. Egerton, who also officiated at the graveside. The hymns ‘The day Thou gavest Lord, is ended’ and ‘Jesu Lover of my soul’ were sung.

The church itself was crowded. The chief mourners were the widow and Mr. W.H. Bagley, son, Mr. S.B. Bagley J.P., and Mrs Bagley, Ackworth, brother and sister in law, Mrs Goodman, sister, Mr. and Mrs C.W. Addingley, brother in law and sister, Mr. Sergeant, Scunthorpe, brother in law, Mr. Raynam, Brigg, brother in law, and Mrs Raynam, Mr. Kenneth Bagley, Ackworth, nephew, and Mrs Horsefield, niece, Mr. Ernest Bagley, of Southport, a brother was absent through indisposition. Others attending were Mr. and Mrs Percy Bagley, Mr. and Mrs Pete Bagley, Mrs J.W. Bentley, Miss Norah Bentley, Mrs E.N. Gundill, Mr W Bentley, J.P. Mr. C Croysdale, Whitley Bridge, Mr. Eric England, Mr A.L. Bratley, Mr. A Naismith, all of Pontefract, Mr. W.J. Wilby, Mr. J.W. Kipping of John Harker's, Councillor J. Jackson, Jackson Bros, Mrs B. Arnold, Mr. and Mrs Metcalf, Mr. H. Gregg, Gregg's Glassworks, and many, many, more dignitaries and mourners.

Yesterday, following the heavy rains, the River Aire at Knottingley was level with its banks, and a considerable portion of the marsh was flooded.

As reported in the Pontefract and Castleford Express 1929

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