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Years in Focus




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

January 3rd
A party of singers from the Ropewalk Methodist Church, Knottingley, have devoted the proceeds of a carolling tour of the town to the National Children's Home and Orphanage.

January 3rd
On Christmas Eve gifts of money were distributed among the incapacitated members of the British Legion at Knottingley and Ferrybridge. The distribution was made by Messr's D. Ingham, H. Higgins and J.W. Coward in Knottingley and by Mr. J. Dobson at Ferrybridge.

Miss Pamela Kellet of Morley House, Weeland Road, Knottingley, was again successful in the British Ballet Organisation examination at Doncaster.

January 17th
The recent snow whose departure was expedited by still more rain, has seen numbers of people rendered temporarily homeless. In many places the floods rose as more rain sent up the flood levels of the River Aire once more at Bank Dole Lock, Knottingley, on the Aire and Calder Canal. The highest point reached during the past week was 6ft 6inch above normal, but on Wednesday the water was subsiding again.

January 24th
Glengarry, Hornby Road, Blackpool. 2 minutes sea and station. Board residence 12/6p per day.

Mr. Ike Cox will open his shop at 11 Wilson Street, Castleford, on Thursday next, March 6th, with horsemeat for human consumption. Only the best quality killed.

Value Your Sunday by going to the polls on Saturday March 15th and voting against Sunday opening of Cinema's.  Christian council of Clergy and Ministers of the Castleford Churches.

February 28th
Pontefract and Knottingley N.F.S. men used their axes to break through a foot of ice on the pond in Cridling Park, Knottingley, on Monday to obtain water to fight a barn fire. After water tenders had been emptied a water pump was towed by a farm tractor across a field covered by over a foot of snow. The firemen were out for over three hours and their greatcoats were frozen stiff when they returned.

On Tuesday ice was reported on stretches of the Aire and Calder Canal between Castleford and Knottingley and between Knottingley and Whitley Bridge, but there was no serious freeze up because of the movement of traffic. However, ice breaking operations were in progress and also on new sections of the new Junction Canal. A huge stretch of water was frozen over at Fairburn Ing's and there has been some skating although the ice was rough.

The fuel situation continues to be difficult and domestic consumers are having a hard time in many parts of the district. Many churches have insufficient fuel to heat their buildings for services. Although the electricity structures have had no general effect on local industries, the coal situation, still at the mercy of the weather, continues to take it's toll. Dunhill's Ltd, confectioners, of Pontefract, had been closed a week on Wednesday, when there was little prospect of a resumption before next week. Four more furnaces have been closed at Messr' Bagley and Co, Knottingley, due mainly to the shortages of alkali, and it is stated that although the weekly output has been further reduced. an attempt is being made to share out the work as fairly as possible.

March 21st
Passers by on Aire Street, Knottingley, on Tuesday, noted with misgivings that during the night the river had reached a much higher level, drowning the 'Island' again and bringing down an assorted collection of flotsam, as it swirled silently almost level with the Flatts. Knottingley is expecting to see water on the Marsh very soon but also hoping it ''does not come the other way''

March 28th
The calamity of the agricultural area between Knottingley and Snaith is only now being fully realised. Thousands of acres of pasture and farmland lie beneath the waters which have stretched out on both sides of the River Aire, for greater distances than within living memory. Tons of vital foodstuffs, potatoes and cattle fodder, are covered. Road and rail connections are cut, telephone communications endangered, villages isolated, and large numbers of people rendered temporarily homeless. In many places the floods rose with unprecedented rapidity.

Snaith, on Tuesday, was a town of Wellington boots, boats and improvisations - a town that had been without gas since early Monday, without electric light since Sunday, and was now without trains.  The last comparable flood was in 1892, but even then the water never reached the railway station, whose buildings on Tuesday contained several feet of water. Mr. C. Tasker, a coal merchant of Snaith, who gave the alarm said:

''I heard the water coming at a quarter to seven on Sunday morning. It sounded like thunder in the distance; then I saw it pouring over the fields and went immediately to warn the police and rouse Gowdall."

Mr. Tasker, with a small rowing boat and a fog lamp, was out all Sunday night rescuing residents from Gowdall and visiting isolated farms.  The invasion continued throughout Sunday, while police and the local authorities did their utmost to afford relief. Sandbags were used by residents to block doorways and fill gaps.  Early in the morning cattle were being driven back willy-nilly across pastures to higher ground, some being collected by lorries and some by boat. Much livestock was crammed into wagons on the railway embankments which stood high out of the water.

The Vicar of Ferrybridge, The Reverend J.L. Turney, was once more cut off from his church last week and barges 'locked out' in the river by the closing of the Ferrybridge flood-lock, were straining at their moorings. The canal between Anvil Bridge and Cow Lane, Knottingley, was choc-a-block with vessels awaiting the resumption of traffic.  From Mill Fields, Knottingley, could be seen an inland sea stretching to the slopes of Byram-Cum-Sutton, and agitated by strong cross currents. At one time the water threatened the Knottingley Gas Works, which could only be approached by planks, but later the water receded. Ducks were swimming in the fields behind St. Botolph's church. Floodwater from Selby, creeping towards Hillam and Monk Fryston, created alarm in those villages.

Mr. A.W. Lightowler (36) a master engineer of 'Arch Haven', Ferrybridge Road, Knottingley, has won 1,200 in a football competition. He has filled his coupon in for about 8 years and has had 3/4 'Good Wins' though none so big as his latest one. He has no method and relies entirely on 'pure luck'.

May 2nd
A Knottingley man who has decided to try his luck abroad is Mr. Thomas Bugg, the only son of Mrs. and the late Mr. R. Bugg. He was recently married at the Catholic Presbytery, Portland, Australia, to Miss Imelda Hutchinson, the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs W. Hutchinson, of Portland. Before he joined the navy in 1943, he worked at Bagley's Glassworks and he met his bride in Sydney when he was serving on H.M.S,Glory, which was engaged on ferrying prisoners of war between Australia and Japan. Mr. and Mrs Bugg now have their new home in Sydney and Mr. bugg is working at a Government small arms factory.

May 23rd
Married at St. Botolph's by the Rev. Musgrave were Fred Richardson of Pontefract, and Miss Doris Balham of Knottingley, the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Balham of 'Auckland', Womersley Road, Knottingley.

May 17th
County Hospital, Wakefield. To Primrose, wife of Richard, Knottingley, a brother for Christine, David.

Mrs. W. Doubtfire, of Lock House, Bank Dole, Knottingley, has won 250 on a newspaper crossword competition.

June 7th
At St. Botolph's Church, Robert Smith of Pontefract was married to Audrey Bains, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bains, 'Bonville', Womersley Road, Knottingley.

A tank containing molton metal, at the Glass Bottle Manufacturing Co, of Bagley and Co., burst in the early hours of the Monday and started a fire. The metal flowed away safely and the fire was brought under control by the works firemen before the arrival of the N.F.S. from Pontefract and Knottingley.

August 8th
105 Members of the Discharged Soldiers and Sailors Club, Knottingley, spent an enjoyable day at Skegness on Sunday. The party left Knottingley at 7.30 am. and after a day of good weather arrived back at 11pm.

August 8th
According to enquiries made by The Express this week, the farmers problem of obtaining pickers in the big pea-growing area east of Knottingley - an acute one last year - has largely solved itself because of reduced sowings.

On the whole it appears that crops have emerged much cleaner and healthier than last year and the pickers price of 2/6p a bag at the beginning of the season has fallen to about 2/-. Knottingley women pickers are in demand however. ''They know the job'' a local farmer told The Express and added "some of them can pull 2 bags an hour, and when the price was 2/6p one women in a field of mine earned 25/- in a seven hour day.''

Labour is also available from the holiday camp at Whitley and has proved a useful contribution. Unfortunately by the time these helpers have become proficient in some farm jobs their holiday is at an end.

August 8th
''I believe that one further great task remains to be done by Mr. Churchill in his long public career, and that is to rally this country in the economic Battle of Britain as he did in 1940.''
Mr. L.D. Gammons, M.P

August 28th
Marriage. Peter Richard, younger son of Wing Commander and Mrs J.W. Buckland, of Hayes, Middlesex, to Mary, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs H. Billbrough, of Knottingley at St. Botolph's Church.

September 19th
George Kemp, 14, of Nants Cottages, Marsh End, Knottingley, found part of a human skull in a quarry at Canal Bank, near the Town Hall on Wednesday. The skull is without its lower jaw and the top part is cut away and fitted with pins as though it had been an exhibition piece. The discovery has been reported to the police.

September 26th
One new case of Infantile Paralysis has been reported in the district during the week at Knottingley. Isolation is being continued at home, while there have been no cases in Pontefract or Castleford for a month.

October 24th
Hull Fair was the destination of an outing for members of Knottingley British Legion Branch and friends which was arranged by the social committee. A party of 30 spent an enjoyable day.

November 28th
The dream of a fairy princess and her wonderful coach came true for two Knottingley sisters, Yvonne and Gwen Faiers, age 12 and 10 respectively, whose mother, Mrs E. Faiers, of Waterfield Gatehouse, took them to see the royal wedding yesterday week.  Luck followed them all the way. At Sheffield a newspaper photographer who asked them to pose said they were the two youngest people he had seen travelling to the wedding. They arrived in London early and secured an excellent 'stand' in the Mall, where they had a long wait among people who had been spending the night in sleeping bags, but the reward was an uninterrupted view of the procession going to the Abbey and returning.  Many people fainted in the crowd around them but Yvonne and Gwen were far too excited to let that worry them, and in the afternoon they stood in a queue to see the altar in Westminster Abbey. Later they joined the huge crowd which saw the King and Queen and Princess Margaret Rose on the balcony, in the floodlit grounds. It was eight o'clock next morning when they reached home.

November 28th
An Informal social evening was arranged by workers and staff of Bagley & Co, of Knottingley, which drew a large company to the works canteen on Tuesday. Members of the works Rugby team added their 'weight' and a lively concert followed, in which the various items of entertainment, which included tap dancing, singing, and instrumental solos, were given by employees. A band, in which the instrumentalists were Messr's J. Kelly, H. Cooper, H. Barrat and P. Turpin, gave excellent service.

November 28th
The tenant of a shop and house in Aire Street, Knottingley, Mr. F.D. Carver, bought the property for 450 when it was offered for sale by auction, by Messr's Bently and Son, at the L. and Y. Hotel yesterday week. Property comprising another shop and house in Aire Street, lately occupied by Mr. V. Morrel, together with an adoining lock-up shop was withdrawn at 775. Vacant possession of the house was offered.

December 12th
A gift of china, which Mrs. E. Arnold of 'Northfield', Womersley Road, sent to Princess Elizabeth on the occasion of her wedding, has been accepted and acknowledged. Painted on the crockery, which includes cups an saucers over 50 years old, is a photograph of Queen Victoria at the time of her Diamond Jubilee.

As reported in the Pontefract and Castleford Express 1947

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