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Years in Focus




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

4TH MAY 1962

Ninety-five-year-old Mr. John Jackson made his last speech as chairman of the directors of Jackson Brothers (Knottingley) Ltd., glass bottle manufacturers, at the company's 49th ordinary general meeting on Monday. He expressed his "deep personal satisfaction" that Bagley and Co. Ltd., another Knottingley glass manufacturing company with whom he had started work with his brother Tom at the age of 12,were now uniting with his firm to form one of the largest glass container manufacturers in the country. It was announced that he is to become President of the company, which he had started with his brother in 1893 and that his only son, Mr. Frank Jackson, who was the Managing Director, succeeds him as Chairman.

Presiding at the meeting, Mr. John Jackson said he thought the merger, which follows offers from Jackson's to buy Bagley's and their associated firm ‘The Crystal Glass Company’, will strengthen the company's trading position and produce a useful addition to their profits.

"In acquiring Bagley's we have not merely acquired additional productive capacity, but a successful trading company whose name stands high with its customers and throughout the trade generally," he said of the firm to which he was indentured for five years as a glass worker, starting at eight shillings a week.

It was stated that the group trading profit for the year, after charging all expenses, was 24,744 higher than the previous year, and was due to the new production unit and extensive alterations and improvements. He revealed sales last year were a record, but "there was still scope for improvements," said Mr. Jackson. At a subsequent extraordinary general meeting the proposed increase of nominal capital from 400,00 to 650,00 was approved.

6TH JULY 1962

Heavy road vehicles thunder past, blowing dust and belching soot and grime accumulate on windows, brickwork, windowsill, while vandals break the remaining glass panes. Meanwhile, the six remaining occupiers of a terrace of 18 houses at Hill Top, Knottingley, continue their daily lives as the dwellings deteriorate into slum property. And the most surprising thing is that most of them do not mind too much. That is the position at these houses - formerly known as Jacksonville - which were built so close to the pavement that their foundations rock each time a heavy lorry rumbles past.

For two years owner-occupiers and tenants have been moving out, leaving the houses unoccupied as they have been re-housed under Knottingley Urban District Council's slum clearance scheme. Owner-occupiers moved first and now most of the younger families have left. Some of those remaining have already been offered alternative accommodation by the Council, but prefer to wait for a better offer.

The Council has now made Closing orders on the properties and the clerk, Mr. H.B. Probert, says the remaining tenants appreciate the Council's difficulties. Negotiations have not been completed with the owners of three houses, but it is hoped that all the families will be re-housed by the end of the year. Properties will then be ready for demolition.


The Council is considering a proposal to build new swimming baths on land immediately to the south of Jacksonville. But still the traffic rushes past; the dust and fumes increase, the foundations rock and the houses - which are well over a 100 years old - look more like slums as each day passes. And the occupiers continue to wait. "We were given the chance to get out but we didn't take it, so we are prepared to wait." said one.

24TH AUGUST 1962

Climbing 4,000 feet in pouring rain and having to wade through roaring torrents, two Knottingley school boys who went camping with the Boys' Brigade in Scotland found they never had a dull moment. They were Arthur Laurence, aged 16, of Eastfield Avenue, a pupil of Selby Technical School, and Terence Beaumont, aged 15, of Weeland Road, who attends The Kings School, Pontefract, both of whom have been members of the Boys' Brigade at Knottingley since they were 12.

Arthur and Terence were among 60 boys chosen by the Boys Brigade headquarters to attend a week's course at Glenmore Lodge, in the Cairngorms. They returned to Knottingley on Saturday with stories of canoeing, rock-climbing, dinghy-sailing and bivouac camping. Describing some of the highlights of their holiday, Arthur said the course was "really interesting and educational,'" with a full day devoted to each subject. Even though the course centred on mountain activities, religion - the main theme of the Brigade - was not forgotten; short services were held each morning and night.

On the last two days of the course his group went bivouac camping, "This type of camping is really roughing it" explained Arthur, "and we certainly had it rough! We walked ten miles, climbing hills up to 4,000 ft in height, in pouring rain. The rain was so heavy in fact, that when we came to what should have been a small stream, it had become a raging torrent which was waist deep, and we had to wade through it. We camped at night in a shelter, and the next morning we walked back up to the Lodge, and nearly got lost on top of one hill in the clouds.'' A Ceilidth (concert) which lasted from Friday night until the early hours of Saturday rounded off their activities.

"All the boys and officers were really thrilled by their experiences during the week, and everyone is now waiting for the next course at the Lodge," says Arthur.

Terence, who was in a different group, spent a similar week to Arthur - with one difference. He accidentally capsized a sailing dinghy and everyone on board was soaked.

The boys came from all parts of the British Isles and the course is regarded as preliminary training for the Duke of Edinburgh's ‘Outward Bound’ scheme.


A new group to protect the interests of Knottingley Aire Street traders was formed on Monday. An inaugural meeting held in Ropewalk Methodist Hall attracted 38 shopkeepers who appointed officials and formulated policy. During a two-hour discussion, the group selected the name ‘Aire Street Traders Association.’ Mr. W.G. Watt is chairman; Mr. W. Benton, Secretary; and Mr. L. Cook, Treasurer, The main aims are to brighten the appearance of the town's only existing shopping centre and to oppose Urban Council plans to develop a site at Hilltop, adjoining the station, for new shops

A three-point plan was formulated to further the aims: - 

FIRST: Central Ward representatives on the Council will be approached with a view to improving the slum area adjoining Aire Street. "The Association wants to see houses erected on the derelict sites and to change the area from slums to a presentable shopping centre which will be better for the town and the tradespeople," explained Mr. Benton.

SECOND: The association plans to approach the Council itself if plans to lobby Central Ward representatives fail.

THIRD: If these approaches are unsatisfactory the Association will nominate its own candidates for future elections.

"In the past, the Urban Council seems to have demolished old property around Aire Street and then left it. We are fighting for our living, and if we can't stop a racket we'll join it," admitted the Secretary.

The Association's opposition to Council plans for a new centre at Hill Top are based primarily on two factors;

  • The dangers to shoppers using the Hill Top area, which adjoins the main Weeland Road.
  • Their claim that the Hill Top area is not central.

They believe the proposed site will be no more central than Aire Street, which is only half a mile away, and that Aire Street can offer better parking facilities away from the main road than could be planned for the proposed Hill Top site.


Over 50 members of Aire Street Traders Association met Knottingley Urban District Council Housing, Highways, Lighting and Allotments Committee in private at the Town Hall, on Tuesday. They heard the Council's consulting architect, Mr. M. Turner, explain the controversial plans he has drawn on the Council's instructions, for the comprehensive re- development of Aire Street, and then put counter proposals. The chief spokesman for the traders was Mr. W.G. Watt, (chairman) and the discussion became heated at some stages.

The Committee promised to consider the counter proposals at its meeting on Wednesday. It is understood the Committee spent more than two hours discussing the counter proposals. Mr. Watt was not available to tell ‘The Express’ of counter proposals put forward by the traders, and Mr. W. Benton (secretary) said he did not want to comment and prejudice the traders case, but he was optimistic of the outcome.

The Council Clerk, Mr. H.B. Probert, was not available on Thursday to comment on either of the meetings.


The Council plan which includes the erection of 15 shops, two banks, one public house, 176 dwellings and 92 garages, was rejected by the Aire Street Traders Association, when they met the committee.

"Old buildings at the rear of Aire Street should be demolished, the site cleared and houses built to bring more trade to the area," propose the traders. They say the Council should acquire all vacant shops in the street and demolish them along with the council-owned shops. New shops with flats above should be erected and let to existing tenant-shopkeepers at a reasonable rent. A new road should be constructed to link Chapel Street and Cow Lane with a service road to meet Aire Street near the Post Office. Both the new road and Aire Street should be made one-way streets and a bus service provided.

Councillor’s A. Cardwell and Mr. M. McLauchlan, debated whether the plan would have to be re-drawn or merely modified. Councillor McLauchlan said he regarded the proposal as a skeleton plan to which the specialists could make adjustments. It would be for them to decide which properties could be retained, but the answer was not 15 shops. That may be the idea of Town and Country Planning officials but it was not his belief.

A cutting from The Express of November 23rd, showing the architects plan for Aire Street shopping centre was produced by Councillor W. O'Brien who claimed that this was the plan - with only 15 shops - which was approved in principle. Now Mr. McLauchlan was saying old shops could be included. He agreed that this was possible and had been effective in neighbouring towns. Councillor A. Wood, urged that some form of understanding should be reached with shopkeepers if the housing development started "at the back of Aire Street" but Councillor C. Tate objected that this was as good as referring back to the plan. The Council had plans for the back of Aire Street before it considered comprehensive re-development. It may be best to develop the back of Aire Street first but it would be advisable to stick to some sort of plan.

Councillor O'Brien moved and Councillor Cardwell seconded an amendment, "That the scheme should not be rejected – but should be deleted." The mover explained this would allow the architect and officials more latitude to modify the plan, The Council would not be committing itself to ‘x’ numbers of shops. The amendment was carried.

Councillor O'Brien objected that only members of the Housing, Highways, Lighting and Allotment Committee had met the Aire Street traders at a special meeting. He thought all the members of the Council should have been invited to such an important meeting.

As reported in the Pontefract and Castleford Express 1962

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