Knottingley and Ferrybridge Online West Yorkshire
Amazon Advertisements
Years in Focus 1965




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


New Years Day saw a dream come true at Ferrybridge, when the Chairman of Knottingley Urban District Council, Cr. W. O'Brien, opened the new 40,000 Ferrybridge Progressive Club in Pottery Lane. For members and committee, it was the end of hours of planning, discussion and fund-raising. Secretary, Mr. J.R. Smethurst, told an ‘Express’ reporter that the idea of forming the club started three years ago, when a group of people thought it would be an asset to the community. Nine months ago the foundations were laid and from then on, progress has been rapid and now the ultra-modern club is another reminder of the rapidly changing face of the village.

The club has a spacious games room, a lounge, a music room to accommodate 250 people, and a steward’s flat. At present it has 1,000 members. Introducing Cr. O’Brien, a Trustee of the club, Mr. R.P. Wilson, said; "We are very proud to be able to offer newcomers to our area a club of this type."

Cr. O’Brien said many delightful requests had come his way during his term of office, "but this morning is the proudest day of the year; I cannot envisage anything that will improve on this moment of splendour." Cr. O’Brien said he believed in working men’s clubs and social centres. "I think they are necessary for the society we live in" he said, "they give people the opportunity to gather and take part in community life."


It would be interesting to learn why the Public Health Committee of Knottingley Urban District Council has chosen the name ‘The Arcade’ for the shops at Hill Top, in view of the fact that the shops simply form a row. An arcade is a "passage arched over; any covered walk, especially with shops along one or both sides." (COD) The word ‘arcade’ is derived from a word meaning ‘arch’. Perhaps this name has been chosen on the ‘luca a non lucendo’ principles: - ie. It has been called an arcade because there is no arch!

I would suggest that a better name would be "High Cross", the name given to that district on all ordnance maps, which probably means "The cross roads at the top of the hill." This would not only be a suitable name but it would perpetuate an old-established name; and its easy syllables would be easy to say.

Mr. W. Allen, licensee of the Sailors Home Inn, Knottingley, wondered whether the building is one of the oldest in the town (Express, 31st December 1964.)  He may be interested to know that on the ordnance map of over 100 years ago, surveyed in 1845, the buildings on the site of the present inn are shown as the Wheat Sheaf Inn. The buildings shown may of course be the existing buildings in spite of the fact that the name of the inn has changed.


The Pollard Family of Knottingley has provided the towns Silver Prize Band with officials and players for more than 80 years, and it came as a severe blow to the band last week when Mr. Tom Pollard, a member for half-a-century, had to retire owing to ill health. Mr. Pollard who is 60 followed in his father’s footsteps as a bandsman by joining the Knottingley band at the age of 10. At that time he played tenor horn, when he retired his instrument was double bass. His uncle Mr. Jim Pollard played in the band and his brother Joe is a former bands-master but the family connection with the band has not been severed completely with Mr. Pollard's retirement for his son, Brian, is the present band-master.

Mr. Pollard, who lives at Vale Head Grove, Knottingley, was caretaker of the old bandroom in Aire Street, before the band moved to headquarters at the old Conservative Club. He says his most vivid memories of his career with the band are of the bands visits to old Crystal Palace, which was the ‘Mecca’ of bandsmen everywhere before the building was destroyed by fire. "We had a fair amount of success down there," he said, "but apart from that it was the thrill of competing in National contests against the cream of the countries bands."

In recognition of his services to the band, Mr. Pollard received a gold plated combined cigarette case and lighter from President, Mr. W.V. Gregg. Of Mr. Pollard, the bands secretary, Mr. George W. Hodgson says, "Tom was the solid no-nonsense type of bandsman. He was ever dependable both as a player and a worker. It is hoped that he will be able to attend some rehearsals if only as a knowledgeable critic." 


Describing Knottingley as "Perhaps the wealthiest urban district in the West Riding," Alderman, Mrs J Smith, Chairman of the West Riding County Council, forecast an excellent future for the town when she spoke at the local authority’s annual dinner and dance at the N.A.D.S.& S. Club on Tuesday. She was proposing a toast to the Urban District. "Obviously, the township has great scope as far as industrial development is concerned, but I do hope with the cutting down of the working day, the people will give a good deal of their time to cultural activities", she said.

Responding, the Chairman of the Urban Council, Cr. W. O’Brien, painted a rosy picture of the future of the town and said it was "progressing in industrial and residential development."

He commented that he had been criticised for holding the dinner at the club instead of in Pontefract. "I would never go to Pontefract with a function. If we in Knottingley cannot accommodate a function, I would not hold one at all." He mentioned the varied number of industries in Knottingley and commented:- "We are fortunate in having a cross section of industry. If anyone wishes to mention any industry, I think we can safely say we have got that type here."

15TH APRIL 1965 

"I left school at 13 and began work the following day. Since then it has been all hard work."

This is how Mr. Albert Reynolds, of The Grange, Ferrybridge Road, Knottingley, summed up his working life as he prepared to retire from his post as a director of Bagley & Co. Ltd., Knottingley, at the weekend, at the age of 65. He started with the firm as an apprentice engineer; was for many years works manager; and had been a director for nine years. Mr. Reynolds, a former Knottingley councillor, intends to continue his still active public life during his retirement, but next month he and his wife Annie are going to Canada for five months to visit their daughter, Mrs Margaret Beaumont, her husband Henry, and their five children.

"When I started work I had to study at evening school for four years," he said. "I used to work from 6 o’clock in the morning until five at night, rush home for tea, walk to Pontefract to evening class until 9 o’clock, then walk home again."

He followed in his father’s footsteps as a member of K.U.D.C. serving for 23 years before retiring in 1961, and was chairman four times. In 1954 he formed the Knottingley Independant Association, the forerunner of the present Rent and Rate Association. He became a West Riding magistrate in 1950, and has been chairman of the Osgoldcross Licensing Justices for the past seven years. Mr. Reynolds has been a member of the Divisional Education Executive, and has been on the Pontefract and Castleford Hospital Management Committee since its formation in 1948 and recently resigned the post of President of the Knottingley Conservative Club.

Now in his 29th year as a warden at St. Botolph’s with Christ Church, Knottingley, he was people’s warden for 21 years and has been Vicar’s Warden for the past eight years. He is former treasurer of The Parochial Church Council. He was a sergeant-pilot during the First World War and served in the Observer Corps during the last war. Well known in local cricketing circles, he is a former captain and treasurer of Knottingley Cricket Club.

Mrs Reynolds served for many years as a Governor of Pontefract Girl’s High School, and has just resigned the post of Enrolling Member of the Knottingley branch of the Mother’s Union. Mrs Reynolds is also to receive a cocktail cabinet from John Artis, (London) who are the sales representatives of the Crystal Glass Company.

29TH APRIL 1965 

Seventeen-year-old June Smith, of Westfield Road, Knottingley, was elected Knottingley Carnival Queen at a dance in Knottingley on Friday. June, who works in the warehouse department of Jackson Bros. Ltd., will be crowned by a show business celebrity on Carnival Day on July 3.

At Friday's event, organised by the Knottingley and Ferrybridge Gala Charities Committee, June was selected from 17 entrants and received the Carnival Queen sash from the retiring queen, Miss Joan Tunningley. Miss Smith’s chief attendant was also selected, she is 16 year-old Janet Ramskill, of Ashcombe Drive, Knottingley.

The Judges were the manager of Jackson Bros., Mr. L. Minter and Mrs Minter; sales manager of Pollard Bearings Mr. F. Price, and Mrs Price; and the Superintendent of the Ferrybridge Power Station, Mr. Stone, and Mrs Stone. Guests included Cr. O’Brien and other councillors and officials. They were welcomed by the president of the Gala Committee Cr. C. Tate.


Living links with Knottingley's days of sail, when local sea-captains owned their own vessels and families shared in the work of operating them, must be rare now. One of them - and possibly the last - was Mr. William Hargrave, of Coronation Bungalows, who died on Saturday at the age of 70. ‘Billy’ Hargrave, as he was known to scores of older Knottingley residents, was the eldest son of the late Captain Hargrave, master of the schooner ‘Elizabeth’ of Knottingley, which went down in a storm off Farne Islands when Billy was a little more than a boy. The family still posses the nameplate from the ship’s boat in which Captain Hargrave and his men got away from the wreck, but which capsized with the loss of all hands. On this occasion Billy happened to stay at home.

Nevertheless, over the years then and since, he had probably acquired as much knowledge as any Knottingley man living, of the mariners of Knottingley and Goole and the coastwise travel of sail when families went down to the sea in ships. The family sea-faring connection was far-reaching, with at least one branch at South Shields; and at the time when the ‘Elizabeth’ was lost, for example, Captain Hargrave’s brother was harbourmaster at nearby Seaham Harbour.

The family tradition was carried on in Mr. Billy Hargrave’s generation by his brother John who sailed the world with the Royal Navy and was rescued from the sea when his ship went down at the Battle of Jutland; and in the next generation by a nephew who was at the Italian landings.

Mr. Billy Hargrave, after the loss of the family vessel, was apprenticed butcher to the late Mr. Sam Steele of Knottingley, served in the KOYLI in the First World War and was gassed and wounded at Cambrai; but spent the greater part of his working life in the glass industry at Jackson Bros. Ltd. Including his brother Albert, who was killed on the Western Front in 1918, he had three brothers and four sisters of whom two brothers and two sisters remain.

He nursed his late wife, Mrs Clara Hargrave, during some years as an invalid proceeding her death three years ago, She and their son and three daughters had all been connected with the Ropewalk Methodist Church, from which the funeral was to take place yesterday (Wednesday) before burial at Knottingley Cemetery.


A report in the ‘Express’ on September 23rd of the death of Mr. William Hargrave, of Knottingley, has prompted a letter from Mrs Edna Mowbray, of Racca Avenue, Knottingley. She says that although she read the report with great interest, Mr. Hargrave was not, as stated, "probably the last living link" with Knottingley’s seafaring past. "I can assure the ‘Express’ that there are still a number of people with actual experiences of sailing ships, still living in the town, several of them members of my own family," she writes.

"My father, the late Mr. Richard Cawthorne, and his brother Chris, were, like many of their forebears, master mariners who took their families to sea with them. Every spring, we would lock up house, board my father’s ship at Goole, and spend the rest of the summer months voyaging from one port to another. Mostly, however, we took coal from the Humber to the Channel ports and returned with china clay for the local potteries. Each time we arrived back at Hull or Goole, we would entrain for Knottingley and for a week or two, home and school life would be resumed, but as soon as my father’s ship was re-loaded we would be off again, until summer was finally over."

"I have a host of memories of those sea-faring days, and the sad thing to me is that today there are so few people with whom I can share those memories. The name ‘Yarmouth’ may conjure up for most people the picture of a popular holiday resort; but I never hear it without recalling three terrifying nights and days spent riding out on a howling gale in ‘Yarmouth Roads’ on board our small ketch ‘Panther’. I also remember how we children were often put to bed fully dressed except for our boots-just in case! Those sailors of long ago loved their ships, and I remember the great grief of my father when his ship, the schooner ‘Demaris’ was sunk by a German submarine in the English Channel in 1916."

"One of my most treasured possessions is an oil painting of my late grandfather’s ship the schooner ‘Nancy’ which he captained in 1906. So long as it hangs on my kitchen wall, I shall be reminded of Knottingley’s seafaring days and of a childhood that was just a little different."


Dr. Arthur Patrick Percival, whose father and grandfather were doctors at Knottingley before him, died at his home at Ash Grove, Knottingley, on Sunday, aged 45. He was born at Knottingley, educated at Leeds University, and began his career at Pontefract General Infirmary. During the last war he was a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps and served in France, Belgium and Germany. After D-Day he helped bring the wounded from Dunkirk, After the war he took up a general practice at Royston, and ten years later, took another practice at Wombwell. After three years there, he returned to Knottingley where he had been in practice for five years. He is a former Rotarian, and a former member of the West Riding Sailing Club, Winterset. His father Dr. A.P. Percival, was in practice at Knottingley for twenty years and his grandfather, Dr. T. Percival, for thirty years.

A funeral service is to take place at Christ Church, Knottingley, tomorrow (Thursday) prior to interment at Knottingley Cemetery. Dr. Percival leaves a widow and two sons.


Workers may take their part in assembling information about the crash-down, during a tense mid-morning hour of Monday’s gale, of three out of eight 375ft concrete cooling towers at Ferrybridge ‘C’ Power Station. For eyewitness accounts are being sought, meteorological and photographic records, and other data on the fall of the 8,000 ton giants which cost 290,000 each.

The disaster has tended to dwarf other damage and dislocation in local areas, where roof tiles were stripped and vehicles overturned by the wind. What people encountered however may be of value in the final analysis such as a sound "like a jet flying low" and a sight "like a shower of pepper" - as or before the towers collapsed into their shells. They might be the means of throwing light on the most spectacular disaster of its kind that local districts have ever seen, yet most remarkable for its absence of serious injury among the 2,500 workforce at the site.

Did some peculiar force develop with the position of the towers (they were to the leeward side of the five left standing) and the wind (96 miles per hour was recorded at the station)? Answers that may be sought to such questions as this and others could have considerable effect when big constructions are planned in the future. The towers were the highest in Western Europe.

Though the area of the towers was sealed to all except specialist staff, it was back to work on Tuesday morning for those employed on the site. During the night C.E.G.B. and police security patrols had been maintained. At 10.30 am on Monday, the first cooling tower crashed, and the others followed at about half-hourly intervals. The first fell minutes after 200 men working on adjacent towers (not the fallen ones) had been recalled because of the weather conditions "not because it was thought that there was any danger of a collapse" said Mr. Leydon.

The three hurt but not seriously- and treated at Pontefract Infirmary, were Malcolm Wayne of Moorthorpe, Trevor Dillon, Lane End, Skellow, and 17-year-old Herbert Wilkinson, of Lander Street, Bentley, who was working at the bottom of the first tower to fall. As he went through a door it swung and knocked him out of the tower just seconds before the building fell, he said.

Described as the largest of its kind in Western Europe when work began on it four years ago, the still incomplete 88,000,000 station has twin 680ft concrete chimneys.

Yesterday it was stated that a fact finding operation onsite would investigate the condition of the existing towers and would also try to discover why the other two towers fell. A thorough steeplejack survey of the remaining towers seemed possible and would take about a fortnight. At headquarters a parallel investigation was being made into cooling tower design, and would make use of any findings of the investigating party operating on the site. Earlier it had been said that means of utilising one of the remaining towers so as not to delay bringing into operation the first generating set, might be considered. The station was due to be fully operative by 1967.


Years in Focus is researched by Maurice Haigh and reproduced 
with the permission of the Pontefract & Castleford Express.

[Focus Years Index]

Site constructed and maintained by Michael Norfolk
This website is Copyright 2000-2011 [Knottingley and Ferrybridge Online] All Rights Reserved