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Years in Focus 1966




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

24th FEBRUARY 1966

The death on Friday of Knottingley Industrialist Mr. John Jackson ended a career of novel-breadth and colour. For what Simon Crowther was to Bankdam, John Jackson was to Jackson Bros. (Knottingley) Ltd. But Mr. Jackson went further, for in addition to guiding with a sure hand an ever-expanding business, he became the towns’ civic leader. For 65 years, fighting every three-yearly election, he served with distinction on Knottingley Urban Council - eleven times as its chairman. He was appointed a magistrate in 1932 and became chairman of the West Riding Bench at Pontefract; and in many other spheres, including education, hospitals, employment and church, he gave unstinting service. He had a favourite saying; "There’s always a sure cure for worry. It’s called hard work."

John Jackson and his brother Tom were at work when they were 13, apprenticed to the glass-manufacturing firm of Bagley & Co Ltd., to be taken over by Jackson’s 60 years later, after which the ‘old man’ retired - on paper. In fact, he still went to his office every day, in his new role of President of the company, and that despite total blindness. His sight began to fail as long ago as 1936 and for many years before he left the Council. In the early 1900s the Knottingley works was the first in the country to install a Press and Blow machine. The invention of an American, it was ahead of its time and failed after a year.

Next the brothers tried out one of the new gas, cross-fired regenerative tanks estimating an initial investment of 500 but ultimately holding a bill for 2,000. Faced with bankruptcy, but convinced they were right, the brothers pressed ahead - and they were right. In 1912 the firm became a private limited company; installed more American machinery in 1921; and then after the war, completed plans for an entirely automatic plant estimated at a cost of 200,000, but which, when finally installed in 1954, had cost half a million.

In 1959, the firm amalgamated with J.W. Sutcliffe and Son, one of the most experienced glass merchandising companies in London, and in 1962 came the take over of Bagley & Co Ltd., and the Crystal Glass Co, John Jackson had indeed come a long way.

A funeral service was held privately at Ropewalk Methodist Church, Knottingley, on Tuesday, before burial at Knottingley Cemetery.

3RD MARCH 1966

On Sunday night electricity from the new Ferrybridge Power Station was fed into the National Grid for the first time. This is the first single-line generator of its size to be put into operation in the world.

After the disaster in November 1965 when three towers were destroyed by gales it was feared that commercial operations would be set back for a long time. It proved possible, however, to connect one of the towers still standing with the first state production unit, as a result, the Power Station has begun operating soon after the scheduled time.

7th APRIL 1966

The Knottingley Central Club gave a farewell party for two men heading for Australia. On Thursday a local man, his family and his batchelor friend, left Pontefract on the first part of their journey to Australia. For 36-year-old Geoffrey Jarvis, a driver salesman, his wife and four children, who lived at East Parade, Knottingley, before the house was sold recently, emigration was just a whim. He and his wife talked about it and eventually decided to promote their ‘spirit of adventure’. A family friend for over 15 years, George Challenger, also aged 36, decided to go with them because he felt he had nothing to stay here for. "I have no parents and no-one to leave behind and we have been friends for so long." he told an Express reporter. The party of seven went by train to Southampton, and set sail on Friday.

About a year ago the two men arranged the emigration under the assisted passenger scheme. Neither of the two men has any employment fixed. "We are going with an open mind willing to do anything that comes along." said Mr. Jarvis. He was expecting it to be a good thing for the children. The eldest boy, Steven, aged 15, wants to be a professional footballer, and expects there to be more opportunity in Australia. Before he left he played for Rotherham Intermediates. Mr. Jarvis had no idea what his 13-year-old daughter, Denise, who has been attending Pontefract Girl’s and District High School, will do. Mr. Challenger commented "I am just looking forward to it."

Last Wednesday members of Knottingley Central Club gave a farewell party for the two men and presented wrist watches to them.

14TH APRIL 1966

The work of rebuilding the three cooling towers, which came down in gales last November at Ferrybridge ‘C’ Power Station, has begun. The 375ft high towers, perhaps the largest of their kind in the world at the time they were built, weighed 8,000 tons and cost 290,000 each. They were to help supply electricity to a wide area of the West Riding and the stations compliment of towers - all of the same dimensions - is eight.

Workmen have started to put additional piling in the foundations of one of the destroyed towers. The Resident Site Engineer, Mr. G.D. Leydon, told ‘The Express’ ; "Work is proceeding on the thickening of the five remaining towers, but the weather is not helping this work."

21ST APRIL 1966

A native of Knottingley, Mr. Sam Doubtfire, was ordained as deacon by the Bishop of Pontefract, the Rev. E. Treacy, at St. Botolph’s Church, Knottingley, on Sunday. It was the first time an ordination had taken place at St. Botolph’s and there was a full church of 230 communicants present.

For the past three years Mr. Doubtfire has been studying at Edinburgh Theological College, where he returned to complete his course after his ordination. He will start his duties as curate of Knottingley in June. After his national service which was spent with the R.A.F. in Egypt, he joined the National Coal Board at the Area Headquarters at Allerton Bywater, as a clerical officer, and was there nine years. Mr. Doubtfire was Scoutmaster at St. Botolph’s before going to Edinburgh, and was also a member of the Church’s Dramatic Society.

His parents Mr. and Mrs S.U. Doubtfire, who live at the Bungalow, Trinity Farm, Knottingley, were formerly in business as greengrocers in Aire Street. When he returns in June, Mr. Doubtfire, who is married, will live at Lamb Inn Road, Knottingley.

2ND JUNE 1966

Mr. Alfred Schofield and his wife Martha, (Pat) of ‘Bridgefield’, Knottingley, are to celebrate their Golden Wedding. They were both born in Knottingley and have spent all their lives here. For more than fifty years they have been members of Ropewalk Methodist Church where Mr. Schofield has held many church offices, but they were married at the Congregational Church, where Mrs Schofield was a member of the choir.

During the First World War, Mr. Schofield served in the Royal Artillery from 1916 to 1918, and took part in the Battle of the Somme. After the war he joined the local glass manufacturing firm of Gregg & Co Ltd., and has been a Director for more than 30 years, a position he still holds, but he is now semi-retired.

They have one son, Kenneth who is a Doctor of Science lecturing in the University of Exeter, and two teenage grand-children. Proud of their humble beginnings, Mr. and Mrs Schofield have a quiet zest for living and a youthful interest in current affairs.

11th AUGUST 1966

Mr. John Jackson, of Chapel Street, Knottingley, President and Co-Founder of Jackson Bros. Ltd., for over 50 years a member of Knottingley Council and 11 times Chairman, who died on February 18th aged 90, left 34,953.


"Have you a set of draughts, Mr. Vickers?" "Could I have a pack of cards, Mr. Vickers?"

"By the way Mr. Vickers, can I put my name forward for the committee"

Amid an endless string of questions and requests, I managed to get a question in myself, writes Chris Hawkesworth.

"Is it easy," I asked Mr. Peter Vickers, full time leader of the new, exciting, Kellingley (Knottingley) Youth Club, "to get to know members as individuals?"

"No it isn’t," he replied. "For two reasons; the membership is large and the staff is small. I would hope eventually to know every member individually. I would like to visit their homes and get to know their parents in an attempt to know the member in depth."

I was sitting in Mr. Vickers office in the new youth club which forms a part of the Kellingley (Knottingley) Social Centre. The building of the club was financed by the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation and was designed by Poulson’s, the Pontefract firm of Architects.

A blonde head suddenly appeared through the window to my right "Put the Troggs on" she said. Her tone was pleading rather than demanding, and 14 year old disc-jockey William Miller, of Warwick Estate, nodded his head and selected ‘A girl like you’ from a stack of the ‘latest’ piled next to the record player. The office allowed some degree of soundproofing, though the noise in the dance area itself was not unbearable. Mr. Vickers was now my target, I was aiming for the bull’s eyes, and his replies registered the score.

"My objectives?" he asked himself, "To integrate the members and to teach them how to live. To give them facilities for enjoyment both physical and mental. To give them the opportunity of meeting people of their own age outside this community, to broaden their interests."

I saw his words being translated into action as we talked. A mixed group was gathered round the club notice board, which seemed to contain as many varieties of activities as Heinz has tinned foods.

Badminton, table tennis, motor-cycle maintenance, football, drama, hair-styling and beauty culture, cookery – "You name it and show sufficient interest and we'll have a bash" was the tacit suggestion to the members.

Dances once a month with a ‘live’ group make the change from ‘record requests’ a stimulating experience; you don't have to visualise so much when the instrumentalists and singers are there in the flesh. "Misconceptions about modern youth?" My arrow headed for double top.

"People label them as modern youth and think that adolescence equals trouble" said Mr. Vickers. "Many people are not willing to give them a chance to prove THEMSELVES. These young people are anxious to do things - not just physical, either; it is the age of curiosity."

I glanced through the window into the games room. In front of me was an example of keeness and energy. Jim Thompson aged 15, and David Fletcher, aged 16, both of Knottingley, both employed at Kellingley Colliery, were giving the celluloid table tennis ball a bashing.

"They are also members of the Club’s football team which plays in the Castleford Sunday League," said Mr. Vickers. "Modern youth is striving for the re-organising of itself. After leaving school they encounter a new environment, a new way of living, and they have to learn all over again. The relationship with their parents is different. Evil is confused with ignorance, it is a traditional time for making mistakes."

"We are going to vote for a Member’s Committee next week." He handed Susan Lancaster, aged 16, of Womersley Road, Knottingley, a card. She slipped away to get a proposer and a seconder so that she could be a canditate.

The club has excellent premises, A games room. girls powder room, showers and toilets, boys work room and leaders office- that’s the ground floor. Walk up a spiral staircase and you discover the long room and refreshment bar, the activities room, the lounge, the library and the committee. Four smart young women behind the well-stocked refreshment bar attracted my attention. I was a stranger to all four, but not for long. Young people are rarely anti-social; it is foreign to their make-up. "I like serving behind the counter, you get to know more people," said June Mather, a pretty 16-year old, of Acacia Walk, Knottingley,

"What is an average night’s sales?" I asked 15 year old Anne Iveson, of Vale Crescent, Ferrybridge Road. "About three dozen packets of crisps, two dozen bottles of pop and loads- we can’t keep count - of Pepsi and Lemonade."

She pointed to the first soft drinks on draught I had seen. A large membership of 385 augers well for Knottingley and district. They don’t all go to the club every night, of course, but most of the five nights a week it is open the club has a three-figure attendance dance. Mr. Vickers wife helps him in the club, and Bill Haggan, a Durham ‘import’ to Kellingley Colliery, lends valuable assistance. Miss Mary Brittain and Mr. John Wilbourne are assistant leaders.

"The club doesn't exist just to keep the young people off the streets," said Mr. Vickers. I took his point. ?


The chairman of KUDC, Cr. W. Sarvent, said at the monthly meeting of the Council that he was proud to announce that the people of Knottingley and Ferrybridge had raised 565 in one week for the Aberfan Disaster Fund. Cr. Sarvent accepted 25 for the fund raised by Patricia Rhodes, of Broomhill Stores, and Linda Swales of Broomhill Grove, by means of a jumble sale. The girls have now raised 60 during the past two years for various charities.

A coffee evening and bring-and-buy sale arranged by the Mayor and Mayoress of Pontefract, (Cr and Mrs D.Robinson) in the Old Town Hall on Thursday raised 68 for the fund.

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

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