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Years in Focus 1967




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

9th March 1967

To mark his retirement after 28 years with Knottingley Fire Brigade, retained Sub-Officer T. Garner, of The Grove, Knottingley, on Thursday received gifts from his colleagues, Pontefract Divisional Staff and the West Riding County Fire Service. The presentations were made by the Chief County Fire Officer, Mr. K.L. Holland, and the Assistant County Fire Officer, Mr. A.S. Martin, at the Knottingley Fire Brigade’s dinner dance at Kellingley Social Centre. Knottingley colleagues gave him a clock, the Divisional Staff a silver tankard and the West Riding Service a plaque.

Mr. Garner, who is 55, joined the Brigade in 1938, and apart from a short service in the Army he has served with it ever since. For the past year he has been a sub-officer. He is employed in Knottingley for Yorkshire Tar Distillers, and may continue as an auxiliary fireman.

16th March 1967 

Sergeant Chas Blyth, one of the two paratroopers who crossed the Atlantic in a 20ft rowing boat in 92 days, visited England Lane Secondary Modern School, Knottingley, yesterday and gave a talk to pupils about his astonishing adventure.  The visit is part of a goodwill programme of visits to 18 schools throughout Yorkshire. The other paratroop, Captain J. Ridsway, is also taking part.

20th April 1967 

The new 5,500 extension to Foundry Lane Working Men’s Club, Knottingley, the only remaining all-male club in the town, was opened by the chairman of K.U.D.C., Councillor W. Sarvent, on Thursday. At the opening were representatives of John Smith’s Brewery, and the architect Mr. E.B. Croft, with his assistant, Mr. B.J. Lee. Councillor Sarvent presented Mr. Tom Cowling, aged 86, who is the oldest member of the club, with 1.

The extensions include a new television room, formerly part of the stewards cottage. The interior walls of the cottage have been removed making one extra long room, at the end of which there is a new cloakroom. In the tap room, a new stone effect bar with roller type shutters, has been erected. The new bar in the best room is made of leather. What was formerly the snug has been turned into a storeroom. Central heating has been installed throughout the building and all the floors have been retiled. Every room has been re-decorated, and new curtains have been hung at the windows. New toilets have been built on at the back of the building and the car park re-surfaced. The steward is Mr. E.B. Richards who now lives in another cottage across the road from the club. The club secretary Mr. N. Bryan says he knows the club is the only all-male club in Knottingley, and thinks it may be the only one within 20 miles of the town.

29th June 1967

A Pontefract reader writes to ‘The Express’ saying he notes with regret that K.U.D.C. is seeking to have the old windmill at Wentcliffe Hill, Ferrybridge, demolished.

"I agree," he acknowledges, "that the old millhouse is an eyesore and a danger to children, and that it should be removed, but the old mill is a prominent landmark for many miles around. It also provides a fascinating contrast when seen against the huge cooling towers of the Power Station - both in their time used as sources of power - and that is the last remaining windmill in K.U District."

He agrees that restoration would be too expensive, but suggests that by bricking in the window openings and doorways, with a brick that contrasts with the fine white limestone, the tower could be made "child-proof" at very little cost. This method, he points out, has been used at Broomhill, (Batley) and Conisborough, where windmills have been retained as interesting features in the landscape; "and neither of these two is as fine a landmark as that at Wentcliffe Hill." The writer ends: "So please Knottingley councillors, reconsider this decision and for the small price of a few bricks ensure that children won’t injure themselves and at the same time retain a fine landmark."

As was reported in ‘The Express’ on June 15th, the Clerk to the Council, Mr. H.B. Probert, told the members that the property did not belong to the Council.The Express learns, however, that it is owned by Norman C. Ashton, Ltd., the building firm, who have a housing scheme at Wentcliffe Hill. A spokesman says it is intended to demolish the mill in about a year from now to enable them to carry out their plans.

6th April 1967

An old bottle found by corporation workmen clearing out Pontefract Park Lake set the ‘Express’ on a trail of detection. The bottle bears the name Brown and Knight, Ferrybridge, but no one seemed to have heard of such a firm. From a photograph, Mr. J. York, a director of Jackson Bros Ltd, was able to say the bottle had been hand-blown.

At Hey Bros Ltd., the Pontefract mineral water manufacturers, Mr. H. Birdsall, manager, said it had contained dandelion and burdock, stopped with a cork or glass stopper sealed with tallow. It was one of the original directors of Hey’s, Mr. Law Armitage Hey, a sprightly 84 year old, who unhesitatingly identified the bottle.

Brown and Knight, he recalled, did have works at Ferrybridge, in The Square, near the present Golden Lion Hotel. They closed more than 30 years ago. The bottle of green glass would definitely have had a cork in it.

Is this the only remaining relic of the former Ferrybridge works, I wonder? And how many years had it lain on the bed of the lake?

20th April 1967

That green bottle found at the bottom of Pontefract Park Lake, featured in these columns a fortnight ago, has certainly drawn the cork on reader’s memories. The bottle, it may be recalled, bore the name "Brown and Knight." From Friarwood Lane, Pontefract, M. Crossland tells me: "Mr. Brown was my great uncle."

The family, the letter continues, lived in the Square at Ferrybridge and the works were down the yard behind the house, which is now a butcher’s shop. After Mr. Brown died, Mrs Brown retired during the First World War and went to live in Bridlington, so, as M. Crossland observes, the bottle must be nearly 50 years old.

Miss Joan Fletcher, of Chelsea House, Aire Street, Knottingley, tells me she has a bottle of the same type but made when the firm went under the name of W’m Brown. Hers was found under the floorboards at her home - deposited by some bygone thirsty workman, perhaps? The item started a whole chain of recollections for Mr. and Mrs Willie Thompson, now living at Abbey Road, Blackpool, and still getting their ‘Express’ every week.

Mr. Thompson writes that his wife was born at the Lock House just behind Brown and Knight’s works - he himself started work at Poulson Bros. Ltd., "one of the three potteries," in 1912. He recalls that one of Mr. Brown’s two sons married Miss Daisy Sefton of Sefton and Brown, now T. Brown and Sons. Ferrybridge Foundry in those days belonged "to a Mr. Ashley and from that firm workers left and started Shaw Bros., Tranmer and Jagger, Lightowler and Sons, and I think. probably Hunters. Mr. Thompson ends "your mention of Brown and Knight has given us an interesting half-hour of remembrances."

20th April 1967

Efforts to identify another glass object are being made by the Kings Own Light Infantry. This is far more valuable than the Park Lake bottle. It is a beautifully made glass goblet, said to be "a very fine piece," with a silver Victorian threepenny bit set inside its fluted stem. Major Aubrey Sharp came upon it in his home during a check after a burglary. He has no idea how it came into his family’s possession, but undoubtedly it has K.O.Y.L.I. connections. It bears the number 105 and the motto of the regiment, Nulti Secundas (second to none).

At the regimental museum at Pontefract Barracks, where the goblet now is, Captain Frank Young told me the number refers to the 105th Madras Light Infantry, which became the 2nd Battalion K.O.Y.L.I., in 1882. "We are anxious to trace the goblet’s history," he added. Any K.O.Y.L.I. veterans got any ideas?

20th July 1967

A member of the well-known Knottingley family of glass manufacturers, Mr. Kenneth Addingley Bagley, of Doncaster Road, Ferrybridge, died in Pontefract Infirmary on Monday after a long illness, aged 65. Son of the late Dr. S.B. Bagley, a former Chairman and Joint Governing Director of Bagley and Company Ltd., he was Joint Managing Director of the company until his retirement. He was a founder member and president of Bagley’s Recreation Club and Veteran Club.

Mr. Bagley served in the Observer Corps during the Second World War and was a Special Constable for many years. He was a member of Pontefract and Knottingley Conservative Clubs; the Goole Conservative and Liberal Divisional Association; and a vice-president of Knottingley Town Cricket Club. He was a member of St. Botolph’s - with Christ Church, Knottingley, where the funeral service and burial has been arranged for today. He leaves a wife and daughter.

3rd August 1967

The reason why a stray black and white mongrel puppy dog, living at the home of the Curate of Knottingley, Reverend S. Doubtfire, has been given the name "Tramp" is quite simple. He was playing in the garden with Mr. Doubtfire’s two children, Stephen aged 6, and Christopher, aged 7, and everyone thought he would go home, but the following morning he was found asleep in a chair in the garden shed. He wore a collar, but no identification tab, so Mr. Doubtfire took him to the police station. The police told him to keep the dog for a month, and that if it was not claimed, it would be his if he wished to have it. This happened a month ago, but the dog is still there. Since then people have recognised the dog, and told Mr. Doubtfire that they have had it in their gardens. "It seemed he has been wondering about for some time and that is why we call him "Tramp" says Mr. Doubtfire. Tramp gets on well with the children, and with "Toby" the Doubtfire’s Sealyham. "To tell the truth, we would have hated anyone to take him away now," Mr. Doubtfire says.

So it appears now that "Tramp" has a permanent home and will no longer be leading an itinerant's life.

17th August 1967

The chairman of the K.U.D.C. Housing Committee, Councillor Mary Nunns, handed the keys for Flat 30 to the first resident, 65 year old Mrs F. Pollard, when the Council’s nine storey block of flats were officially opened on Friday. Named "Low Cross Green" the flats are part of the Aire Street re-development scheme. The keys to the main doors of the building were handed by Mr. T.G. Greaney, of J.F. Finnigan and Co (Sheffield Ltd)., the general contractors, to the chairman of the Development Committee Councillor E. Tree. The block comprises 34 four-person flats, each flat independently heated by a gas-heated ducted warm air system.

Mrs Pollard lived at Marsh End before moving to the new flat, She told ‘The Express’: "It will be rather strange at first, but I shall have people all around me and I’m looking forward to living here very much." Mrs Nunns told Mrs Pollard "I hope you will be very happy in your new home."

The Housing Manager, Mr. M. Lobley, told ‘The Express’: "We have tenants for 12 of the flats so far, and these people will start moving in this week."

5th October 1967
Readers Write

While not wishing to enter into any controversy about Knottingley playing fields, may I, as one who has lived in the vicinity of the field since 1908, give the following facts, which may be of interest to some of your readers?

The fields were originally known as the ‘Green House Fields’ and belonged to Mr. William Jackson, who lived at The Hall in Marine Villa Road. He also owned ‘Green House’ now the Green Bottle Inn, as well as Jacksonville, now demolished. When he died in 1918 the Hall, another of his properties, was sold except for the Green House Fields and Green House. Mr. Jackson, who was a barrister and lived, I think, in London, later decided to sell his remaining property.

In the meantime a committee was formed by local residents, who decided to raise the money to obtain playing fields for the children; residents were asked for contributions – 10 shillings buying a plot of land. Eventually the Committee obtained the fields for a nominal sum on two conditions: that no building was ever to be erected on the land and that the path from Glebe Lane to Green House was never to be obstructed.

The playing field committee then handed the land over to the Council on condition that it provided amusements and its general upkeep. A fountain was placed in the centre of the path, but Mr. Jackson came over at the time he sold Green House and also saw the fountain.

He contacted the Council, and the fountain was immediately removed to the side of the path. I should imagine proof of my remarks will be found in the archives of the Town Hall with other legal documents. LH

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

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