Also by Terry Spencer
The following studies by Terry Spencer are now available on the Knottingley
By the last quarter of the nineteenth century the August Bank Holiday period at
Knottingley abounded in fun and frolic with the Feast as the hub of the
festivities. The fair was supplemented by community sports and of the sporting
element within the town none was more prominent than Knottingley Town Cricket
Situated on the southern bank of the River Aire, to the north side of Aire
Street, lies Knottingley Flatts. Today, the Flatts occupy only a small portion
of the original layout which comprised the greater part of Knottingley Ings.
The modern image of the fair is one of outdoor entertainment for pleasure
seeking people but such a concept is one which has developed over the last two
centuries being born as a result of the Industrial Revolution.
Prior to the establishment of the National Health Service in 1948 local people
relied for health care in the event of sickness or serious injury upon
charitable institutions such as Pontefract Dispensary and Leeds Infirmary.
The application by Knottingley Urban District Council for a grant of arms was
made to the College of Arms, London, in mid 1942.
That there was a glassworks at Ferrybridge is indisputable for it was both
documented and photographed. That it was situated on the north bank of the River
Aire "..where the Parish of Brotherton merges into the Parish of Ferrybridge" is
confirmed by map reference. The doubt lies not in the existence or location of
the furnace but with its origin.
NINETEENTH CENTURY KNOTTINGLEY:
The township of Knottingley, situated three miles north-east of Pontefract in
the Wapentake of Osgoldcross, developed from a 6th century Saxon settlement in a
forest clearing on the south bank of the river Aire. By the time of the Norman
Conquest of 1066 the settlement had acquired the status of a manorial vill
KNOTTINGLEY PLAYING FIELDS:
As the process of industrialisation and urban development gained pace in the
second half of the nineteenth century the provision of public spaces such as
municipal gardens and parks for the purpose of public recreation and amenity
became increasingly desirable.
CAPTAIN PERCY BENTLEY:
Percy Bentley, scion of a prominent Knottingley family, was born in that town on
the 18th January 1891, the son of James William and Helena Bentley, and was
baptised in the parish church of St. Botolph on the 11th February.
KNOTTINGLEY WAR MEMORIAL:
On Wednesday, 25th September 1918, a committee previously sanctioned by
Knottingley Urban District Council in meeting assembled, met in the Council
Chamber at Knottingley Town Hall to consider the form of memorial to the men who
had fallen during the Great War.
FERRYBRIDGE WAR MEMORIAL:
No less than the citizens of its larger neighbour, the inhabitants of the
village of Ferrybridge decided to honour those drawn from the community and
slain in the Great War.
THE 'K' SISTERS:
For approximately a decade from the mid 1940's the 'K' Sisters, Marjorie and
Pamela Kellett, were prominent throughout the town and district of Knottingley
as all-round entertainers who harnessed their talent to providing public
enjoyment and in so doing raised large amounts of money for local charities.
THE PALACE CINEMA:
The new cinema, one of the earliest purpose-built picture houses in the country,
was situated on an oblique strip of land some 560 square yards in extent,
adjacent to Ship Lane at the junction with lower Aire Street. The hall was
designed to seat 600 people: 500 in the area and 100 in the balcony.
KNOTTINGLEY PUBLIC HOUSES & BREWERIES:
In 1752, eighteen residents of the township of Knottingley in company with John
Mitchell, the Parish Constable, agreed to be bound over in the sum of £10 each
to observe the legal and moral obligations attendant upon being granted a
licence as an innkeeper.
KNOTTINGLEY TOWN HALL CLOCK:
In the Spring of 1994, the recently deceased and much lamented Edwin Beckett
arranged for the installation of a clock at the top of the Town Hall turret. The
event was celebrated in verse by Mrs Joyce Bell who concluded her eulogy by
stating that her mother, Dolly Lightowler, had always wished to see a clock set
in the "bare face" of the Town Hall - a wish which had now come true.
STATUE OF THE BLACK PRINCE:
Awareness of a link between my native Knottingley and the Prince's statue came
quite recently when Mrs Shirley Bedford of Knottingley informed me that her
great grandfather was the master of a barge which had transported the statue
from Hull to Leeds in 1903.
It was in the course of a recent conversation with Roger Ellis that the subject
of nicknames arose, following which, in an idle half-hour, I casually began to
compile a list of those I recalled. My list quickly exceeded fifty in number and
I was seized by a natural desire to list as many more as I could obtain.
KNOTTINGLEY SILVER BAND:
The origin of Knottingley Band is obscure. In 1980 the Band celebrated its
conjectured centenary year, the date being taken from an old letterhead of 1880.
However, a subsequent documentary source has been located which indicates that
the genesis of the Band may lie much further in the past.
KNOTTINGLEY TOWN HALL:
The burgeoning spirit of civic pride found practical expression on 29th October
1864, when a group of prominent citizens of the town formed the Knottingley Town
Hall & Mechanics’ Institute Company Limited.
FIELD SYSTEMS AND PLACE NAMES OF OLD KNOTTINGLEY:
The purpose of this study is to consider the topography of modern day
Knottingley and formulate a theoretical model concerning the development of the
settlement during the medieval and post medieval eras as reflected in the field
GAZETTEER OF KNOTTINGLEY PLACE NAMES:
An A-Z listing of Knottingley field and place names.
LIME GROVE AND THE CARTER FAMILY
One of the most impressive and graceful houses ever built at Knottingley was
Lime Grove. The large attached house was the residence of the Carter family and
was built to the orders of Mark Carter at Mill Close, Hill Top, about 1808.
WAR SAVINGS WEEKS:
Conflict is fuelled by finance so it is unsurprising that following the outbreak
of war in 1939, local savings committees were established to encourage people to
curb personal expenditure and invest surplus cash in the National War Savings
Scheme in order to assist the cost of the war.
SELECT VESTRY RIOTS 1874:
The township of Knottingley became a semi-autonomous parish in 1789 following
the ecclesiastical reorganisation of that period but remaining under the
patronage of the Vicar of Pontefract until it became an independent parish in
Knottingley and Ferrybridge Local History
KNOTTINGLEY TOWN HALL
by TERRY SPENCER B.A. (Hons), Ph D.
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- An outline history of the Town Hall by the writer appeared in the
Pontefract & Castleford Express 17-11-1977 and was reproduced in Taylor
K. (ed) ‘Wakefield & District Heritage’, Volume II, (1979), pp24-25
- Pontefract Advertiser 9-11-1864, and repeated in the two following
- Blanchard D. (ed) ‘Knottingley: Its Origins & Industries’, Volume I,
(1976), pp24-35 for details of Woolf and the Knottingley-Ferrybridge
- Spencer T. ‘Knottingley Select Vestry ‘Riots’, 1874’, in ‘Aspects of
Local History’ (forthcoming)
- Pontefract Advertiser 12-11-1864
- Knottingley Select Vestry Minute Books 1840-81, passim
- Pontefract Advertiser 11-3-1865
- The Mechanics’ Institute is shown occupying the site (No 333 on the
Town Plan) in the township Rate Book 1859. The Rate Book 1857, has no
mention of the Institute, merely referring to plot 333 as the site of
the Swan Inn. Also, c.f. Pontefract Advertiser 31-12-1864
- Pontefract & Castleford Express 16-4-1904, p5
- West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield. YF/365/393
- Pontefract Advertiser 1-4-1865
- Forrest C. ‘History of Knottingley’, (1871), p78
- Pontefract Advertiser 8-9-1865
- loc cit 15-9-1865
- Forrest, op cit p78
- The apex of the tower was removed circ 1950 when decreed
- Pontefract Advertiser 15-9-1865
- Knottingley Select Vestry Minute Book ‘D’, p 94
- Pontefract Advertiser, issues 25-2-1865, 16-11-1867, 18-1-1868,
24-12-1869 and passim for examples of the use of the Town Hall for
social purposes in the early years.
- West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield. ZP/501/596
- loc cit, 369/27/18
- loc cit, 844/26/22 also Blanchard, op cit, p38
- West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield. 14/269/135
- loc cit 51/101/52. I am indebted to Mr. C. Wilton, LL.B. of Hartley
& Worstenholme, Solicitors, Pontefract, for his kind assistance
concerning the Town hall Company mortgages.
- I am grateful to Mr. R. Gosney for making a copy of the 1869 Balance
Sheet and Town Hall specifications available to me and to Mr. G. barker
who recently discovered these documents and made them available, via Mr
Gosney, for public scrutiny.
- Knottingley Select Vestry Minute Book ‘D’, p 123
- loc cit p126
- The approval of the Local Poor Law Board was required as such
facilities were paid for from the Poor Law Rate. 24th/25th Vict, cap 125
- Knottingley Select Vestry Minute Book ‘D’, p129
- Pontefract Advertiser 20-11-1869
- It was also implied that the trays of food for consumption at the
opening soiree had been subject to sale although donated. As Worfolk was
closely involved in this matter he was the obvious target for the
implication of corruption.
- Pontefract Advertiser 4-12-1869
- ibid for reference to libel writ issued to John Howard.
- Knottingley Select Vestry Minute Book ‘D’, p146
- loc cit p200
- ibid & p204 and passim
- loc cit p259
- loc cit p256
- J.G. Lyon lived at Carleton Close, Pontefract, but was a Knottingley
manufacturer. Lyon made generous donations to various social and
educational organisations c.f. Pontefract & Castleford Express
- West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield 51/10/52
- Pontefract & Castleford Express 3-8-1901, p5
- loc cit 30-3-1901, p8 & Pontefract Advertiser of same date, p5
- Pontefract & Castleford Express 3-8-1901, p5
- Pontefract Advertiser 18-1-1902. Lyon was absolutely correct in his
observations regarding local politics. At one local election a naïve
citizen was duped by his contemporaries to stand for the Council,
declaring his intention if elected, to supply gas and water via the same
piping system. The public were not hoodwinked, however, and at the poll
the candidate received a single vote, presumably his own. I am indebted
to the late Mr W. Hobman for this information given during an interview
about 25 years ago.
- loc cit, 4-5-1901, p4 and passim. A writ of Fi[eri] Fa[cias] was
issued to enable a sheriff to execute a legal judgement, in this case
seizure of K.U.D.C.’s goods and properties. I am grateful to Mr C.
Wilton LL.B. for explaining this point to me.
- Pontefract Advertiser 29-3-1902
- loc cit 13-6-1903. The write recalls that throughout his boyhood and
youth there was a long standing expevtation within the town that the
Council would provide public baths, an expectation which was not
fulfilled until the building of Knottingley Sports Centre in the 1960’s.
- loc cit 27-6-1903
- loc cit 30-7-1904. The refurbishment of the Council Chamber included
the Chairman’s seat on a raised dais at the east end, together with a
long table running the length of the room for the members of the Council
and facilities for news reporters. The now defunct chamber maintains the
same layout today.
- I am indebted to Mr. E. Beckett, Treasurer, Knottingley Town Hall
Management Committee for providing access to the Town Hall and for
permission to photograph the interior of the building and the
- I am grateful to Mr. E. Beckett for drawing my attention to the
‘Report of the Reopening of the Knottingley Town Hall, 1904’, upon which
I have drawn for this section of the essay and also to Mr. R. Gosney for
making a copy available for my use.
- Pontefract Advertiser 11-6-1904
- K.U.D.C. minute Book, 1927-29 (n.p.) 29-6-1927 & 30-7-1927
- loc cit Special Council Meeting 16-8-1927
- loc cit 28-9-1927
- loc cit 26-10-1927
- loc cit 13-12-1927 & 30-5-1928
- loc cit 29-2-1928 & 30-5-1928. Forrest, op cit p78, for reference to
public baths in Town Hall basement.
- K.U.D.C. Minute Book 1924-27 (n.p.) 24-2-1925 & 31-3-1925 &
3-12-1925 & 19-1-1926
- K.U.D.C. Minute Book 1927-29 (n.p.) 30-11-27
- loc cit 25-11-1926
- K.U.D.C. Minute Book 1924-27 (n.p.) 5-8-26 & 25-8-26
- For details concerning Knottingley Select Vestry and issues of local
health c.f. Spencer T. ‘The Governance of Nineteenth Century
- K.U.D.C. Minute Book 1931-33 (n.p.) 26-7-1932. It was a proud boast
within Knottingley that the inhabitants raised more money for the
hospital, per capita, than any other neighbouring towns including
- K.U.D.C. Minute Books, passim
- K.U.D.C. Minute Book 1931-33 (n.p.) 27-9-1932
- K.U.D.C. Minute Book 1927-29 (n.p.) 30-5-1928 & 26-9-1928 and passim
- For details of film shows in the Town Hall c.f. Spencer T. ‘The
Palace Cinema Knottingley’, (1999) pp3-5
- For references to the concerts of the ‘K’ Sisters and other items
concerning the Tpwn Hall c.f. Spencer T. ‘Aspects of Local History’
- ibid re Vestry ‘Riots’ 1874
- Pontefract & Castleford Express, Second Section, 10-12-1981, p14.
The article by R.D. Woodall, outlined the action of Josephine Butler and
her followers disrupting the political meetings of the Rgt Hon. Hugh
Childers, the local Liberal M.P. at a by election following his
appointment as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Childers was a supporter of
the Contagious Diseases Act of 1864, 66 & 68 which in an effort to curb
venereal disease in garrison towns (such as Pontefract) decreed
compulsory medical examination and hospitalisation of women suspected of
prostitution. Butler and her adherents rightly claimed that the Acts
belittled women, making the Police judges of public morality and were
therefore open to abuse and brutality, whilst exempting men who were
equally as capable of spreading the contagion.
- loc cit 19-1-1951, p16
- K.U.D.C. Minute Book, 1931-33 (n.p.) 22-3-1932
- K.U.D.C. Minute Book, 1929-31 (n.p.) 7-10-1931
- For details of War Savings Weeks and also ‘Knottingley’s Warship –
H.M.S. Kennet’ c.f. Spencer T. ‘Aspects of Local History’ (forthcoming)
- K.U.D.C. Minute Book 1927-29 (n.p.) 30-11-1927
- The Broomhill estate, established in the late 1920’s and the England
Lane estate, begun a few years later, were greatly extended by the post
war housing development of the 1950s and this was followed by the
construction of the Simpsons Lane/Warwick estate from the late 1950s and
during the following decade.
- W.Y.A.S. Wakefield. W.M.D.C. Minutes 1974-5, p637
- ibid p305
- ibid pp751-52
- The Rev. J.S. Pearson, Vicar of Knottingley at that time, was a
worthy successor to an earlier incumbent,Rev. F.E. Egerton, who was at
the forefront of public life within the township during the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Pearson was the driving force
in the establishment of the local Civic Society and the two books of
essays on local; history produced under the aegis of that body and
served in a prominent way on a number of committees of local groups and
- Pontefract & Castleford Express 22-1-1971, p3
- loc cit 29-1-1976, p21
- loc cit 12-2-1976, p3
- loc cit 5-2-1976, p14
- loc cit 5-2-1976, p30. The late John Hargrave was Deputy Editor of
the Pontefract & Castleford Express and had a deep love of Knottingley,
his family being seafarers within the town. In addition, Hargrave was
one who in matters of heritage conservation was well in advance of
present day public attitudes to such issues. For tributes to Hargraves
c.f. loc cit 7-10-1982
- loc cit 5-2-1976, p30
- loc cit 4-3-1976, p16
- loc cit 19-2-1976, p13
- loc cit 18-3-1976, p21
- loc cit 1-4-1976, p1
- The first Trustees were Messrs R. Knapton, T. Spencer and D. Hayton.
The Secretary was Mrs G. Ward and Treasurer Mrs J. Reeves.
Unfortunately, the papers for the period pre-1985 have been destroyed
but in that year the Trustees were Louis Bedford, Arthur Gill and
Geoffrey Goalby. Around 1977, new Trustees were appointed and are named
as Rev. Hugh Morcliffe Lawrance, David Lethbridge Mylor and Jane
Patricia Jessie Crossling. The current Trustees are Edwin Beckett,
William Sarvent and Heather Hoaksey. Mr. Arthur Gill is a honorary
Trustee. I am grateful to Mr. R. Knapton, Mr. E. Beckett and Mr. G.
Wilson, W.M.D.C. Legal Services Dept., for information regarding the
Town Hall Trustees.
- Pontefract & Castleford Express 11-11-1976, p6
- loc cit 18-11-1982, p3
- loc cit 25-4-1985, p13
- loc cit 2-5-1985, p25
- loc cit 18-4-1985, p1 & p12
- loc cit 2-5-1985, p10
- loc cit 8-5-1986, p 2
- loc cit 25-4-1985, p13 & ibid 7-4-1994, p12. Letters from Mrs Joyce
- loc cit 29-4-1976, p4
- Pontefract Advertiser 16-4-1904, p5
- Pontefract & Castleford Express 31-1-1980, p10
- loc cit 17-10-1991, pp1 & 3
- loc cit 27-2-1992, p11 & ibid 7-4-1994, p12
- loc cit 24-10-1991, p3
- loc cit 27-2-1992, p11 & ibid 12-3-1992 p7 in which the following
people were listed as members of the Committee. Chair Mrs Valerie Smith,
Secretary Mrs Molly Wood, Treasurer Mr. Arthur Gill, Members Mesdames
Joan Gill, Sandra Westwoood, Margaret Hamilton, Maureen Limbert, Messrs
George Ward, John Hargrave, Paul Lunt, Steven Lunt, William Sarvent,
Jack Stanworth, Edwin Beckett. Two additional ‘Helpers’ were named as
Mrs Joyce Reeves and Ann Holland. A photograph of ten unnamed volunteers
appeared in the Express 25-4-1996, p5
- loc cit 7-5-1992, p13
- loc cit 5-11-1992, p20 and ibid 3-12-1993, p3
- loc cit 26-11-1992, p12..8
- loc cit 4-4-1996, p3
- loc cit 25-4-1996, p5
- loc cit 18-4-1996, p6, also 25-4-1996, p16, for letter from Mrs J.
Norton condemning the attitude of the Council and appealing for help
from local businesses. For details concerning the ‘Greenhouse’ c.f.
Spencer T. ‘Knottingley Playing Fields’
- Pontefract & Castleford Express 20-6-1996, p32
- loc cit 27-6-1996, p10 & ibid 26-9-1996, p3
- loc cit 25-7-1996, p11 & ibid 9-1-1997, p13
- The local M.P., Ms. Yvette Cooper, stressing the benefits of the
grant noted, en passant, that lottery funding in her constituency was
only a little over half the national average. loc cit, 21-1-1999, p3
- loc cit 3-6-1999, p8
- loc cit 2-6-1994, p1
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