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Also by Terry Spencer

The following studies by Terry Spencer are now available on the Knottingley website:

KNOTTINGLEY CARNIVAL
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 Club.

KNOTTLA FLATTS:
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.

KNOTTLA FEAST:
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.

HOSPITAL SUNDAYS:
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.

KNOTTINGLEY COAT-OF-ARMS:
The application by Knottingley Urban District Council for a grant of arms was made to the College of Arms, London, in mid 1942.

FERRYBRIDGE GLASSWORKS:
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.

KNOTTLA NICKNAMES:
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 systems adopted.

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 1846

 
Knottingley and Ferrybridge Local History

KNOTTINGLEY'S CONNECTION WITH THE STATUE OF THE BLACK PRINCE


by TERRY SPENCER B.A. (Hons), Ph D.

Copyright ©Terry Spencer, January 2007

As a child during the period of the Second World War, en route to visit my maternal grandparents who lived a few miles beyond Leeds, I was fascinated by the huge statue of the Black Prince (1330-1376) which dominated Leeds City Square.

I knew that the Black Prince was the eldest son of King Edward III and a man of valour who against all odds had beaten the French at the Battle of Crecy in 1346. To my childish mind the statue which symbolised chivalry and courage, epitomised the spirit of the British nation in those dark days.

Knowing nothing of any link between the prince and the City, I assumed that the statue was a mute yet eloquent testimony to a historic connection. Many years later I was disabused of the assumption when I learned that the Prince's connection with the city was non-existent and that the only link with Yorkshire in general was both tenuous and posthumous, his son, Richard II, being murdered in Pontefract Castle following his deposition in 1399.

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.

The statue was the brainchild of Colonel Thomas Walter Harding J.P., erstwhile Lord Mayor of Leeds, who in 1902 conceived the idea of a grandiose centrepiece for the recently constructed plaza in the city centre.

At his own expense, Harding commissioned Thomas Brock R.A., to create an equestrian statue of the Black Prince. Objections were raised, for while the Prince's military prowess was undisputed it was justifiably claimed that he was an incompetent and autocratic administrator who hardly represented the concept of democracy and civic virtue which underlay the aspiration of Leeds following conferment of city status a decade earlier. Such considerations were, however, brushed aside.

The sculptor decided to have the bronze statue cast at a foundry in Antwerp, Belgium, from where it was duly shipped on the deck of a steamer in a sturdy wooden crate measuring 18' x 5'11'', arriving at Hull docks on the 22nd August 1903.

Considerations of cost effectiveness, smooth transit and efficiency, resulted in the decision to transport the statue by barge along the Ouse to Goole and thence by the inland waterway system to Leeds.

Transhipment of the cargo from the steamer to the barge was not without drama. Fear that the statue might be broken while being hoisted by steam crane into the hold of the barge caused the dock management to decline to load the cargo unless indemnified against potential damage.  Harding's assurance being obtained, the crate was loaded into the hold of one of the fly boats belonging to the Aire & Calder navigation Company.

Fly boats were 'dumb' barges of substantial carrying capacity. First used about 1821 as horse-drawn passenger vessels, they were increasingly towed by steam tugs from 1830 and following the introduction of the railways, used principally as cargo boats.

Master of the unnamed barge used to transport the statue of the Black Prince was Joseph Boulton. Born at Knottingley in 1855 and raised in the family home at Canalside, near Racca Green, Boulton followed the family tradition and became a mariner. At the time of the 1881 Census, although Joseph's mother still lived at Knottingley, he and his wife, Mary Elizabeth, (nee Brown, of Fowey, Cornwall), were resident at Hull, his occupation being recorded as fly-boat mate. Sometime later, however, Boulton was promoted to be one of the Navigation Company's bargemasters and in this capacity he was given the grave responsibility of commanding the maritime aspects of the conveyance of the statue of the Black Prince.

The crate conveying the statue was lowered into the hold of Boulton's barge, described solely as the "prince's state barge", with the head of the charger facing the stern of the craft. Harding, evidently, regarded this fact as rather ominous and insisted that the cargo be reloaded with the horse's head facing the bow of the barge. The wily Company Agent prevailed upon Boulton to turn the barge round so that the horse faced upstream and the first leg of the journey was underway.

The journey from Hull to Goole was accomplished in a little over five hours. Moored overnight at Goole docks, the second phase of the voyage commenced early the following morning. Members of the public, aware of the significance of the journey, are reported to have gathered at appropriate places en route to cheer the mariners and their cargo. Boulton and his mate, whilst conscious of the honour bestowed, being experienced crewmen of phlegmatic disposition, were said to have regarded the valuable consignment as merely another cargo. The sang-froid of the seamen must have undergone a degree of discomposure, however, when their arrival at the destination point was greeted by a large crowd of cheering onlookers.

A low bogey, normally used to transport large boilers, was employed to transport the statue to the Vity centre from the New Dock Basin, off Clarence Road. In view of the nature of the load it was deemed appropriate to dispense with the traction engine and a team of six horses was harnessed to pull the statue to City Square on Monday 31st August 1903. On Wednesday the 16th of September, 100,000 people assembled on the site to witness the official opening of the City Square.

As for Boulton and his shipmate, they received oblique and anonymous praise in the Press which declared, ".. it is meet that the care exercised by the Aire & Calder Navigation Co., in transporting the statue from Hull to Leeds should be acknowledged... having delivered the valuable work without a scratch..."

The Company directors, flushed with the pride and prestige accrued from their success, decided to forego their charges. The opinion of Joseph Boulton is unrecorded but he must surely have experienced a vestige of pride which devolved however vaguely, through succeeding generations of his family to claim renewed attention today.

©Terry Spencer January 2007

The events described in the above article by Terry Spencer are based upon the essays by William Scott entitled 'Colonel Harding and the Black Prince', contained in 'Aspects of Leeds 2', and published by Wharncliffe Books 1999. p101-108. 
ISBN-10 1871647592
ISBN-13 978-1871647594


 

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