Knottingley and Ferrybridge Online West Yorkshire
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Letters Pages




Could anyone give me any history or information on Knottingley Church of England and Ropewalk schools.

31 December 2001

Does the "Gregg's Glass Bottle Factory" or part of it Still exist as my great, great grandfather on my mothers side started the company many years ago?

Mark Feather
31 December 2001

I am currently researching my families Ancestry and I have a 'Hood' and or a 'Jagger' who was the landlord of the 'The Lamb Inn' in Knottingley in the early 1900's. Can anybody help me with any information? I would be very grateful for any help at all.

Mark Feather
31 December 2001

I was Mate on the Southdale H, trading in the Bristol Channel and up as far as Gloucester during the late 1950's. I have been unable to find a picture of the vessel, or anything about her after I left in May 1961. If there is anyone out there with any details of the vessel or her owners, and where she might be today, I should be very interested to hear. Any cost involved will be reimbursed. Many thanks

Brian N. Asher-Relf
31 December 2001

Can anyone enlighten me on the history of Ropewalk Methodist Church? I can't seem to find any reference to it now. Any information gratefully received! Thanks.

Lynda Law
08 December 2001

I am interested in any information what-so-ever on Ben Thompson and his parents because I'm working on the family history as my maternal grandmother was a Thompson before she married and was supposedly related to Billy & Ben. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Gene Baugh
20 November 2001

I have 8 boxes of glass that were given to me out of an old warehouse and I am trying to find out how old they are. They were packed by Pilkington Bros. Ltd in St. Helens, England and shipped by boat to St. John, Canada. Pressed or burned into the side of the boxes is a round crest with 'British Glass P. B.' on it and a cross in the middle. The glass is packed in stray with brown paper between each sheet of glass. If anyone can shed any light on these I would be grateful if you could contact me.  I would like to see the boxes and glass go to a historical place, but I need more information. Thank you.

Keith Holmes
18 September 2001

Can anyone help? I am seeking designs from their range. Is there a website with them on or does anyone have catalogue details? Thanking you.

Bob Simmonds
02 August 2001

1840's POTTERY
I am trying to find the history behind an old piece of pottery, porcelain. thought to date circa 1840,s. The name R. Cawthron appears on the front together with the town of Knottingley and "Tynemouth Haven". The piece also carries a verse starting,
"The walls of olde England are oak and they're strong and our tars have the heart of the oak they belong". The piece is signed on the underside "J Rogers".
Any information regarding this piece would be most appreciated.

M. G. Dodds
30 July 2001

Hi Knottingley and Ferrybridge. Good to find a site that I know the town.
Most of my family live there mainly Maureen and Bill at Racca fishshop. Hope any one remembers me. I lived in Nottingham for the last twenty one years. Hope to hear from old school pals especially the ones that got sent to Helwith Bridge to build the school youth hostel.

Kevin Slater
20 June 2001

Having some recent time on my hands I have taken an interest in genealogy, the internet and local history. I was interested to find your site, never having realised before how historical Knottingley actually is. The reason I am writing is that on reading your article about Knottingley glassmakers I read about a commemorative glass plate produced by Bagley's in 1937 for the occasion of a Royal visit. Immediately I recognised that just such a plate was in the cabinet a few yards away and subsequent checking confirmed this. Can anyone forward any more information about this plate if you have it. I am interested to know if this article has any value and how it came into my families possession. Many Thanks.

16 June 2001

I Looked at the site as my 87 year old father is shown on an old photograph of the Town fire service. Apparently he is the only survivor on the photo and hopes to help a present day member of the service with an history. I was amazed when opening the guest book to see that the latest message was from my niece in Saudi Arabia. I left Knottingley in 1967 although I'm only 20 odd miles away. We visit my widowed father as often as possible. He was well known in Knottingley as he had his own joinery and undertakers business and although he is now practically an invalid he has a tremendous memory for anything to do with Knottingley and would help anybody with research. Please contact me if you would like me to ask him for information. Also if you know of a reliable gardener who could give his garden regular attention I would appreciate your assistance.

Mike Rhodes
20 May 2001

Can anyone help me with information about the Humber Keel 'Two Sisters'. My Grandfather, William Beckett, was Captain and owner of the 'Two Sisters' and he lived at Canalside, Knottingley with his wife Elizabeth.  I believe that the boat caught fire and sank at Keadby, whilst carrying burnt lime. A painting by Rhuben Chapel of Goole, depicting the boat, was lost by the family many years ago, but I did trace it to being sold at Bonhams in about 1997, in a sale of Maritime Art. If anyone can help me with information about the boat or the painting would you please contact me.

Barbara Edmonds
17 April 2001


Becketts Row, Knottingley

My Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Beckett, was responsible for the row of terrace houses situated on Weeland Road and known as 'Beckett's Row'. She lived in Garden Cottage and over the years added more. I know they were used by the Beckett family. According to various letters, Elizabeth, who was married to George Beckett, a Boat Hauler, was a pretty formidable woman. My father, Fred Beckett was captain on many John Harker's boats, working the Bristol Channel etc. He was always full of tales of when he was young and lived in Knottingley. Of course in those days boats were pulled with horses. He rode many a mile on their backs. Some of the stories were rather gruesome!! According to him, his father William used quite a few horses. Unfortunately for them if they became un-sound, or they had a particularly bad one, they would go to Goole Docks and swap it for a horse destined to go to France. Not all ended this way, unfortunately cameras were not in use much in those days, so we have no photographs of them. My Grandfather, William Beckett and his wife Elizabeth, lived at Canalside Knottingley. I visited this house, which had become derelict or nearly so, when I was about 9 years old. My father Fred Beckett was born there, and I think his mother used to have a small shop, no doubt for the passing boat trade. Next door or very near was the Blacksmiths shop, and I am fairly sure the Blacksmith was called Matt Burkett. I seem to remember his son or grandson was still shoeing there in the late 1960's. One of my favourite uncles, Jim Beckett, lived a stones throw from where he was born all his life, his two up and two down backing onto the canal. I remember when I was little watching the Tom Puddings going by. Also being amazed that the 'loo' was outside!!!

Barbara Edmonds
17 April 2001

The plight of the Feversham Arms in Farndale, North Yorkshire Moors.
Although the effects of the recent Foot and Mouth epidemic have not been so severe in our locality, I would just like to point out the struggles faced by many small businesses which rely heavily on tourism, and yet which have, over the last few weeks, been faced with great financial difficulties.
Over the last few years one of my favourite places to visit has been the North Yorkshire Moors. I am often surprised by the fact that so many people from Yorkshire are more used to going abroad for a holiday yet they have never seen some of the more beautiful areas that are on their doorstep in the Dales of Yorkshire.
In the past I used to go virtually every week during the summer months on a Motor Cycle, now the Bike has gone, I go up there in a car but not as often as when I had the bike. I also like to go more in the winter, its just a bit quieter and also due to my job I have a lot more time off work during this season, I must admit though that the views over the moors are far better in the summer months.
As a regular visitor into North Yorkshire I have my favourite areas to visit that I always go back to. One of these areas is called Farndale, which is also known as the Valley of the Daffodils for obvious reasons. One of my favourite things to do while in Farndale is to go to the only pub called the Feversham Arms for a bar meal. This pub is found in an area of Farndale called the Church Houses. The lady who owns the pub is called Fran and she comes originally from Leeds but has made Farndale her home. I was up there early in February when Fran was telling me that it had been a very poor winter for her. At the weekends when the walkers come to her pub for meals they had been having lots of bad weather. The weather would be fine through the week but when it came to the weekend they would end up with lots of snow, which of course would mean no business. She said it was the same on New Years Eve, one of the best nights for business and guess what?.. it snowed again, resulting in little business.
I went up a few weeks ago and the threat of Foot and Mouth was really making things difficult for her. She has been on local radio stations explaining her predicament, and a couple of weeks ago she was on Look North two nights in one week trying to explain that her livelihood would  come to an end if she couldn’t get more customers into the pub. So if anyone would care to go there for a meal please do so and help keep her business alive. Of course the walks are closed due to this Foot and Mouth problem, but you can have a lovely drive up there and see some of the most beautiful scenery and have a meal while you are there!
So the area is called Farndale, the pub is the Feversham Arms, please allow a couple of hours to get up there and try and arrive between 12.00-1.00pm and to be on the safe side I always ring her up the day before I go and just ask if its going to be open. The phone number is: 01751 433206. I went up there last Thursday and was pleased to see eight other people in there. They had all heard about her problems on television and had gone along for the first time just to give her some support! If you need details of how to get there, e mail me and I will be happy to explain where exactly the pub is!

William A Dobson
17 April 2001

I remember in about 1955, queuing on a Saturday morning to see a children's matinee. Because there were only about 10 or so children waiting to go in, they did not open that day because it would have meant they would have made a loss! My father was Fred Beckett, born in Knottingley in 1909, who moved to Gloucester working for John Harker's in about 1930/1935, with his cousin Ernie Pearson, also from Knottingley. His brother Jim, my uncle, lived all his life in Knottingley with his wife Violet. I believe his son Rex and his children still live there. Another brother, George Beckett also lived in Knottingley until his death in about 1958, but I lost touch with his family at that time. My Aunt Harriet Beckett married Eli Shaw who had a son also named Eli.  Both these two Eli's are now dead and I have lost touch with the children of the younger Eli Shaw, their names being Alan Shaw and John? Shaw. Alan I know was a very good rugby player. If anyone knows anyone I have mentioned above, please let me know. Thank you in anticipation.

David Beckett
Polperro, Cornwall.
17 April 2001

I can remember the greenhouse from a long time ago. I do not have any photographs unfortunately, only memories. Whatever happened to the band stand and the drinking fountain and all the flower beds? It just seems that when Kellingley pit got hold of it, everything just disappeared and in my mind this was also the start of the demise of Knottingley, because not long after all the major shops were moved nearer to Warwick Estate, the Aire Street just closed and moved to one side with nothing in it.  This to me was the heart of Knottingley which was taken out. I am writing about my childhood days in Knottingley and I will submit it to the site soon. I was born in 1953, in Island Court if you can remember where that was and it says on my birth certificate, 'West Riding of Yorkshire', something else lost forever.

Paul Dean
14 April 2001

Does anyone remember the landscaped gardens of Knottingley playing fields before Kellingley pit got hold of them?  Does anyone have any photographs of the gardens in their original condition?

William Dobson
04 April 2001

Mr. Dobson has kindly forwarded us two photographs of the site of the gardens taken over 50 years apart. See his photographs of Knottingley Playing Fields here.

I read with interest your fascinating web site. Although a 'Ponte lad' I have spent my best and most enjoyable sporting years representing Knottingley at Rugby League. When I joined the club in 1983 we were then known as 'Sailors Home' for obvious reasons. We moved up to the Kellingley playing fields and became Knottingley welfare RLFC and had financial support from the NCB. In the early nineties we enjoyed playing at the highest level in the Amateur game when we were members of the BNFL National League. I have too many memories of times and friends to even begin to recall. What I would say though, is that all those people I encountered over the best part of ten years were good 'speak as you find' genuine folk. I loved it !. I will tell you this final note. I now live in Cambridgeshire and enjoy life down here a great deal. However, My roots are in places like Knottingley and the people there are streets ahead in terms of friendliness and 'having the crack' compared to the South ! My very best wishes to the town and continued success with the web site.

Martin Viggars
01 April 2001

I often wonder what happened to any of the old gang who used to frequent St. Botolph's Youth Club in the late 1960's. Names that spring to mind are:- John Hughes, John Fox, Derek Dobson, Dennis Gawthorpe, Tommy Baker, Pat Vause, Pat Hobman, Susan Adams, Margaret Knapton, Helen Parkin, Ann name but a few, and not forgetting the two curates who served at St. Botolph's during that period, Ian Harker and Sam Doubtfire. If you are out there it would be nice to hear from you.

Keith Rhodes
06 March 2001

ST. ANDREW'S CHURCH (Campanology was never my forte!)
St. Andrew's was at the end of a paved path which ran alongside the railway track on the opposite side from the old power station. I used to go fishing for sticklebacks in a pond immediately next to where the church then stood.  There was a short paved path leading up to the door and a notice board stating that the church was open for occasional services during the summer months. (The Church would flood in the winter hence the relocation!). When the church was dismantled each stone was numbered to enable the reconstruction to be exactly as the original. Living directly opposite the field where the church was re-erected I was able to see it grow. The vicar at the time was the Reverend Branch. He "shooed" me off a number of times for stealing conker's from within the vicarage grounds!
On the day St. Andrews was consecrated, I was outside the church and watched the Bishop of Wakefield knock on the door with his crook(?). There was quite a big crowd gathered outside of the church and later that day I heard the whole thing again on the radio, which to me at the time seemed magical.
I remember that later, much was made of the fact that the new lectern was made by the now world famous Yorkshire carpenter, Robert Thompson. His signature is a mouse carved on to all his work. I remember that beautifully carved mouse well.  I believe (though I am not absolutely certain) that the font was made from a rock transported from the Holy Land.
Later I was a choir boy at the church and also rang the bell for Sunday morning service, so erratically, that I was soon relieved of my duties! (Campanology was never my forte. Although I did spend nine years in the Royal Corps of Signals by way of compensation!)

Allen Gould
04 January 2001

I have just discovered your website and had a nostalgic hour looking around. I was born in Knottingley in 1947, down Primrose Hill.  I left in 1956 and have never returned there since so I think the old place may well have changed just a little bit. It was sad to see the photograph of the cinema in such a dilapidated state, but at least it is still standing.  I spent most of my childhood in that building!. The programme changed three times per week and I think that I must have seen every film they showed ( at least those that I could get in to). I was also a regular attendee at the Saturday morning matinee.

Jeff Ambler
03 January 2001

Wonderful to find your site. I left Ferrybridge in 1958 having lived in Pontefract Road. I left Ropewalk School in 1958. Happy memories of some wonderful teachers. S.S Roebuck, Alan Billborough, Mrs. Barton. Missed many good friends and wonderful girls! Still a Yorkshireman and proud of it.(!) Would love to receive emails from old schoolmates. Your site has lifted my heart. So much nostalgia!

Allen Gould
23 December 2000

I would like to see a lot more being done for the youth of Knottingley as a ex heroin addict from the town I personally am concerned for the youngsters growing up in the area. The Fresh Aire development on the Warwick Estate is a very good idea but could have been built more central in the town so all of Knottingley's young could take advantage of the facilities on offer. The estate itself was a decent place some years ago and most of it's residents are really nice people but instead of just pumping money into one area of the town , Knottingley could do with improvement not just in one area. Drug issues should also be a number one priority as education on the subject is vital as to reduce the risk of drug related crime in the area.

Adrian Dunn
07 December 2000

A few weeks ago I visited England on a rugby league tour with school. We came over to play a few games of rugby and to see the Rugby World Cup. On the second night, we went along to the New Zealand game at the 'Jungle' in Castleford. The game was really boring so I went to the bar and had a few drinks with the aim of meeting the rest of my party at the bus when the game had finished. By the time I realised, the game had ended and my bus had departed leaving me stranded at the ground. Relating my situation to some people from Ferrybridge outside the ground, Eileen, kindly offered to let me stay at her home for the night and even contacted my party at Haworth where I was supposed to be staying, to let them know that I was safe and well.Many thanks to Eileen for her kindness.

Mark Walton
Perth, Australia
02 December 2000

Along with millions of other viewers I watched the latest edition of BBC Televisions room makeover show "Changing Rooms". Alas, the creative efforts of the latest designer were deemed to be "crap" by the unhappy recipient of the 'changed'  room. Did the above-mentioned designer practice on Knottingley Town Hall? It looks like a piece of stage scenery from the film "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" completely made of Caramac chocolate! Now I'm all for being practical. Is it a cunning plan to prepare us for the food shortages to be incurred in the next impending fuel blockade -that the good residents of Knottingley dismantle the Town hall brick by edible brick? Or is it really just a layer of undercoat soon to be painted over with glorious gambodge (see reminiscences column on letters page)? I suppose I will grow to love this new colour. And so we see, it's less of a Town Hall more of a Caramac Condominium. That could be its new name. Like the Dome…Less of a building more of a (caramac) concept.

David Clegg
17 September 2000

It is about time they built the things that Knottingley really needs such as a decent shopping area so that people do not have to travel to Pontefract and Castleford rather than pay the over inflated prices at G.T. Smiths who have had the monopoly for so long. We also require somewhere for our children to go on a night rather than have them roaming the streets and getting themselves into trouble. At the moment Knottingley is at a standstill and is in need of redevelopment. I lived there for twenty odd years and I did not see too much change in that time.

Richard Bailey
28 June 2000

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