Knottingley and Ferrybridge Online West Yorkshire
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Hope you may be able to point us in the right direction. We have the base of a Bagley light blue Crystaltynt table lamp - a wedding present to my parents in the thirties when they lived near Pontefract. The top was broken accidentally a few years ago and I have only just found out what it is after a visit to Pontefract Museum where they have a display case of it. Does anyone know of any source of this glass or anywhere we may find a top shade to restore it to its former glory? Any help you can give will be much appreciated.
Very informative site, enjoyed looking around it. Thanks in anticipation

Ian Jebbett
25 December 2002

Okay Mike, I give up...! I have had forty-five letters about 'My Knottingley' article since it was published on your web site, many of which ask me to write some more. Most letters are from very kind strangers and one of them even brought a tear to my eye. Believe me that's quite a feat nowadays. Some letters are from people who know me. They told me I was holding back, not giving the full whack. In truth I was as some parts of my childhood did indeed get a bit nasty. Thank you for putting my photo's on the web page. I love your own gallery, you have a good eye. I can see by the steam engine with the signal removed that you have embraced the digital medium as well.

Mike Edwards
9 December 2002

I have just discovered your website, first of all being a new P.C. owner and secondly being interested in local history. I wonder if anyone can answer a question asked by a local landlady. Where was the last windmill situated in Knottingley? I have old maps but cannot find any trace. I would be obliged if someone could help.

Col Mac
1 December 2002

I lived in Knottingley from the mid-1960's until 1978. Does anyone have any photographs of the houses along Harker Street which were demolished in the mid-1970's? I lived in number three. They were opposite Gregg's glassworks and we had an outside toilet and there was no electricity supply above the second floor. Our neighbour was Mona Dunn and her husband was the projectionist at the Palace Cinema. If anyone has any photographs of the houses or can help with any information please contact me.

Michael Edwards
5 November 2002

On 18 April 2002 we published a letter from Mr. Thomas Hanson in which he recalled his memories of Yorkshire while in England serving as a young Canadian soldier in the early 1940's. Mr. Hanson has recently revisited the area with his son and we were delighted to receive a further letter from him to hear his views of the area after an absence of sixty years. Both of Mr. Hanson's letters can be viewed by clicking here.

I was interested to see that you say on the Knottingley and Ferrybridge Online web site that the Worfolk's came to England from Germany in the 17th century.  There is strong evidence that the Worfolk's were in the North Riding for quite some time prior to their appearance in Knottingley, and I think it may help if I expand upon this.
The William (1757-1855) who married Mary Denton can be positively traced back three generation to Thomas who married in Rothwell and died in Methley in 1742. Prior to this there are several references to Worfolk's in the Leeds and Rothwell areas. But well before this we have evidence of Worfolk's in Whitby in the 12th century and by the early to mid 1500's they were well established along the coast from Easington in the north to Barmston in the south., and up to several miles inland. However, by the early 1700's the name ceased to exist in the North Riding but there is good circumstantial evidence to suggest that the West Riding Worfolk's came from those in the North Riding. On the other hand, we have not found any evidence whatsoever to suggest that they came from Germany. In the light of this you may wish to review the reference to Germany on your web site, which I should add I found most interesting.

Peter Kettle
Sydney, Australia
26 October 2002

I attended a school at Ropewalk which was a church school from when I first started school until I moved to Simpsons Lane Junior school at age 8.  Can anyone tell me if they remember this school and if it is still in existence.  I had a teacher there called Mr. Pickard, a rather tall gentleman if I remember.

Brian King
19 October 2002

I am very interested in the Ferrybridge School Photograph submitted by Keith Johnson and wondered if he or anyone else could supply any of the names?

Margaret Smithey
12 October 2002

Can anyone tell me how Spawd Bone Lane in Knottingley got its name?

George Gardner
8 October 2002

Greetings from Australia! Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Merv Rossiter and I am a Rossiter family historian in need of assistance. I came across this site on the Internet by chance and was intrigued to see that there is a Rossiter Drive in your town of Knottingley. For some time now I have been researching a Thomas Rossiter, a mariner, who sailed his ship the 'Wave of Goole' to Austrailia in 1859. So it would appear that Thomas came from Goole. I would like to know what the Rossiter connection with Knottingley is and if you have a local researcher who could assist me. Many thanks and kind regards

Merv Rossiter
21 September 2002

Does anyone know the purpose of the concrete block on top of the old Ferrybridge bridge.?

Biff Vernon
30 August 2002

I enclose a photograph of the Duke of York public house in response to the request by 'Dave'. My father was the landlord there.  He is now 85 years old and I am sure he could tell you some very interesting stories about the old place.

Duke of York Photograph...

17 August 2002

I am trying to find a picture of The Plough public house in Kellington. It was demolished about twenty years ago and a small estate 'The Plough Garth' built upon it. I remember visiting the pub in about 1958. Can anyone help?

Glynne Hughes
17 July 2002

What is the current population of Knottingley and Ferrybridge? I was a Police Officer in the town in the 1970's and married a Knottingley girl. I was transferred by the old West Yorkshire Police Force to Otley where we still live. I am interested to ascertain the current population figure for the two townships.

R. Bleasdale
6 July 2002

I am looking for two former neighbours of mine from the time I used to live on Ennerdale Drive. If you are out there and remember the bonfires, the train spotting, the fouling area, homemade go-carts etc... then get in touch for a chat.

26 June 2002

I am looking for a street map of Knottingley from around 1950 which details the St. Botolph's end of Aire Street and shows 'Shay's Yard'. If anyone can be of assistance, please contact me.

Phil Butterfield
03 May 2002

I write in response to the article about your web site on Knottingley as featured in the Pontefract and Castleford Express. I note that you were interested in the lives of Knottingley people and felt the life of my father Charles Blackburne was worthy of inclusion.

Read Kathryn's account of her father, Charles Blackburne.

Kathryn Ingham
29 April 2002

I am trying to locate information about my grandfather Walter Smith who was a well known figure in Castleford, running a sweet shop, 'The Chocolate Box' on Carlton Street. It was demolished to make way for a supermarket I believe. He was also very much involved as a leading light in Castleford Rugby League team. He didn't play but helped with inventing or beginning to use the black marbles for the draw? He also went with them to France when they played there. At some time there was the murder of a baby in his home in Glasshoughton, which involved a young girl called Norma who was their 'live in' maid. There was a court case and I would be very interested to find out all about it and to make contact with anyone who remembers the family in any way. My great grandmother Charlotte and great grandfather Noah ran the White Hart pub in Castleford. Is it still there? Are there any records which I could see in the archives? My mother, aged 82, is writing her memories of times in Castleford and her knowledge in this area described above is very sketchy. It is also interesting to note that you have a GT Smith supermarkets in the area. My uncle is called G. T. Smith. My mother's name is Emily Margaret Turton Smith. Are we related somehow? My aunt Ellen Turton and my grandmother, ran a millers shop in Castleford called Bon Marche around 1916-19 I think. Many questions, but I hope some answers may be forthcoming, or at least a web address or e-mail I might contact to get further information.

Anne Collins
20 April 2002

As a young Canadian Soldier, I visited relatives Jack and Mary Booth of Ferrybridge in 1940/42 and was a frequent guest of Capt. and Mrs. Hogg who at that time operated the Golden Lion at Ferrybridge. If my memory is correct it was an old coach house and I remember it with great affection.  I am thinking of visiting the area in late May and would like to know if I have the right Inn and if it still exists.

Tom Hanson
Calgary, Alberta
13 April 2002

The above message was posted on the Knottingley and Ferrybridge Online Message Board. After contacting Mr. Hanson, we were sent this wonderful account of his time serving as a Canadian Soldier in Yorkshire.

I arrived in England with the second flight of the first contingent of Canadian soldiers. I had just passed my nineteenth birthday, at the end of December 1939, when we embarked for Gourock and eventually Aldershot.  My father had met a second cousin, Jack Booth of Pontefract in WW1. and had visited Pontefract. He was badly wounded at Paschendael and after return to Canada lost touch with his English cousins. However, his brother, who after being wounded in France became a senior staff officer had retained names and addresses and sent them to me. I wrote both Jack, who lived in Ferrybridge and Emmie, his maiden sister, who lived in Pontefract, and both invited me to visit them as soon as possible.
It was after Dunkirk that I was granted leave and made my first trip to Pontefract and Ferrybridge,. Thereafter I visited at least twice a year until my regiment left for Sicily in 1943. My one leave back to the U.K. came in early 1945, when I left Nijmegen for London . I spoke with Jack on the telephone but spent that leave with his cousins in Surrey. I volunteered for the Pacific Force and was whisked straight through Britain on the way home in July of 1945 and never saw Pontefract again. None of my English relatives had children, all were of the same age as my father, and so within a few years, while I was going to university, getting started on a business career, marrying and beginning my own family, they left this earth before I managed to get back to Yorkshire. When I visited them, Jack being a very gregarious man, and very active in the Pontefract Conservative Club, I was taken around Pontefract and Ferrybridge and introduced to scores of people, most of whose names I have forgotten .There was Jack Tooth, who owned the "Robin Hood' in Pomfret, memorable because of his most attractive daughter, who had little time for someone as awkward as I at that age. There were Captain and Mrs. Hogg who operated the "Golden Lion", if I remember its name correctly, and who were most kind , almost in the nature of foster parents to the untamed colonial who wandered into their welcoming lounge. I walked the streets of Pontefract, was taken to a tea room at a place known as the Dukeries on the moors where I enjoyed tea from the finest of china, and was driven to York to explore that beautiful city and its Minster. I was introduced to the game of golf, which I have since adopted to he extent that I live on a golf course. I visited a fine china factory (if that is the proper name for it), where Mary's brother had a management position, and after pub hours partook of the occasional nightcap at the Conservative Club.
My experience in the local pubs, to which Jack Booth guided me, led me to become a fairly accomplished darts player, a skill which, along with most of my hair and eyesight I seem to have lost.  Most of all I remember the incredible warmth of welcome I received from everyone I met in the area around Pontefract. It has led me to decide, that, along with one of my sons, I must get back to a place I enjoyed so much when I was very young. From your e-mail I gather that welcoming warmth still exists.

Tom Hanson
18 April 2002

Literally the other day I found a coin in my basement. The coin is octagon in shape and appears to be made out of aluminium. On one side of the coin is stamped 'J.S. HODGENS BAKERY' while on the reverse is 'GOOD FOR 1/2 LOAF OF BREAD'. Can anyone offer any information about this coin or does anyone know if it is connected with Hodgens Bakery, Aire Street, Knottingley.

Tom George
26 March 2002

I would be interested in any photographs of the Royal Oak Public House or any of the old ships that sailed from Knottingley. If you can be of any assistance please contact me.

Eric Whitehand
Somerton, Somerset
19 March 2002

As a keen enthusiast of ships, I have seen Rebus Stone at Portsmouth and Southampton and photographed her many times. My problem is I cannot find much information about her tonnage, length, beam, speed etc.  Can anyone offer this information to me?

Graham Alton
18 March 2002

Does anyone have any information or old photographs of Hillcroft House, Primrose Hill, Knottingley? The house is situated behind the Town Hall next to what I believe to be known as Ropewalk.

Claire Burton
12 March 2002

I was very pleased to receive a letter in the post this morning from Mrs. France (nee Eskriett), one of the teachers depicted on the Vale School Photograph circa. 1953 that I submitted to your web site. She informs me that she is well and has forwarded a complete list of the pupils names. She would love to hear from anyone in the photograph.

Russell Rhodes
06 March 2002

I was born in Knottingley in 1938. I lived at Broomhill Crescent and Broomhill Avenue and would welcome contact from anyone who remembers me. Does anyone have information about the 'Sunderland' whose name appears on the cenotaph. No initial but DCM after the name.

Denis Sunderland
2 March 2002

If anyone is interested in finding out more about the above project or has any ideas to help the Management Committee to raise the necessary funds to build a new community centre, please contact the Treasurer, Mary Higgins for a chat. Thank you.

25 February 2002

When the A1 went over the old bridge we used to meet on the bridge when it was very foggy, and in those days it was real fog for two-three days at a time. The lorries on the A1 would only just be crawling along, and when a suitable flat bed came along we used to jump on the back of it and have a free ride up to Oxley's Garage which was situated where the A1 Knottingley/Pontefract flyover was built, and in reverse we would do the same back to the bridge.  Not the safest of practices but boys will be boys and of course our parents were never aware, or the local bobby, 'Bobby Dickinson' who was never afraid to bring us back in line with a good telling off and a clip around the ear for good measure. Just another sample of what we got up to.

David Box
19 February 2002

Has anyone ever heard of a character from Knottingley called Muck Boat? In the 1920's/30's he apparently was discharging a vessel at Leeds Bridge, Leeds, when he said to the crew, "I bet you, I can get a large crowd around me in 5 minutes". So off he went with a boat hook, horse line, and loaf of bread and proceeded to go fishing from the bridge. A large crowd soon gathered around to watch and he was heard to be shouting "The f....... fish don't like my bread". Eventually the police arrived, thought he was a bit deranged and took him into custody (again). But he did win his bet! He lived near Shepherd's Bridge. One day he filled his sack of coal, and walked under the bridge hole, into his house, only to flop on to the floor exhausted. Then he told his wife, he had walked all the way from Goole, with the coal, just for her. I don't know whether she believed that one!!! 

Roy Beckett
19 February 2002

In response to Margaret Webster's letter about Mrs. Miller and The Manor Farm, Knottingley (16 February 2002), yes, I knew Mrs. Miller. I used to deliver milk before going to school and help out on the farm and I got 15 shillings (75pence) for doing it. That was a long time ago.
In response to the letter from Mark Feather regarding Gregg's Glassworks, Gregg's Glass is now called Leeds Glass. If you need information I did a video on Gregg's Glass about three years ago and it is in the television and photographic museum in Bradford. You can of course go and see the video there.

Mr. R. Stone
18 February 2002


Eeeeeh, nostalgia aint what it used to be! Anyone remember "Freeman's"?..the 'shop' (I use the term loosely) at the 'Holes"?..Mr. Freeman only opened the door 3" on a chain to serve you! oooh, while we're at it.. who went swimming and diving off the bridge at Kings Mills? Remember the youth club at Kellingley Club, .the rendevous under the baths or the grandstand?, Saturday morning waiting at Knottla for the Leeds train to see Leeds?, That shop on the way to the baths?, always open....'Everets' I think it was called, best Yorkshire mixture anywhere!...I'm on a roll now See what the site's done!!! My congratulations...most excellent

Will McMillan
18 February 2002

What a great site, I am going to pass it on to relatives living out of the area. I wonder if anyone remembers my grandmother Mrs. Miller of Manor Farm Knottingley, (behind St Botolph's Church), she used to have a milk round & also delivered eggs and potatoes in Knottingley.

Margaret Webster
16 February 2002

Well, done, Excellent and very informative web site, I have already sent the site details around the globe to friends in New Zealand / Australia / Canada and USA. I have lived in Knottingley / Ferrybridge for the past 56years, and until they were demolished, lived in the "cottage one of three" directly next to the Post Office in Ferrybridge Square. When passing I can't help but look at the cast-iron drainpipe at the side of the Post office arch and remember when I used to shim up it to the roof of the cottages. I have fond memories of my early days living in the Square, especially the sandbags outside the door whenever the river burst it's banks and the surface water came up through the drains, not forgetting the sewage. I remember that when it was particularly bad we "the gang" acquired an old rowing boat and spent many happy hours after school, punting across the square. In the summer months there was the Haystack Den in "Jess Lumbs" farm which was swallowed up when the A1 was built. The Gang would be pea picking in the summer and in October it would be the "taty skrating" for Jess. Atters Cafe, Burlands shop on the corner which is now a Chinese takeaway, Hubbards fish shop, Dick Prestons "who I had a Saturday job with", and also paper rounds in the morning & evening for Alfie Spiers. I fondly remember Harry Beech Landlord of the Three horseshoes, on every Xmas morning he would be out with his bag of sixpence's giving one to each and every one of us. Happy Days, gone but not forgotten.

David Box
14 February 2002

My dad is very interested in the old Knottingley pubs that no longer exist in particular the 'Lime Keel', the 'Duke of York' and the 'Wagon and Horses'. Has anyone got any old pictures of any of the pubs mentioned or any others?.

13 January 2002

In response to the letter from Lynda Law, 8th December 2001, my wife and I were married at Ropewalk Church in February 1973 and we think we were the last but one couple to be be married in the original building. I remember being asked to take the harvest festival service in the Autumn of 1973 in the Church but not long after that the building was closed as it became unsafe. Worship was transferred into the hall next door which still operates as a church and a hall. My understanding was that it became uneconomic to keep the original building open when its principal benefactor, John Poulson, was jailed following the corruption case.

Ian Wolstencroft
02 January 2002

Interesting to see the map of Aire Street submitted by Paul Dean on the Web Site. I lived at the bottom of West Ings Lane from 1957 and would make the following observations dragged up from the mists of time:
I think "Toddies Bikes" was a fairly recent addition in the mid-sixties, and I seem to remember it was a butcher's shop before that. There was a bakers shop just beyond Jack Dudley's shop called Backhouse's who moved to Low Green when Aire Street was demolished. Carvers shoes etc was on the left hand side of Aire Street next to the main Post Office, which was just beyond Carver's shop.
Beyond Carvers were a wool shop and an opticians. On the right hand side the last property before the Flatts was a green grocers.
The traditional spelling of "The Flats" is "The Flatts". The houses beyond the Palace Cinema had an undertakers (Haldenby's) and also a painter and decorators.
Seeing the names of the shops brings back memories so I hope my comments help

Ian Wolstencroft
02 January 2002

[In response to the request for information about the Thompson families in Knottingley by Gene Baugh on 20 November, 2001]

My source of information concerning the parents of Ben & Billy Thompson came from Mr. C. P. Dearden, a lifelong Knottingley resident who has spent most of his adult life studying the history of the town. At the very onset of corresponding with me. Mr. Dearden informed me that there were over one hundred men living in the Knottingley area circa 1850 with the name of Thompson. Most of whom were not directly related to Ben & Billy. Here is what I know and it has been verified by Mr. Dearden's extensive research into birth certificates, marriage licenses, last wills & testaments and census data.
On Oct. 21, 1840 the parents of Ben & Billy were married at St. Giles Church. They were 24 year old William Thompson and a a "sadler's" daughter named Mary Anne Baker. William listed his occupation as a "waterman." He was the oldest son of a local grocer also named William (his store was at Shepard's Bridge and he originally came from Hull) and his mother's name was the same as his new wife - Mary. His younger brother's names were Benjamin, John and Samuel. In 1851 they would have been age 22, 20 and 14. The 1861 census listed John as a chemist/druggist and he was living back on Shepard's Bridge where he was born. Mr. Dearden has not been able to learn whatever happened to Benjamin and Samuel. By the 1871 census even John had disappeared.

Tom Bicknell
01 January 2002

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