Knottingley and Ferrybridge Online West Yorkshire
Amazon Advertisements
Lives of Knottingley Folk




Congratulations on the last issue of The Digest, I couldn’t put it down. I am secretary of the Tenants and Residents Association, a member of the Carnival Committee and the new Heritage Group. I love being involved and we have achieved many things but we desperately need more help to do things properly. Could you, through your columns appeal to all your readers to get involved in their own areas, to take an interest in what your grandchildren will remember and blot out many of the bad things that are happening around us now.

Pat Towell
12 December 2003

A recently established Toddler Group, run by the ‘Friends of England Lane School’ provides the opportunity of a get-together for mums and young children. With facilities for the children to play under the supervision of their parents and become accustomed to being among other children it also offers parents the opportunity to make new friends and have a glimpse of the school and the new nursery over coffee and biscuits. There is a small charge of £1.50, although the under one year olds are admitted free of charge. The money raised through this venture goes towards purchasing new equipment for the school.
‘Friends of England Lane School’ are a group of parents who work hard behind the scenes to give children that little extra. It has been established for two years raising funds for the school to enable the purchase of equipment that it would not otherwise be able to obtain. In this time the groups’ efforts have raised in excess of £10,000. In the past they have held car boot sales, sponsored walks and Xmas and Summer Fairs. They have also established a tuck shop for the children at playtime.
The group meets every Tuesday afternoon between 1315 and 1500 at England Lane School, Nursery Entrance. All children aged up to 5 years old are welcome.
For further information, please contact Mrs. Snead who chairs the group at the school.

I read your site with interest. People from all over the world get in touch and I wondered if a Pete Davies, nickname 'flip', ever reads this site. He went to Australia 20 odd years ago and I have not seen him for years.  If anyone knows anything about him I would be pleased to hear from you. His brother Allan used to live in Knottingley but I never see him if he is still here.  He also had a sister in Knottingley. It would be great to hear from him after all this time.

Allan Whittles
21 November 2003

Thank you very much for mentioning Pamela and myself (The 'K' Sisters) in 'The Digest' and also on your website. We have found The Digest very interesting and it brings back a lot of happy memories. I still keep in touch with friends in town who keep me informed of events in Knottingley and send cuttings from the Pontefract and Castleford Express. It was so sad to read about the vandalism at the Town Hall, how terrible, what's wrong with society today? We have had lots of happy times at the Town Hall where we gave our shows, went Ballroom Dancing etc. It is three years since I last visited Knottingley and according to my friends there have been lots of changes since then.
I enjoyed very much the article in The Digest on Aire Street by Joyce Bell. My friend Mary and I walked all the way up Aire Street from Marsh End just before it was demolished. My mother, Mrs. Kellett, had three shops in Aire Street, two sweet shops and a fish shop. I used to love serving in the sweet shop that Joyce mentions.
My sister Pamela is now an accomplished pianist who has lots of engagements.
We send our best wishes to everyone and thank you once again. Kindest Regards

Marjorie and Pamela
The 'K' Sisters
12 November 2003

Re: the picture in the November 2003 issue of The Digest and on the Letters Page October 10 2003. My Grandma Walker is the lady standing in the doorway. Mrs. Maria Walker was born in Liverpool in 1848 and came to live in Knottingley after living in Ulleskelf. She opened the first fried fish and chip shop in Knottingley, in Aire Street. A few years later she took control of the ‘Royal Oak’ – known by locals as ‘The Lodging House’. Regular tinkers used to stay there overnight as they travelled the area selling their wares from horse and carts. She ran that business for 37 years. Grandma Walker died in 1930 at 82 years of age, her husband had died in 1907. I remember many happy times at The Lodging House with Granny Walker.

Mrs. Hannah Dawson (nee Wood)
9 November 2003

My husband and I were born in Knottingley but have lived in Kent for many years now. On a recent visit to Yorkshire we were shown issue number two of The Digest which contained the article written by Susan Aaron (my husbands Aunt) and also a photograph of the power station cooling towers where my husband worked. He was a shift worker and was at home asleep at the time so I was not worried about him being hurt when I first heard the news. I still marvel that there were no injuries.

Margaret Aaron
9 November 2003

I am writing in answer to your request for information regarding the old bridge at Ferrybridge William the Conqueror was held up there for three weeks in the 11th century when the Northumbrians’ destroyed the crossing and William obtained the help of local people who built a bridge of boats so he could continue his expedition north. On January 21st, 1797, the Leeds Mercury published an advertisement with a competition for the submission of plans to build a new bridge, which was won by John Carr of York. The construction took six years to complete. All this information was contained in the Yorkshire Post newspaper dated October 24th 1967. The new A1 fly-over alongside the old bridge was opened early October in 1967 when the final section was completed making the conversion of the Great North Road into dual carriageway.

Mrs. O. Dobson
8 November 2003

I have enjoyed reading The Digest not only because of my brothers’ extracts (Michael Edwards) but also for the many memories of Aire Street and other stories that open so many windows of my mind. Knottingley is a very special town to me and although I moved to Pontefract three years ago I still take my son to Church School and each time I get that ‘home feeling’. I enjoy nothing better than sitting down and reading The Digest, some times with tears down my face but always with the thought that while my childhood may have been unconventional I have gained great values and morals from it and from the folk of Knottingley. Thank you for reminding me of them.

Mrs. Catherine Barnaby
7 November 2003

Last week I received two copies of your newsletter and was delighted to receive them. I have been interested in such things all my life. I remember going to the pickling tank work where Granddad Tate used to work. It was off Womersley Road along where the school is now and where railway sleepers were soaked in what looked like tar before they were used. Parts of seven railway sleepers are holding my front fence to this day! Everyone must remember the donkey and car with its load of crates, my dad used to work there. There were two kinds of crates, some for pottery and other for glass. The glass ones were much stronger made with willows soaked in water, dried in the chimney and then twisted into shape. Lots of people will remember seeing them outside of Woolworths’. I have always lived on Womersley Road where nowadays is the Plasmor works. There, lime was dug out, burned in pits and ground to a powder for use in the building trade and on the farmland. Some parts of the quarry became swimming pools for the lads and in wintertime, skating rinks. I remember the road being constructed in 1928/29. Until then it had been a mud track and we wore laced up boots. In 1929 the electricity cables were installed and South Yorkshire buses commenced running to Doncaster. From the Town Hall to my home cost me half-penny.

Miss M. Leeman
4 November 2003

Keep up the good work with your website and news letter.
Just a quick comment and question perhaps your visitors and readers can answer. As a teenager living in Ferrybridge on Pontefract Rd with a great view of Ferrybridge C power station I can remember coming home from school and the cooling towers had collapsed due to high winds, this was unbelievable to see such a large construction fail in those days.  However my question is regarding Ferrybridge Henge, whilst I remember the large Tumulus on the outskirts of Ferrybridge on the way to Castleford with its previous history as an ancient burial ground. I am not sure of the year but Ferrybridge C power station was under construction, then it was announced in the Pont and Cas Express that an ancient grave had been found on the construction site and the person in the grave had died from a wound from a sword that was present in the skeleton. This was later decided that the sword/dagger was perhaps in a scabbard and had fallen into the skeleton after the scabbard had dissolved and was in fact not an attack on the person, but they had been buried with their weapon. I can remember visiting the construction site with my best friend from school Colin Tate now of Selby in the area where the skeleton had been found on the power station site. We met with our history teacher Ray Beech from Pontefract Secondary Boys School who was involved with Harry Batty again from the school and both avid historians. I can remember Ray showing us the bones from the dig placed on a wooden bakers board of the type they delivered bread on.  This was a memorable time in my life just to see such a historical event. My question is ----  Is this the same sword/scabbard that was presented to the British Museum ?  Any comments would be appreciated.

Julian Grace.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
31 October 2003

First, congratulations on the first two issues of The Digest, you have done a wonderful job. Please find enclosed photo's of Bagley's Glass Products that you asked for.
In reply to Mrs. Browning's question about catalogues of Bagley Glass, there are catalogues available in the following;
Broadfield House Glass Museum, Compton Drive, Kingswinford, West Midlands, DY6 9NS and also at World of Glass, Chalon Way, St. Helens, WA10 1BX
For local people there is a good selection of Bagley's Glass at Pontefract Museum along with photographs and catalogues.

Alan Hardingham

I am enclosing a photograph of the Royal Oak public house, which was situated between Longwoods Walk and the shops that were built in the 1950’s in Aire Street. The photograph dates from before 1907 as it depicts my grandfather who died in May of that year. It is the old lodging house in Back Lane and was kept by ‘Granny Walker’ as she was known, and owned by Carter’s Brewery.

Royal Oak

I remember going into the pub to see granny when I was aged about three. Many a drink I took from some of the men who offered. I was once lost to my family and found asleep under one of the tables.

Mr. R. Wood, Knottingley
15 October 2003

Additional information supplied by Ron Gosney:
The Royal Oak was the old lodging house in Back Lane kept by 'Granny Walker' as she was known. Included in the picture is her husband William James who died in 1907 so the photograph pre-dates that year. William James would have been about 65 when he died and he was born in Sheffield. He was shown as 59 in the 1901 Census. Granny Walker died at the age of 82 in February 1932. This is what a newspaper report said of her death:

"Knottingley has this week lost one of its best known characters in the person of Mrs. Maria Walker, who since 1926 had lived with daughter and son in law Mr. & Mrs. W. Middleton of Sunny Bank. Mrs. Walker was born at Liverpool 82 years ago and came to Knottingley from Ulleskelf, near York, 42 years ago, and on a site in Aire Street, now occupied Pease's Buildings, opened the town's first fried fish and chip business. A few years later she took control of a lodging house in Back Lane, which she kept for the next 37 years, during which time she became well known to local residents, being referred to as 'Granny' Walker by those who were closely acquainted with her, particularly by children. In her closing years Mrs. Walker suffered from rheumatism and was confined to the house though the cause of her death, which was on Monday, was acute bronchitis. Her husband died in 1907 and she is now survived by four sons and three daughters. The funeral took place at Knottingley yesterday, the cortege pausing for a moment opposite the spot where for so long Mrs. Walker had kept her boarding house."

Also in the picture are the three daughters, Sarah the eldest, Mary the second eldest who married Happy Joe Bagley and Lilly the youngest.

I read with great interest your page on the K sisters. I too worked with the Royal Kiltie Juniors and knew Marjorie and Pam very well. Of course, it is almost fifty years since we have been in touch but would love dearly to contact them again, if for nothing else but a trip down memory lane.

Joe Kerford
8 October 2003

I have visited your website with interest and thought I would drop you a line. I was born in Knottingley in 1949 in Ashcombe Drive. I now live in West Sussex, but keep close links via my Mum & other family. I was lucky enough to go off to York University in 1968 (a very rare breed from the Council Estate of England Lane in those days) and have never lived full time in Knottingley since.  However I have many happy childhood memories, some a bit more traumatic - including falling down the quarry at the back of Ashcombe Drive when I was only 3. I went to confirmation classes with Kath Spence, one of your authors, around 1966. If you need any more info. please let me know and please put me on any mailing lists which you have.

Chris Blaydon
18 August 2003

In my opinion it has nothing to do with a lack of community spirit, I think it's all down to having time. All the people I know all work and nowadays people have to work more hours a week to get an income that they can live on adequately, then when they do get time off it's all a matter of priorities i.e.. FAMILY FIRST and if we didn't spend much quality time with our families there would be some do-gooder out there complaining that fact. So when it comes to community events let the people who have time, get it sorted so us FULLY EMPLOYED people with families can get on with our family lives and enjoy what the more fortunate (people who have time to spare) do for the community.
Thank you for the good work and keep it up And if you want community spirit when times of crisis occur its always prevalent then because again its a matter of priorities and when times are bad we have to muck in and get things done. Thank you.

Mr. G. Simmons
12 July 2003

Does anyone have any information on Addy's Wood which appears on old maps of Knottingley?

Michelle Procter
9 July 2003

Does anyone have any information on the 'Ferrybridge Feast'? I did find mention of it in the 19th century when it seemed to be an important and much loved event with people spring cleaning their houses in readiness. It took place in late August. Any help would be much appreciated.
Keith Henson
8 July 2003

It would indeed be ludicrous for us to give up on Knottingley and Ferrybridge Online when we have come so far and achieved so much on our own.  There remains much for us to accomplish and many tasks we have yet to undertake and the desire to succeed is as strong as ever. Far from being resigned to defeat through the lack of support we have received we feel it is now time for us to begin the fight to gain support and interest within the community. For the past two years we have been aware that we need to make contact with more people within the town  if we are to achieve our aim of obtaining personal accounts of life in Knottingley from the people who live and work here.  Our belief has always been that we require a newsletter to run in conjunction with our web site so that those people without Internet access have the opportunity to discover who we are and what we are doing. Producing a newsletter obviously takes up more of our time, needs more funding and requires distribution.  We have sufficient information within our web site to keep us going for a short time but obviously we need to obtain new material.  Circumstances dictate that we start on a small scale initially and expand as and when support for it is gained. We firmly believe there is a need for a local newsletter and that it can be successful. We will keep you informed of developments.

Michael Norfolk
03 July 2003

You have never, ever sent me an e-mail or letter. I would agree with you about the lack of community spirit, but why attack those that do the most. I would ask if you have a political motivation for giving out this misinformation, which is not helpful, demeaning to the councillors who work hard, and gives totally the opposite impression to the town of what we are like. The facts are that you have never, ever, sent me a letter or Email asking for my support or involvement on any matter, if you had I would have responded. I have in the past signed your visitors book and acknowledged the good work done on your site, I have promoted it everywhere I have been, I have promised you whatever assistance I can give, but none has been requested.

I have and still do get involved in many organisations throughout the town attending their meetings on most nights of the week, this is my home town and I am proud to live here and support the work of many organisations in whatever way I can whether it be assisting in giving advice, fundraising or taking up their enquiries, my wife Linda is still secretary of the Carnival Committee. I think it is mischievous in the least for you to attempt to portray local councillors as people who do not respond or get involved, those people in the town who do attend the many meetings that I attend can testify that we have never refused an invitation, and we are always willing to attend any meeting and be accountable, we are local representatives elected by local people, we are all on the same side in doing our best to improve the area in which we all live for the benefit of everybody.

Graham Stokes
Cabinet Member
Resources Department
30 June 2003

I would like to thank Graham Stokes for sending us his e-mail, published here in its entirety, and I am in total agreement with many of the valid points he makes and applaud the work he does within the community. However, the one main error it does contain is the fact that we did send Graham an e-mail on 21 April 2001 thanking him for his entry into our guestbook and requesting "more information about present day events and to be kept informed of new developments"  Graham responded personally on April 23, 2001, by stating " I can keep you informed as and when they come up"  That was our final communication.

am somewhat disturbed to read on your web site that you say you have had no response from the Local Councillors can I remind you that you responded to my E-Mail to you on 18/o6/o3 and the information was I believe helpful that is if you have contacted Mr Gosney???? As regards to the Carnival Committee in the Days of Dave Lee Travis Gene Pitney Ect There were as many as on the main Committee people in these days believed in putting something in to the Community un like To day they ask what's in it for me or how much will you pay me they are just not interested I regret to say but please correct you web site ??
Tanking you

COUNCILLOR Graham Clarke
Chairman W.Y.J.S. & Trading Standards
28 June 2003

Councillor Clarke was responding to comments contained in my article dated 27 June 2003, entitled Whatever happened to our Community Spirit?.  In it I stated that "None of our local councillors, businesses, industries or schools have ever responded to our letters or e-mails asking for their support and involvement..." [towards Knottingley and Ferrybridge Online] " a positive way".
At Councillor Clarke's request, we apologise sincerely if that comment caused offence as he did indeed reply to our request for his support and involvement with the following e-mail (included in its entirety)

Michael the only person that springs to mind is a chap called Ron Gosney who lives I believe on Englands lane estate he is very much into the Archive side of Knottingley and I am sure he could assist or put you on the right track
Graham Clarke
Chairman W.Y.J.S. & Trading Standard

Knottingley and Ferrybridge Online extend their grateful thanks to Councillor Clarke for his support and involvement.

I would appreciate any information on the above vessel owned by John Harker Limited. This tanker operated out of Sharpness Docks carrying cargo fuel oil etc. loading in Swansea docks for the Bristol channel ports. A photograph of this tanker would also be appreciated as I was skipper of this tanker.

Stanley Davis
14 June 2003

Many years ago I was Mate on Southdale H, working between Swansea and the Bristol Channel up as far as Gloucester. I would very much like to have a photograph of her and to discover where she is now.  Any information would be very gratefully received.

Brian N. Asher-Relf
13 June 2003

Does anyone know if there is a history of the Tollhouse at Ferrybridge? My great grandfather Joseph Waddington was the toll-keeper and lived in the Tollhouse for at least twenty-five years – (1861 and 1881 census). His youngest child my grandfather Thomas was born at Ferrybridge in 1857, and I am anxious to obtain information about his early life – for instance where he might have gone to school. Can anyone tell me who are the present occupiers of the Tollhouse?

D Waddington
3 June 2003

I have found a glass stopper while snorkelling in Samoa. I am trying to find out the history of it and hope someone can help. It is a pale blue glass that says Jackson Bros. Knottingley on it. It measures approx. 5.75cm in diameter and is about 2cm deep. Any information would be greatly appreciated

West Coast of Canada
28 May 2003

I have been interested in the history of the second world war since my youth and would be very interested to hear from anyone locally with any memorabilia or stories of their families serving in the war.

James McAteer
26 May 2003

I have been trying for some time now to contact a former friend of mine who I know is from Knottingley. We served together in 29 Commando Regiment for a few years but we have since lost touch. His name is Jim Mellor and I believe that he is related to Mellor's Beers and that he has something to do with The Steampacket Inn. If anyone has any information about Jim or his whereabouts would you please e-mail me.

Nick Jones
3 May 2003

I just want to congratulate you on a wonderful site and hope you are able to get sponsorship again. It has been terrific to be able to read about Knottingley and see the photographs that have been added. My father Whitworth Gill grew up in Knottingley and back in 1980 I was fortunate enough to be able to visit and catch up with family. I have since become heavily involved with out local Historical Society of which I am the Secretary. I am also researching my family history. I was wondering if you were able to give me the address of the local Family history society or someone who does family research in the Knottingley and Pontefract area. If anyone over there is researching Australian or Victorian Family history I am only to happy to do any research. Congratulations again and thank you

Elizabeth Murfitt (nee Gill)
Secretary Heathcote McIvor Historical Society
Heathcote Victoria Australia.
25 March 2003

I was interested to read about the Tollhouse which still exists.  My great grandfather, Joseph Waddington, was the tollkeeper in Ferrybridge in the mid 19th century and lived at the tollhouse for many years with his wife Phoebe and five children.  Their youngest child Thomas, born in 1857, was my grandfather. I am anxious to learn more about their life and I would be grateful for any information anyone can give me that would point me in the right direction.

David Waddington
27 April 2003

I lived in Knottingley from birth in 1956 until I left when I married in 1977. Does anyone remember a dry cleaning shop on Hill Top? I am not sure but I do remember a lot of brown wrapping paper and a pair of scales. I think I may have gone to school with the daughter of the owner. I attended the Church School in Ropewalk, then Simpsons Lane Junior School before moving onto the High School in 1968/69.

Brian King
31 January 2003

I have found this site of great interest. I was an employee of John Harker Tankers Ltd. for 21 years and worked on many of the tanker barges listed.  Just reading through the names has brought back many happy memories.

Roy Hewson
21 January 2003

Hi! I would like to say that I have only just gone on the NET, when I was told to visit your site as it may be of some interest to me being a Knottingley lad born and bred.  I did and not only did I find it very interesting but I also got in touch with Mike Edwards as when we were small I actually lived next door to him in Harker Street and we are now in contact with each other.  I still keep looking to see if there is anyone else's name I may recognise. Keep up the good work because its great to get back in touch with people you grew up with and reminisce about the old days.

C. Dunning
12 January 2003

I am a collector of Bagley's Glass specifically from the 1930's art deco period. Does anyone know of any catalogues showing Bagley's wares from this time?

Mark Rodda
9 January 2003

I thought I would just drop a line to let you know how appreciated your site is. I attended Simpson's Lane Junior and Middle School's before attending Knottingley High, leaving to join the army in 1980.  I have not been back to Knottingley since then, but now I have finished travelling, my mind wanders back to a great childhood and my super friends.

Malcolm Campbell (Malla)
4 January 2003

Site constructed and maintained by Michael Norfolk
This website is Copyright © 2000-2009 [Knottingley and Ferrybridge Online] All Rights Reserved
Any correspondence regarding this website should be addressed to Michael Norfolk, 21 Bassett Close, Selby, YO8 9XG, ENGLAND.