The wrong side of the beck

A small piece in the Leeds Mercury about a fire at Calvert Brothers rope factory in Jerry Clay Lane in the autumn of 1901, all but predicts a local disaster. And, had the burning building been the other side of the Foster Ford Beck, it would have been within the Stanley Urban District, not Wakefield Rural and had a much better chance of being saved.

Leeds Mercury
Saturday 16 November 1901

WAKEFIELD RURAL COUNCIL & FIRES
AWKWARD PREDICAMENT AT POTOVENS

Early yesterday morning a large shed at Potovens, near Wakefield, belonging Messrs Calvert Bros, rope and twine manufacturers, was found to be on fire.

A message was at once despatched for the Wakefield City Fire Brigade, but it could not turn out owing to the Corporation having declined to enter into arrangements with the Rural Council to serve the district in case of fire.

The result was that the fire was allowed to burn itself out, and damage to the extent of £800 was done, including the destruction of about £500 of stock.

Two-and-a-half years later, Wakefield Rural District Council still hadn’t sorted out adequate fire fighting provision when Silcoates School burnt down in April 1904.