The ‘Wrenthorpe-ification’ of Potovens

Here’s a strange filler piece from the Yorkshire Evening Post a few weeks before the outbreak of World War II.

Yorkshire Evening Post
Friday 30 June 1939

DIARY OF A YORKSHIREMAN
HOUSE OF MANY ADDRESSES

Several years ago two brothers at Wakefield Grammar School used to delight in puzzling their masters by giving their address differently. One put Sunny Hill, Silcoates; the other, City View, Wrenthorpe. Letters addressed in either fashion would arrive in equal safety and expectation.

The house had no number. Sunny Hill was part of an interminable road called Potovens Lane. Wrenthorpe was the village that sprawled at the bottom of the hill, and Silcoates was the general name for the district. City View was a fancy name the builder had put on the block of houses at the top of the hill. On a clear day they commanded a clear view of Wakefield Town Hall and Cathedral, two miles distant.

Two or three years ago the district was absorbed into the Stanley area, and the correct address became Sunny Hill, Kirkhamgate.

Then the Stanley Urban District Council was petitioned to alter the name of this part of Potovens Lane, and it became Wrenthorpe Lane. Now, at long last, the houses have been numbered, and the correct address of the old house is 74 Wrenthorpe Lane.

The changes had come about when Kirkhamgate, Silcoates and Jerry Clay Lane were transferred from Wakefield Rural District Council to Stanley Urban District in 1935. The ‘Potovens’ street names were changed a couple of years later. But the Evening Post still manages to get things mixed up. Wrenthorpe Lane was formerly called Potovens Road (not Lane). Wrenthorpe Road was called Potovens Lane. The brothers in question were Calverts. Either the house has since been renumbered or it’s another error, as City View is number 66-68 Wrenthorpe Lane.

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.