Fracas at Kirkhamgate pub

Leeds Times
Saturday 21 May 1881

TURNING A LANDLORD OUT OF HIS OWN HOUSE AND TAKING POSSESSION

Yesterday, at the Wakefield Court House, nine Lofthouse colliers were charged with damaging the property of William Smith, landlord of the Gardeners’ Arms [Lindale Lane], Kirkhamgate. It appeared from the statement of Mr Lodge and the evidence of the witnesses, that on Saturday, the 7th instant, a pigeon match took place near complainant’s house, between two men named Pickersgill and Steele. Some dispute occurred, and afterwards a crowd of men came into Smith’s house. After they had been there some time, a disturbance took place, Littlewood, it was alleged, being the ringleader, and almost immediately afterwards glasses and pots were thrown about the place The landlord tried to quell the disturbance, on which two men took hold of him by the shoulder and actually pushed him out of his own house by the back door. They ran him up the garden, and his wife went for the police, on which the mob took possession of the premises. While the landlord was in the garden stones were thrown at him, and when he got back, after the crowed had gone away, he found the place in utter confusion, and eighteen glasses and ten pint pots were broken. Three or four holes were cut in the back door and the furniture was more or less broken. Mr Lodge added that when he was first consulted it was a question whether the prisoners ought not to be indicted for a riot, but it was decided to go on with the case of wilful damage – the complainant estimating the damage at the sum of 21s. 6d. – Two of the accused were discharged, and the others fined 5s. and costs.

The Gate or the Star: which pub gets the push?

Leeds Mercury
Tuesday 3 March 1925

PUBLIC HOUSES TO GO

At the adjourned licensing sessions for the Lower Agbrigg Division at Wakefield yesterday the magistrates referred to the Compensation Authority the licences the Moulders’ Arms, Middlestown and the Prospect Inn, Altofts (beer houses), on the ground of redundancy.

The licences of the Gate Inn and Star Inn, Kirkhamgate, were both renewed for one year on the definite understanding that one of these licences must eventually go.

Leeds Mercury
Saturday 4 June 1927

LICENCES REFERRED

The following licence was referred for compensation without opposition Gate Inn, Kirkhamgate, Ardsley; licensee, W Hornshaw; owners, John Smith and Co.

Manslaughter charge for lighting candle in local coal pit

Yorkshire Gazette
Tuesday 30 August 1836

FATAL EXPLOSION OF FIRE DAMP AT A COLLIERY NEAR WAKEFIELD

On Saturday last an explosion of inflammable air took place in Bull Pit, at Kirkhamgate, about two miles to the west of Wakefield, which occasioned a serious loss of life and other damage. Although the accident was serious enough, in point of fact, the accounts, as they reached Wakefield were much exaggerated, and excited intense interest. It was recently reported that ten men had been killed, and twice as many scorched, many of whom were not expected to recover. On inquiry, it was found that, at the moment the explosion took place, there were about twenty men and boys in the pit, three of whom were killed, and the remainder, with the exception of two, more or less scorched. Up to Monday night no other death had occurred, but several of the unfortunate creatures were reported to be in a very precarious state.

John Pickford, aged 17, William Brooke, aged 10, and William Broadhead, aged 9, were the persons who lost their lives. Amongst the other sufferers the following were seriously hurt – David Broadhead, Thomas Brooke, George Lumb, Charles Hartley, David Hartley, Thomas Becher, Benjamin Scott, James Bedford, George Broadhead, and Edward Throit.

The Bull Pit belongs to Messrs Smithson and Co. On Sunday, Thomas Lee, jun. Esq, empanelled a jury, in order to inquire into the cause of the death of John Pickford. The jury came, to the conclusion that the poor fellow lost his life in consequence of the incautious use of a candle at one of the “banks” by a pitman. On Monday evening at six o’clock, a second inquest was held the house of Mr Percival Brooke, innkeeper, of Kirkhamgate, before Mr Lee and a very respectable and attentive jury, on view of the bodies of the two boys, when additional evidence was adduced, and the inquiry was adjourned till Thursday, at Potovens, when after a protracted and minute investigation and the examination of Mr Walsh[?] surgeon, and particularly Benjamin Scott, a lad who was working at the same time in the same place with Benjamin [sic] Bedford, the man who took the candle which caused the explosion and after hearing Bedford’s voluntary statement, the Jury returned a verdict of “Manslaughter against James Bedford”. Two of the sufferers are expected not to recover.

James Bedford was found not guilty at the York Spring Assizes in March of the following year.

Striking miners opencast coal protest

In the early 1990s as many deep coal mines were being closed, opencast coal workings at Kirkhamgate and off Jerry Clay Lane whipped up controversy. Something similar was happening in the 1920s, just a month after the General Strike when the coal miners hadn’t gone back to work.

Opencast sites in the area were being used to produce coal during the national miners’ strike. Local unemployed men were coerced into working at these sites or they forfeited their dole money. And opencast work paid a much lower rate than a typical coal miner’s wage.

Sheffield Daily Telegraph
Thursday 24 June 1926

OUTCROP SCENES
Wakefield Demonstration

Another demonstration by miners in the Wakefield district against day hole and outcrop coal workers was made yesterday at Kirkhamgate, a village three miles out of the city. Miners on strike turned up several thousand strong, and paraded past each working headed by a brass band. The day hole workers, however, were missing for the time being, and the demonstration was a peaceful affair.

After the march round, the miners gathered in the old quarry on Lindle Hill, and were addressed Mr Walter Dyson JP and Mr Tom Smith, ex-MP for Pontefract [and later MP for Normanton]. Mr Dyson, in opening the meeting, said they objected strongly to the working of day holes, not that the amount of so-called coal produced was of any great consequence, but they stood out against the principle the thing, and protested also against the Government affording the men police protection. The Labour Exchanges were sending men to day-hole work under the classification of “navvying” and such men were practically compelled to take up the work or lose the dole.

1890s child neglect at Engine Fold

Leeds Times
Saturday 12 January 1895

THE CHILDREN OF TOTTY

At Wakefield, yesterday, Mr Wordsworth on behalf of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, made an application in respect of the custody of five children belonging to the Old Engine Fold, Kirkhamgate. It transpired that on Wednesday Inspector Smith visited the house of a man named Joseph Totty, who, it was stated, lived with a single woman named Emma Willoughby, and there found five children, who, as well as the house, were in a dreadfully filthy condition. There was very little food in the house, the mother was absent, and there was scarcely any fire. The three boys had nothing on but shirts and trousers, and the baby was rolling on the floor naked. Their clothing, as well as two beds upstairs, was very filthy. The Bench ordered the children to remain in the workhouse until Monday when the case has to be dealt with.

Leeds Times
Saturday 19 January 1895

CHILDREN OF SHAME
SHOCKING NEGLECT AT WAKEFIELD

On Monday, at Wakefield, Emma Willoughby and a man named Joseph Totty, who have lived together, were charged with neglecting their five illegitimate children.

It seemed that the house occupied by the defendants, at Alverthorpe, being visited in October last, and again last week, it was found to be in an indescribably filthy state. The children were insufficiently clad and covered with dirt, sores, and filth, and there was very little bread and coals in the house.

Each defendant was sent to prison for two months.

Lindale Hill and the Mayfair society wedding

It’s 6 November 1923, and crowds have gathered on Lindale Hill for a massive bonfire and fireworks display. No, they’re not a day late for Guy Fawkes night, it’s to celebrate the wedding of landowner George Lionel Thomas Brudenell-Bruce to Maria Julia Schilizzi. The wedding took place in Central London at a church in Mayfair. Could we imagine such oddly-placed deference today?

Leeds Mercury
Tuesday 6 November 1923

TO-DAY’S WEDDING

The Brudenell-Schilizzi wedding which takes place at St Mark’s Church, North Audley Street, London, to-day, has a special interest for Yorkshire people for Mr Brudenell is the present owner of the Cardigan Estates which include large tracts of land between Ossett, Ardsley and Morley, and Wakefield and Leeds.

He is the first Brudenell owner of the estate to be married since the late Earl Cardigan who achieved fame at Balaclava, and to mark the happy event a huge bonfire is to be lighted on Lindale Hill, Kirkhamgate, two miles out from Wakefield, the highest point on the estate. A fireworks display is also to the place and there will be similar fires on the estates in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.

The pub in the middle of nowhere

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer
Wednesday 31 May 1911

WEST RIDING LICENCES
TEN RENEWALS REFUSED

The principal meeting of the West Riding Licensing Justices was commenced at the Court House, Wakefield, yesterday to consider the advisability or otherwise of the renewal of licences to which objection has been taken on the ground of non-necessity…

There was no objection to the refusal of the renewal of the licence of the Gardeners’ Arms, Lindale Lane, Kirkhamgate, an ante-1869 beerhouse [a partially licensed pub]. Mr Cooke said there were three public houses at Kirkhamgate, which was equal to one licensed house for every 213 of the population. The two fully licenced houses were on the main road, but the Gardeners’ Arms was situated in an old by-road which at certain times of year was almost impassable. On one side of the house it was 900 yards to the nearest dwelling, and on the other side 120 yards.

Toads in the hole at Kirkhamgate

London Globe
Thursday 20 August 1903

YEARS AGO. BEING EXRACTS FROM “THE GLOBE” OF AUGUST 20TH

1807 – In July, 1805, two toads were shut up in small empty box, and the box deposited about two feet below the surface of the earth, where it was closely covered up; in July, 1806, the toads were taken up, examined, and exhibited all the appearance good health; they were then returned to their subterraneous abode, enclosed in the box as before. In July, 1807, they were again taken up and examined, and looked as healthy and well as they did when first enclosed in their dark dwelling, having lived two years apparently without either food or air. Kirkhamgate, near Wakefield, is the place where these animals are deposited.

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.

Wrenthorpe, Potovens, Alverthorpe or Kirkhamgate?

If it’s bewildering today to say exactly where Wrenthorpe starts and Kirkhamgate, Alverthorpe, Newton Hill or Outwood ends, it’s no easier for people tracing their family history and finding ancestors living in Alverthorpe-with-Thornes or Stanley-cum-Wrenthorpe.

The dividing line of those two ancient townships was the Foster Ford/Balne Beck – right in the middle of modern day Wrenthorpe. The area’s informal but widely used name ‘Potovens’ referred to the densely populated area in the village centre. Under the old boundaries, Silcoates, Jerry Clay Lane, Brandy Carr and Kirkhamgate were all part of Alverthorpe-with-Thornes.

When the Stanley Urban District Council was created in 1899 its western boundary stuck to the old township divide. During the following year Wakefield City Council incorporated much of Alverthorpe, leaving Silcoates, Jerry Clay Lane, Brandy Carr and Kirkhamgate as something of a backwater in the Wakefield Rural District Council. The area wasn’t absorbed into Stanley UDC until 1935.

Here’s a couple of confusing articles about Alverthorpe and Kirkhamgate from the WW1 era.

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer
Tuesday 13 July 1915

ALVERTHORPE PARISH COUNCIL AND ITS NAME

The announcement that the Parish Council Alverthorpe, near Wakefield have applied for the name the township to be changed to Kirkhamgate does not mean that there is a prospect of the name of the village of Alverthorpe itself being altered. In 1900 the parish of Alverthorpe had an area of 2,481 acres, and a population (according to the 1891 Census) of 4,811, and included Alverthorpe village and several small hamlets, all coming within the area of the Wakefield Rural District Council. The borough of Wakefield then sought to extend its boundaries by the inclusion of the district of the Alverthorpe Pariah Council, and terms were arranged between the two bodies.

The Local Government Board, however, only consented to the addition part of the area, comprising 573 acres and a population 3,631 and including the village Alverthorpe, the added area becoming the Alverthorpe Ward in the borough of Wakefield. At one end of the old district was left an area of 999 acres, with a population of 164 and this became Lupset. At the other end the Alverthorpe Parish Council were left with an area of 909 acres and a population of 1,116 made up of the hamlets of Kirkhamgate, Brandy Carr, Silcoates and Beck Bottom, the first named being the largest. Officially, this small area continued to be known as that of the Alverthorpe Parish Council. As already pointed out, Alverthorpe itself is now part of Wakefield, and it is with the object of getting rid of the confusion of names that the Parish Council have decided to rename themselves the Kirkhamgate Parish Council. Though rather long delayed, the action is considered locally to be a logical outcome of the absorption of Alverthorpe into the Wakefield borough boundary, and it is not thought likely that there will any opposition to the proposal when the Subcommittee of the West Riding County Council inquires into the matter.

Leeds Mercury
Tuesday 27 July 1915

ALVERTHORPE NO LONGER
CHANGE OF NAME DESIRED TO KIRKHAMGATE

Alderman P H Booth and Councillor W Ormerod, representing the County Council, held am inquiry at Kirkhamgate, yesterday, relative to the application of the Alverthorpe Parish Council to change the name to Kirkhamgate Parish Council.

Mr W J Skinner, clerk to the Parish Council, pointed out that in 1900 the Alverthorpe township became part of Wakefield, but the name of Alverthorpe Parish Council remained. The part which was not in the jurisdiction of Wakefield was Brandy Carr, Silcoates, and Beck Bottom. The change of name would be a great advantage, particularly with regard to postal arrangements.

At present when letters were addressed Kirkhamgate, Alverthorpe, they were sent out with the Alverthorpe letters, and were returned to Wakefield to be re-directed Kirkhamgate with the result that sometimes there was a delay of twenty-four hours.

There was no opposition.