Ossett - the history of a Yorkshire town



War Memorial

Acknowledgements

I would like to acknowledge the following sources of local information, which I have used extensively as a source of reference and without which this web site would not have been possible.

"Glimpses of Ossett's History" by John Pollard
This 50-page softback book was printed privately in 1983 under the auspices of the Ossett Historical Society and contains much carefully researched information about Ossett, which I have partially reproduced on this web site. Most chapters have been amended with significant additional material from other sources.

"Borough of Ossett - Official Guide: 1890-1974" printed in 1974 when Ossett lost its Borough status and became part of Wakefield Metropolitan District.

"The Town and Trade of Ossett" a handbook published in 1927 by Ossett Borough Council.

"Ossett 1961 Yearbook" published by Ossett Borough Council as an annual diary.

"Wesley Street Chapel, Ossett - Diamond Jubilee 1868-1928" by Philip H. Taylor a small booklet printed by the Wesleyan Methodist movement in 1928.

"Aspects of Wakefield - Discovering Local History" edited by Kate Taylor first published in 1998 by Wharncliffe Publishing, Barnsley. ISBN: 1-871647-41-X.

"Aspects of Wakefield 2 - Discovering Local History" edited by Kate Taylor first published in 1999 by Wharncliffe Publishing, Barnsley. ISBN: 1-871647-68-1.

"Aspects of Wakefield 3 - Discovering Local History" edited by Kate Taylor first published in 2001 by Wharncliffe Publishing, Barnsley. ISBN: 1-903425-06-9.

"Wakefield District Heritage" compiled by Kate Taylor first published in 1976 by the Wakefield EAHY Committee.

"Wakefield District Heritage Vol. II " compiled by Kate Taylor first published in 1979 by the Wakefield EAHY Committee.

"Better by Far" by Alan Allsop J.P. privately published in 1979 by Miniprint, Dewsbury.

"History of Ossett (especially after 1800)" by Colin Oldroyd, privately published in 1951.

"118th Gawthorpe Maypole Feast and Procession - Souvenir Edition" produced by the Gawthorpe Maypole Committee in 1992.

"Gawthorpe Maypole Feast and Old Folks' Treat Committee - 70th Year Souvenir Programme" dated 1946.

"The Ossett Observer" held on microfiche archive at Ossett Library, Station Road is a fantastic resource for Ossett history and I have spent many hours reading through past copies of the Observer finding much previously unknown local and family history. A welcome recent innovation is the facility to print A3 or A4 copies from the microfiche machine, but be prepared to pay 80p per A3 copy and 40p per A4 copy. I understand a similar archive is held at Balne Lane library in Wakefield.

"Ossett Observer - Jubilee Supplement" printed July 4th 1914 to celebrate the first 50 years of the Ossett Observer, first published July 2nd 1864.

"Ossett Pubs" by Brian Smith, Ossett Historical Society, printed 2005. Privately published and now only available as a book on CD disk for £10 plus postage from Deborah Scriven at the Ossett Historical Society.

"Around Old Ossett" by Richard Bell published by Willow Island Editions, Middlestown, Wakefield. ISBN 1-902467-01-9 - this is a splendid little publication with some excellent sketches by the author. See Richard's web site http://www.willowisland.co.uk/ for more details and also his "Wild West Yorkshire" online nature diary, which is good reading.

"Bygone Ossett" by Norman Ellis, with some rare pictures of Ossett first published in 2003 by Rickaro Books, Horbury. ISBN: 0-9546439-0-9.

"Look Back at Ossett" by Norman Ellis, ISBN: 978-09546439-2-8 - with some more picture postcard reproductions of Ossett and some rare pictures from private collections. First published in 2007 by Rickaro Books, Horbury.

"Ossett in Old Picture Postcards" by John Goodchild, ISBN 90 288 5619 6/CIP. First published 1993 by the European Library, Zaltbommel, Netherlands.

"Wakefield - Its History and People" by J.W. Walker published first in 1934, this rare book was made available on CD by Colin Hinson at his CD Books website for £12 post paid. There is not a great deal of content specifically about Ossett, but the Manor of Wakefield, which Ossett was part, is very well covered. There are many other useful CD books on Colin's site and it is well worth a look.

"Mark Senior 1862 - 1927: Exhibition Catalogue and Biography" by Gillian Spencer, published for for an exhibition organised by Wakefield Art Gallery & Museum 16th April - 2nd July1983 and believed to be the only published work wholly devoted to the Ossett artist.

"Wakefield and the Five Towns" by Robert Preedy, first published in 2004 by the Frith Book Company Ltd. ISBN 1-85937-926-5 (Hardback) or 1-85937-840-4 (Paperback).

"Sixty Years - And More: A History of Low Laithes Golf Club" by Harry Marshall, first published 1985 and printed by Express Copy Centre (Leeds) Limited.

"Wakefield's First Railways and its Collieries 1798 to 1880" by John Goodchild, first published in 2002 by Wakefield Historical Publications. ISBN: 0-901869-44-9.

"West Yorkshire Collieries on old picture postcards" by Norman Ellis, first published in 2002 by Reflections of a Bygone Age, Keyworth, Nottingham. ISBN: 1-900138-68-9.

"West Yorkshire Coalfield" by John Goodchild, first published in 2000 by Tempus Publishing Ltd, Stroud, Gloucestershire. ISBN: 0-7524-1745-2.

"The Illustrated History of Leeds" by Steven Burt and Kevin Grady published by Breedon Books 2002 with some useful details of Bean Ing Mills in Leeds and Leeds in Victorian times. ISBN 1-85983-316 -0.

The Museum Library at the National Coal Mining Museum, Caphouse Colliery, New Road, Overton, WF4 4RH for much of the information concerning coal mining in Ossett and Gawthorpe.

Lees Hall, Thornhill: A Medieval timber-framed building in the West Riding of Yorkshire by T.G. Manby - The Yorkshire Archaeology Journal, Volume 43 (1971), Pages 112-127.

"Old Ordnance Survey Maps: Ossett 1890", Alan Godfrey Maps, ISBN 0-85054-237-5.

"Old Ordnance Survey Maps: Ossett (SW) & Combs 1905", Alan Godfrey, ISBN 978-1-84784-216-9

"Index of Burials 1746-1837 Independent Congregational Church, Ossett" produced by the Wakefield and District Family History Society.

"Births and Baptisms 1746-1837 Independent Congregational Church, Ossett" produced by the Wakefield and District Family History Society.

"Ossett - Wesley Street, Wesleyan Chapel, Baptisms: 1795-1845" transcribed by Brian Jones, produced by the Wakefield and District Family History Society.

"Ossett Chapels (Church St., Dale St., Queen St., & South Parade Trinity) Marriages: 1899-1930" produced by the Wakefield & District Family History Society.

"Ossett Old Church (Holy Trinity) Baptisms Volume 1: 1792-1813" produced by the Wakefield & District Family History Society.

"Ossett Old Church (Holy Trinity) Baptisms Volume 2: 1813-1831" produced by the Wakefield & District Family History Society.

"Ossett Old Church (Holy Trinity) Baptisms Volume 3: 1831-1855" produced by the Wakefield & District Family History Society.

"Ossett Old Church (Holy Trinity) Burials Volume 1: 1861-1870" produced by the Wakefield & District Family History Society.

"Ossett Holy Trinity Parish Church: Burials 1870-1891" produced by the Wakefield & District Family History Society.

"Ossett Holy Trinity Parish Church: Burials 1891-1914 (A-K)" produced by the Wakefield & District Family History Society.

"Ossett Holy Trinity Parish Church: Burials 1891-1914 (L-Z)" produced by the Wakefield & District Family History Society.

"Ossett Holy Trinity Parish Church: Marriages 1859-1884" produced by the Wakefield & District Family History Society.

"Ossett Holy Trinity Parish Church: Marriages 1885-1893" produced by the Wakefield & District Family History Society.

"Ossett Holy Trinity Parish Church: Marriages 1893-1898" produced by the Wakefield & District Family History Society.

"Ossett Holy Trinity Parish Church: Marriages 1899-1906" produced by the Wakefield & District Family History Society.

"An English Businessman in Sicily, 1806-1861" by Irene D. Neu - The Business History Review Vol. 31, No. 4 (Winter 1957), pp. 355-374. An account of Ossett-born businessman Benjamin Ingham's business activities in Sicily and the USA during the early 19th century.

"Princes under the Volcano" by Raleigh Trevelyn, first published in 1972 by the Phoenix Press and re-printed in 2002 in paperback. To quote from the back cover of the book: "Benjamin Ingham, possibly the greatest tycoon England has ever known, was attracted to Sicily from his humble beginnings in Yorkshire by the burgeoning trade in marsala wine. This is the story of the English Croesus, who made the money, and his beneficiaries, the Whitaker family, who spent it - intertwined with two hundred years of Sicilian history." Benjamin Ingham came from Ossett and members of the Whitakers also lived in the town. ISBN: 1-84212-435-8.

"Benjamin Ingham e L'America (1837-1840) " by Federico Rigamonti, a PDF document written in Italian and an account of the business activities of Ben Ingham Jr., on behalf of his uncle Benjamin Ingham of Palermo in America between 1837 and 1840.

"Ingham of Ossett" by E. Stables, a family tree dated 1912 showing the descent of the Inghams of Blake Hall, Thornhill from William Ingham of Ossett circa 1670.

"Richards Families in Wexford and other family records" by Christopher Richards, Web page with detailed family history of the Inghams, Whitakers and associated families, including Wills and other details.

"Concise History of the Parish and Vicarage of Halifax" by John Crabtree, first published 1836.

"History of the Wheelwright Grammar Schools" by Walter Pickles first published 1973.

"Ossett Town Hall: 1908-2008" by Ruth Nettleton, first published in 2008 for the Ossett Historical Society.

"Medieval and Post Medieval Landscape of Ossett Township" by Richard Glover, first published in 2008 by Rickaro Books, ISBN 978-09546439-2-8

"Notes referring to Terry, Greaves and Co. at Roundwood Colliery and other Ossett collieries" by John Goodchild - document provided by Michael Greaves, March 2009.

"The Tramways of Dewsbury and Wakefield" by W. Pickles, first published in 1980 by the Light Rail Transit Association, 13A The Precint, Broxbourne, Herts, EN10 7HY. ISBN 0-900433-73-6

I would also like to thank the following individuals for their contributions, kindness and help over the years in compiling this history: John Brook (Canberra, Australia), Anne Billeter (Medford, Oregon), John Wilson (Horbury), Ruth Nettleton (for her vast knowledge of all things about Ossett), David & Deborah Scriven (for their historic articles about Ossett), Anthony Smith (Melbourne, Australia), the excellent and ever helpful librarians at Ossett Library, Andrew Wilson Clay (Eli Marsden Wilson information), Steve Tiplady (Ossett School), Neville Ashby (Ossett pictures, documents and advice), Neil Westwood (Westwood Colliery information) , Alan Howe (Ossett Houses, Wakefield Archives and much more help), Simon Howard, Richard Glover (Medieval Ossett), Michael Greaves (Roundwood Colliery information), Cyril Pearce (conscientious objector information), Anthony Oldroyd (for his collection of Ossett pictures), Margaret Wilby and Douglas Brammer (Flushdyke sketches), Shelagh and Cara Bower (Spencer family history), Nicholas Lunn (Megson family history), Federico Rigamonti, Sicily for correspondence about Benjamin Ingham of Sicily and finally, David Clay for access to his family picture archive with many previously unpublished Ossett pictures.

This web site is very much work in progress and there is still a great deal to add as time permits. I was born and brought up in Ossett and lived there the first twenty-one years of my life and the town will always have a special place in my heart.



The preface to "Glimpses of Ossett's History" by John Pollard has the following information:

"In writing Glimpses of Ossett's History, I have tried to include the principal events, which have occurred here and also give some account of the ways of life of ordinary people. Conventional history is referred to only to the extent required to provide the setting or the explanation for Ossett's affairs, but some reference to the affairs of our neighbours has been unavoidable.

Much space is given to our early centuries, but this is not a comprehensive history. There are many gaps in the story and Glimpses of Ossett's History is a fitting title.

I have drawn on many sources of information, including a series of lectures given some years ago by Mr. Colin Oldroyd, which I remember with pleasure. Other sources have been the Journal of the Yorkshire Archeological Society and the pages of the Ossett Observer, which latter for over one hundred years gave a wide and faithful coverage of local news. Information about mining has come from Mr. R.W.G. Lucas, ARICS, and Mr. Clifford Ellis has allowed me access to his documents.

I also offer thanks to Mr. Albert Spencer, Mr. David Scriven and Mr Claud Ford of the Ossett Historical Society, who have arranged publication and who have contributed their special skills.

To all who have assisted in whatever way, I offer my sincere thanks."

JOHN POLLARD

January 1983