Ossett Pictures - The Flying Horse

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The Flying Horse in 1957

This picture from 1957 shows some of the patrons of the Flying Horse Hotel on Dewsbury Road in Ossett. The man on the extreme left holding the reins of the horse is thought to be landlord Harold Robinson. Douglas Brammer has kindly identified most of the people on the picture as follows:

Standing at front from the left: Harold Robinson, landlord of the Flying Horse; Alan Spurr, landlord of the Hammer & Stithy; Dick Squires, a.k.a. "Dick the Stick" because he always carried a smart walking stick. Inside the coach and on the right, above the hand on the door is Norman Proctor. Standing at the rear of the coach, from left; unknown (with hand on coach door); Stan Walters; Phillip Dearnley, Johnnie Barras (with flat cap) and A.N. Other unknown with trilby hat.

The Flying Horse has recently closed down and it seems likely that the historic public house will be demolished. A land developer has bought the pub and is now attempting to buy the land on which the adajacent bowling green is located with a view to building new housing. In 1883, the Flying Horse was sold privately for £2,685 and in 1894 it was sold at auction for £2,880 to the Springwell Brewery, Heckmondwike. By 1949, the pub had been bought by Hammonds Brewery, Bradford and then in 1959 by Charringtons Brewery.

The public house dates back to at least 1828 when the first licence was granted under the Licensing Act. In 183o, the first recorded landlord was James Auty and he was there until 1844. In the 19th century, the Flying Horse or Old Flying Horse was a coaching inn and was patronised largely by the drivers of pack horses on the old Halifax to Wakefield turnpike road, which dates back to 1741 (now the A638). It is thought that the name "Flying Horse" derives from the old coaching connections.

A turnpike was a road or highway which was controlled by turnpike trust and maintained by tolls exacted from those who used the roads. The Turnpike Acts established the trusts and provided for the construction of better roads and highways, and the system of collecting tolls brought about some improvement. In the 1860s, Parliament decided that roads should be paid for out of council rates, initiating the system we have today. Turnpike trusts began to wind up and they had almost all gone by the 1890s

The name turnpike is derived from the revolving frame bearing spikes which served as a barrier at some early toll-gates. The roads had to be wide enough for two carts to pass and to allow room for their whips, or for sixteen soldiers to march side-by-side.