Nostalgia with Margaret Watson: Fantastic pictures of Wakefield Road from 1960s stir many memories

These two pictures I am sure will gladden the heart as well as the eye of anyone who lived in Dewsbury when they were being taken some time in the early 1960s.

Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 10:28 am
This is how the bottom end of Wakefield Road used to look before road widening in 1960/1. The photograph was probably taken from a window in Dewsbury Town Hall just below.. In the foreground on the bottom right (where the Beverley sign can be seen) is the Forrester's Arms public house, and just behind are the storage buildings of the old Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. In the background can be seen the spire of St Peter's Church, Earlsheaton, now demolished. The photographs are part of a collection taken by the old Dewsbury Borough Engineer's Department.

Pictures like these tell us so much of what was happening in the days when the old Dewsbury County Borough was running its own affairs. Local authorities didn’t hesitate to use the bulldozers to demolish anything that got in the way of what they called progress.

Thousands of houses and many shops, pubs and churches, throughout the borough were pulled down to make way for new housing estates and road-widening schemes.

These two pictures were taken in Wakefield Road sometime in the 1960s – the top picture probably taken from a window in Dewsbury Town Hall and the second was taken a bit further up the cutting.

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Further up Wakefield Road, on the left-hand side can be seen the Globe Inn, another Dewsbury pub lost to Dewsbury in road widening schemes. Just in front is a black police van, and further up was a grocer's shop, also demolished.

In the top picture you can see the sign Beverley on the building on the right which was the Forrester’s Arms public house. I should imagine there wasn’t much drinking after hours in this particular pub because it was only a few hundred yards from the old police station, which in those days was situated in the town hall.

A lot of people attending town hall dances would also pop in there for a drink, as would some of the stars appearing at the Empire Theatre just down the road.

Stuart Hartley, a member of Dewsbury Matters, told me he went to Wheelwright Grammar School with the landlord’s son, Barry Aukland. Barry’s father, in addition to being landlord was also a postman, and he hadn’t far to go to pick up his deliveries because the old General Post Office was just across the road.

Just behind the Forrester’s you can see the old Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway’s storage buildings, and in the far distance is St Peter’s Church, Earlsheaton, which was sadly demolished some years later due to 

Although the building disappeared, its loyal flock did not, and they were able to find a new home just across the road, and thankfully they still flourish.

Readers looking at this picture will find lots to talk about and lots to remember, especially the kind of cars they once drove. Is that a Rover or an Alvis you may ask? And the other two are certainly a Riley 1500 and a Morris Minor? And who is the lady on the left stepping out with her little girl?

I am always mentioning in my articles that there was a pub on every street corner, and these pictures prove my point. There were two pubs in Wakefield Road just across the road from each other.

You can see on the left of picture number two, taken further up the cutting, the Globe Inn, and you will spot just in front of it, a black police van belonging to the old Dewsbury Borough Police Force.

I wonder if it could be the much feared Black Maria, (or was it spelled Mariah?), which regularly patrolled the streets at night picking up would-be trouble-makers.

No doubt I will get a lot of calls from people saying that the Forresters Arms and the Globe Inn were not in Dewsbury but in Batley Carr. They would, of course, be right because there were two pubs of that name in Batley Carr.

The Batley Carr Forrester’s Arms was in Upper Road, and closed in 1972, and the other Globe Inn was in Milton Street, and closed in the late 1960s or early 70s.

n Apologies to the readers from Mirfield for stating in last week’s paper that the photographs shown on this page were of old Mirfield when in fact they were of old Dewsbury.