From boom to gloom

I WAS looking at an old map of Featherstone from 1850 and even then as a small village it had two pits.

Purston Colliery and brickyard behing the Travellers’ Rest extended through to where Bingley’s fish shop was later built, now Park View Fisheries.

Manor Colliery and steam mill occupied the fire station site. Featherstone Common brickyard is now the Lions rugby ground.

Purston windmill sat above Briggs Row, Common Lane became Priory Road and Chapel Lane Coach Road. Where was the chapel?

The New Inn was opposite what’s now the Junction Hotel.

There were almost as many farms as dwellings, mainly in Purston.

From the bottom of Featherstone Lane, now Station Lane, to past Cressey’s Corner there was only Featherstone Cottage (Whiteley Street?), Moor Farm and The Heywood Arms public house where the railway station is.

There were numerous sandstone quarries and it’s thought the pattern of the stone gave the town its name.

Towards the end of the century when building started for the ‘coal rush’ Station Lane must have been like Briggate with steam wagons, horse and carts to-ing and fro-ing and houses springing up almost overnight.

From a sleepy hamlet rose a vibrant mining town.

The pits have long gone, so the boom town which once boasted its own swimming baths and much-envied park has fallen by the wayside.

Now it’s gloom town.

L YOUNG

Pontefract Road

Purston