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Old Pool Bank

pool in wharfedale 1986
Old Pool Bank 1986

The earliest record of anyone living on Pool Bank is shown in the discovery in 2000 of a Neolithic (Stone age) flint which is now in Otley Museum. The fact that Old Pool Bank road leading to Old Bramhope is straight suggests this may have been a route made in Roman times when the route passed near to York Gate, Otley. Also a Roman gold coin of Valentinian 1 dating to 364-375AD was found in the garden of a house at the top Old Pool Bank tends to confirm this.

It was the extraction of stone which brought about Old Pool Bank as a village, originally named Pool Bank. Records suggest stone was being extracted since the mid 1600’s. In 1846 James Bray was building Arthington Viaduct extracting stone from the upper quarry. The quarry to the south of the A660 road began further development after the sale of land by Aysgouth Fawkes on 30th Aug. 1872, which stated “This lot contains moreover, important Beds of Free stone”. Before the sale of this land the area was owned by Henry Fawcett, Miss Dawson, Nicholson’s trustees (Pool paper Mill from 1809) and Aysgouth Fawkes (Farnley Hall). A combination of the quarries became known as Pool Bank Quarries. What would appear to be the older quarry off Old Pool Bank road was in operation in 1774 as the Award map shows but was recorded as being “unoccupied” on the Tithe map of 1849.

Old Pool Bank began to expand due to the need to house quarry workers. Records show that William Law and his son worked part of the quarry alongside Benjamin Whitaker & Son Ltd., until at least 1882. In the 1880’s Whitakers built several rows of quarry workers cottages; Bar House Row was built in 1897 with stone taken from the bottom part of the old quarry known as Fairy Dell. Far Row c.1876; Cragg View; Sandy Lobby & Quarry Road c.1880. The quarry closed in 1915 opening again in 1923.A brick kiln was in operation within the quarry (see “Pool Bank Quarries”)

The 1911 census shows there was a cobblers shop which, memories recall, was primarily making clogs for quarry workers. This was owned by Mr. Grange

Leeds Mercury Nov7 1884 Accident to a Quarryman- A quarryman named John Hawkridge (49) of Bar House Pool Bank, near Leeds, is an inmate of the Leeds Infirmary. He was admitted yesterday suffering from a severe scalp wound and a fracture of the left arm, both of which injuries he sustained whilst working in a quarry for Mr. Samuel Whittaker of Horsforth. A number of heavy detached pieces of quarry stone resting lightly on the soil on the brink of the quarry rolled down upon him whilst he was stooping, the pieces having apparently become dislodged by the rain.

Pool Bank Chain Bar, a toll house, was built in 1847 after the building of the Leeds – Otley Trust road (A660) in 1841.
After the dissolution of this Trust in 1873 the toll bar was closed and was sold by the Trust for £50. (see “Toll Bars”) This was then converted into a Post Office and general store and is now a private residence.
Originally a chain stretched across the road. Quarry Farm and three cottages at the end of Park Mount are the only properties shown on the Tythe map of 1849.

After a sale of land in 1926 it was purchased by Emily Bolton for £1,715 after which houses began to be built. Park Mount and Park Terrace were built in 1931-2, some provided free of rent to the brick kiln workers. Groves Terrace, which is on Cabin Road, was originally wooden bungalows, and the Groves Terrace we see now was built in 1935 by Mr. Groves who in 1921 lived at the now demolished, Glen Royd, on the Leeds Road. (see “Houses pre 1850”)

Old Pool Bank map c. 1936

This later map shows plans were made for further houses to be built. This remains a field today.

Prior to the building of a new “village hall”, opened in 1952, there was an old stone cabin which had been used for the quarrymen’s meals. It was situated near Far Row cottages on Cabin Road. As the cabin was no longer required by the quarry, around 1888 Whitaker’s agreed it be used mainly as a Wesleyan Methodist Church also for other events, such as public meetings, polling station, Residents Association meetings, etc. This eventually proved inadequate, i.e. a children’s sports day had to be held in the grounds of Hilton Grange Orphanage. ( In 1912 known as Stephenson Home for boys) . Whist drives and dances were held at the Craven Institute, Bramhope, and WW2 gas masks had to be taken to Pool for replacement or repair.

On the 5th March 1943 the Old Pool Bank Residents Association decided there was a need for a Village Hall and not until 19th Feb. 1946, at a meeting held in Pool village, was it agreed there was a need for a village hall in Pool, with a smaller hall at Old Pool Bank built, both as War Memorials. After various alternatives were explored and rejected, including a recently advertised War Office sale of a disused Nissen hut which had been used for the Home Guard and which stood outside the White Hart. On the 12th Sept. 1946 land was eventually found on Quarry Farm Road. Holmes Whiteley “made a generous offer to pay for the land” which was £250 plus costs required by the owner Squadron Leader Boddington. Holmes Whiteley only charged the Old Pool Bank Hall 10/-d.

The money used for building was raised by the residents by means of whist drives, jumble sales, bring and buy sales, etc., mostly held in their own homes. The residents also did most of the digging and building work by voluntary labour only paying for certain skilled work.

As some stone from Pool Quarries had been used for the building of the Houses of Parliament, a stone was placed over the doorway as a memorial to the Fallen. This was obtained from the bombed part of the Houses of Parliament by Colonel Malcolm Stoddart-Scott of Creskeld Hall. It would therefore appear that the correct name for the hall should be Old Pool Bank Village Memorial Hall.

1952 Old Pool Bank Memorial Hall under construction.

In a newspaper cutting in 1953 to celebrate Coronation Day there was a contest for the best decorated home in Pool area which was won by Mr. & Mrs. Westlake of Quarry Farm.

Official opening. The hall was officially opened on 17th May,1952 by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal

Ben Hartley headmaster of Pool school lived at O.P.B. and was a member of the Residents Association at this time. The first Residents Association meeting was held in the new Hall in June 1952.

The “Cabin” was apparently dismantled by the Whiteleys for its stone c1952

Prior to its building the “village hall” was an old stone cabin which had been used for the quarrymen’s meals. It was situated near Far Row cottages on Cabin Road demolished c. 1952. When the cabin was no longer required by the quarry it began to be used mainly as a Wesleyan Methodist Church also for other events, such as public meetings, polling station, Residents Association meetings, etc. This was inadequate, i.e. a children’s sports day had to be held in the grounds of Hilton Grange Orphanage. In 1912 known as Stephenson Home for boys.- (Arthington Show minutes for 1912 .) Whist drives and dances were held at the Craven Institute, Bramhope, and WW2 gas masks had to be taken to Pool for replacement or repair.

On the 5th March 1943 the Old Pool Bank Residents Association decided there was a need for a Village Hall and not until 19th Feb. 1946, at a meeting held in Pool village, was it agreed there was a need for a village hall in Pool, with a smaller hall at Old Pool Bank built as War Memorials. After various alternatives were explored and rejected, including a recently advertised War Office sale of a disused Nissen hut which had been used for the Home Guard and which stood outside the White Hart,. On the 12th Sept. 1946 land was eventually found on Quarry Farm Road. Holmes Whiteley “made a generous offer to pay for the land” which was £250 plus costs required by the owner Squadron Leader Boddington. Holmes Whiteley only charged the Old Pool Bank Hall 10/-d.

The money used for building was raised by the residents by means of whist drives, jumble sales, bring and buy sales, etc., mostly held in their own homes. The residents also did most of the digging and building work by voluntary labour only paying for certain skilled work. As some stone from Pool Quarries had been used for the building of the Houses of Parliament a stone was placed over the doorway as a memorial to the Fallen. This was obtained from the bombed part of the Houses of Parliament by Colonel Stoddart-Scott of Creskeld Hall. It would seem that perhaps the correct name for the hall should be Old Pool Bank Village Memorial Hall.

Ben Hartley headmaster of Pool school lived at O.P.B. and was a member of the Residents Association at this time. The “Cabin” was apparently dismantled for its stone c. 1952 by the Whiteleys

Memories by Bernard Bolton, born in Old Pool Bank c. 1928 d. 2014

Bernard was born in a wooden house next to Quarry Farm. His father kept a poultry farm there, the house was called “Clovelly”. A member of his family Emily Bolton, wife of Joseph, purchased land there in 1926 for £1,715.00. They built several houses on this land which they rented out. It was decided to burn down their home, “Clovelly” in 1941-2. Hilton Grange Orphanage was Bernard’s school. It had a few additional places in the school for local pupils.

He can remember Jim Smith’s (milkman) grandfather bringing his horse and cart on to the Chevin and cutting bracken to make bedding for his cows.

Getting provisions for the week was not easy. The post office and general grocery shop in the Old Bar House was the only shop on Old Pool Bank.

The butcher was Arthur Lyon who lived at No. 2 Bar Row, but his shop was on Station Road, Otley. He would bring the meat in a wicker basket from Otley on the Ledgards bus for the locals to collect from his house.

Every week Mainprize, the Otley chemist, would visit all the houses selling toilet requisites from a suitcase.

“Moss’s for Good Food 1854-1953, Groceries, Confectionery, Provisions, Fresh Fruit and Vegetables.” (advert of 1953). Their salesman would call during the week for the provisions order which would be delivered by van on Saturday. There was a man from Yeadon with a handcart, later he progressed to a horse and wagon, who brought round pots and pans and paraffin. Bernard’s house was lit by paraffin lamps.

There was an old lady who lived in an old stone house at the end of Park Mount. Her nickname was “Goosey Williams” or “Old Mother Duck”. She was really Miss Sarah Jane Williams who had purchased 3 cottages and land in 1926. The locals called her house “Goody Two Shoes”. She kept geese and hens. Each week she would walk to Otley carrying her chicks in a basket to sell under the Buttercross in Otley market. “It was always difficult to walk past her house as the geese would chase you” (Mrs. Singleton). You would hear her calling her birds, she would wring their necks and hang then outside on the cottage wall to sell later. During 1948 a complaint was made to the police as her geese were considered to be causing a nuisance! ( OPB Minutes)

Doreen Singleton(nee Batty) Memories who lived at Old Pool Bank in the 1930’s..

Around 1931, at the age of aged 8, Doreen spent quite a long time in hospital in Leeds. When her father came to collect her she was taken to Old Pool Bank.

Unknown to her, her father had removed his family and belongings, by horse and cart, to Park Mount, as he had heard there was a job working in a brick kiln which would enable them to live in the country and with a house provided. This was the first time Doreen had seen a cow or a hen. She sometimes used to take sandwiches and a billy can to her father at the brick works. “There were only about 5 men working in there.”

In the 1930’s a small number of children from Old Pool Bank were allowed to attend Hilton Grange Orphanage for their schooling. Mrs. Singleton was one. She remembers what she thought, even when a child, was awful. “Those poor girls, when they first came in they had all their hair chopped off in case of lice and were issued with a bonnet. The boys and girls were kept separate except when in class, even if they were brother and sister. The dining hall had long trestle tables down the centre and dinner consisted of two fish cakes and as much bread and butter, as you wanted which was cut 1” thick, Her friends from the Orphange would come to her home for tea, “a real treat for them.”

She can remember during W.W.2 Canadian troops who were at Farnley Camp training in the quarry, climbing up and absailing down the rock face. She has a photo somewhere of her father during WW1, taken at Farnley Camp.

In a newspaper cutting in 1953 to celebrate Coronation Day there was a contest for the best decorated home in the Pool area which was won by Mr. & Mrs. Westlake of Quarry Farm.

Holmes Whiteley b.1888. (son of founder of B.S.&W. Whiteley, William L.) “The building known as the Cabin has, as long as I can remember been used for religious services. For many years a layman of the name of Lockwood held the fort and I used to know members of what was known as the Otley Mission Band, who with their music and preaching, attempt to give the inhabitants of Pool Bank the Gospel Message.”

It was the stone quarry which saw many houses being built at Old Pool Bank village. In the 1930’s “39 Steps” was the home of the headmaster of Pool School, Mr. Ben Hartley. The steps ran up to his back door. When High Ridings was built by Mr. Ken Horn he agreed to the pathway being extended to Park Mount and dedicated the land for a public footpath. The Parish Council now maintain these steps.

OLD POOL BANK MINUTES of March 1944 record a request was made for facilities for the repair or exchange of gas masks on Old Bank in view of residents having to go to Pool Village. The minutes of November 1945 record a Nissan Hut, formerly used by the Home Guard adjoining the White Hart Hotel was up for disposal and was to be tendered for. 1957 the first notice for the filling of the quarry was made by Leeds Corporation.

Oct. 1955 a complaint was made re “speed of traffic up and down the Bank”

Leeds Mercury Nov7 1884 Accident to a Quarryman- A quarryman named John Hawkridge (49) of Bar House Pool Bank, near Leeds, is an inmate of the Leeds Infirmary. He was admitted yesterday suffering from a severe scalp wound and a fracture of the left arm, both of which injuries he sustained whilst working in a quarry for Mr. Samuel Whittaker of Horsforth. A number of heavy detached pieces of quarry stone resting lightly on the soil on the brink of the quarry rolled down upon him whilst he was stooping, the pieces having apparently become dislodged by the rain.

Extracts from Wharfedale Observer.

8th Feb. 1894 Pool Bank Wesleyan tea and meeting. The Wesleyans at Pool Bank held a tea and meeting on Wednesday evening last in the “cabin” which is used by them as a meeting room.” “the number present in the evening being so large as to render the place uncomfortable thus demonstrating the need of a larger place of worship. Mr. J. T. Jackson of Pool, accompanied the chair at the evening meeting and addressed given by Mr. Lockwood (Otley) J. W. Sinclair (Otley) and Mr. Stead” “ An interesting event took place during the evening, Mr. T. Lockwood, on behalf of the congregation, presenting a beautiful work box to Miss M. Harper for her services as the harmoniumist during the last four years”.

(J. T. Jackson’s Furnishing Emporium, Station Road, Otley, “Jacksons Arcade” lived in Pool Hall.)

20th April 1894 Pool Bank Wesleyan tea. On Saturday last a tea was provided in the Wesleyan Cabin on Pool Bank to a considerable number of people who sat down. A repast was heartily enjoyed which was followed by a service of song entitled “Two Golden Lillies” which was rendered in very nice style, before a large audience, from Burley in Wharfedale Wesleyan Band of Hope choir” “ Mr. S. Whitaker presided over the gathering.”

19th Oct. 1894 Pool Bank Wesleyan Methodist Society; reopening of the “Cabin”. A much needed improvement at the cabin on Pool Bank where the Wesleyan Methodists have, for a considerable time, held services have been completed. The building has been enlarged, the walls plastered and colour washed, the ceiling raised, boarded and varnished and the building now has a very comfortable and pleasing appearance, On Saturday a public tea was held and a large number partook of the excellent repast provided.

A public meeting was subsequently held, under the presiding of Mr. B. Whitaker of Horsforth”. “ He announced that the firm of Messrs. B. Whitaker and Sons, Ltd. send a donation of £10 and continued by stating that he himself

would give a further sum of £5, with certain conditions. “ We are notified that the conditions named have since been complied with.” “The total cost of the alterations amounting to £73.2.7d. leaving a small sum of £18.9.10d. owing, which is a satisfactory state of affairs.”

16th Nov. 1894“Pool Bank Writing off the “Cabin” debt by holding a tea and service of song and had not let the grass grow under their feet most of the debt was paid off the remainder was subscribed “by S. Whitaker of Horsforth who had contributed largely towards expenses of the place”.

1889 26th April “Pool Bank” “in the cabin of Messrs Whitaker and Sons, Pool Bank Quarry”.

Feb. 10th 1882A remarkable stone. No small amount of interest has been excited by an unusually large stone unearthed at the Pool Bank Quarry belonging to Mr. Wm. Law. The width of the stone is 60ft, its breadth is 44ft.

and its depth no less than 30ft, without a crack or flaw” “An enormous magnitude of this remarkable stone” “A great number of stone merchants and others in the trade have, during the past few days been to look at it and all declare that they have never before seen a stone of such gigantic proportions” “it is calculated that the stone will weigh 6,000 tons. We understand however that the stone is now being actively broken up and large blocks sent off to be used in the making of the docks at Hull.”

Memories – Hilton Grange in 1940’s – Peter John Ashman.

In 1941, shortly before my sixth birthday, I arrived at what was then a large branch of the National Children’s Home & Orphanage, at Old Bramhope. To get there I had enjoyed an exciting (for me) train journey from Kings Cross (London) to Leeds Central Station. There followed a walk (I was carried) to Cookridge Street, then a bus to the bottom of Old Pool Bank, and then the long, steep climb up to the top of the hill, where the Home was situated.

Hilton Grange (as it was named) was an (almost) self-contained village on its own, with some external buildings for members of staff. There was a homestead for the Governor and his family (Mr Hodgetts was Governor when I arrived), a working dairy farm, an administration building, a large school, a small hospital, a chapel, five large semi-detached houses (sufficient for 150 girls and boys, and staff), small market gardens with greenhouses, swimming pool, tennis courts, football pitches, hockey pitch, joinery shop, cobbler’s shop, and sports equipment store.

Originally, staffing in all the houses was by Methodist Sisters – blue uniforms were worn by full Sisters, grey uniforms for Probationary Sisters, and civilian clothing for candidates and volunteers. Over time, married couples were introduced into a few of the houses, to help the “family” feel within the large groupings.

As my eleventh birthday approached, I sat for and passed the “11 plus”, so gaining entry to Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley – joining a very small band of NCH&O pupils. Unfortunately, due to the whole organisation being totally dependent upon voluntary contributions, there was a good deal of passing-on of school blazers, grey flannels, and caps, so these were often a bit threadbare, or patched with leather on cuffs and elbows!

Being a Grammar School pupil got one out of the Home during the week, and we all soon learned to be independent travellers – long walk down the hill (in all weathers), wait for the West Yorkshire (or ‘Sammy’ Ledgard) bus to Otley, and then the walk through town, cross the bridge over the Wharfe, and then through the riverside gardens to school. Incidentally (and I may sound like an anorak now, but it is amazing what one can remember), there were two small cars that would always stop at our bus stop if they arrived before the bus did, and they would take us down into Otley as a kindness – AUB 443, and CUB 911. In atrocious weather, they were a most welcome sight!

In those days, we often walked to Yeadon, and it seems hard to believe that what is now Leeds/Bradford Airport was then the AVRO Works, building aircraft – indeed, I well remember the construction of a whole new bus terminal opposite the works, making arrival and departure much easier for the staff.

The Home’s own Chapel was regularly used for services, but on fine days every house would organise a crocodile walk down into Bramhope Village, to attend the service in the Chapel there. On the way down the lane, there was a tree shaped like, and therefore named “the boxing glove tree” (I think it is still there today), and later on a distinctive bungalow (or house) named, appropriately, Green Tiles.
I can also remember the railings, behind the school (fronting the main Harrogate to Bradford road) being cut down, to await collection for converting into munitions. Then it was announced that the King and Queen were to pass by the Home on their way to the AVRO Works, and we were all lined up so that we could wave to them – that is, those who were not propping up the recently cut-down railings, held in place to make everything look ship-shape!

Special treats came at Christmas time, when all the major theatres in the area invited the children to attend dress rehearsals for pantomimes – the Alhambra, Bradford; Theatre Royal, Leeds; etc. We also had a full rehearsal for

the “live” broadcast of “Have A Go” (Wilfred Pickles, and ‘Mabel’ at the piano), but at the eleventh hour we suffered an epidemic of Scarlet Fever, so the broadcast was transferred to Leeds Infirmary. Oddly enough, one of the ‘guests’ on the show was one of our boys, who had lost an eye in an accident involving a home-made arrow, and as a consequence of his story being broadcast, the public were most generous to him (one even started him off with a substantial bank account).

I could write much more, but am running out of space. A couple of years ago, my wife and I paid a nostalgic visit to the former site, to find that it has been most tastefully redeveloped (by Redrow Limited) into a sought-after residential estate. The views across the Wharfe valley to Armscliffe Crag are still as beautiful as ever, and it was warming to note that the shells of a few of the original, very substantial houses had been incorporated into the new complex.

In1912 this was known as Stephenson Home for boys.- (Arthington Show minutes for 1912 )

Memories of J. D. Hartley

I was born in 1952 and brought up living in Mooredge Cottage, Leeds Road, Old Pool Bank until the late 1970’s when I moved to Otley and left my parents to fend for themselves.  The house is at the back of the bus stop to Otley, and was the first in the row that faces the valley – not to mention the north too. No central heating in my early days of course – it was a case of standing in front of the fire until your PJ’s were almost on fire then running upstairs to dive into bed before you froze. Clever people used to grab the cat en route for added heat.

From memory, the occupants of the houses were Mr and Mrs Hartley (ex headmaster of Pool School, who later retired to Lee on Solent), Then the two Miss Bates, (that covers the red brick building which I believe is now one house), then Mooredge Cottage (built in 1927 for a retired army captain who had the garden designed in the fashion of a union flag, and boasted about it being built of handmade bricks), My parents, Elsie and Dennis Hartley moved in the spring of 1947 when the heavy snow was still much in evidence. The next house was Dr Chester, his wife Betty and son John, with Mr and Mrs Marland next door. The next semi was Mr and Mrs Black and Mr John and Mrs Janet Tooth (John used to own Pool Bridge Filling Station and was latterly the motoring correspondent for BBC Leeds, followed by Mr and Mrs Fowler, then ??, the next house was the Lewis family, then Mr and Mrs Brown, and finally the posh house at the end had Mr an Mrs Ward in it.

The gardens of all of these houses had one thing in common, besides the fact they were all on an impossible slope, the final top section before the wall guarding the field was level, as was the old railway track from the quarry towards the bridge. We often used to dig up broken clay pipes and the nails that held the rails in place, but it was the quarry itself that was the adventure area in the late 1950’s. As there was at least one anti aircraft gun placed there during the war to protect Avro, we quite often came across bullets, and being unaware of the later Health and Safety Regulations just built a fire and chucked them in! To a six or eight year old the sound one a couple of these ricocheting around the quarry was very exciting. We tended not to climb the walls of the quarry as it was pretty insecure even to our young eyes, but we did play in the four reservoirs on the continuance of Quarry Farm Road onto the Chevin.

Dusty Rhodes, late of Far Row, and I could never decide when the bridge support was taken down, He thought it was the same time as the bridge, but I thought it was when I was very young, and am sure I can remember it along with a lone water pipe sticking out of the undergrowth opposite the Bar House on the land forming a connection between Old Pool Bank and the road leading to our houses on Leeds Road. I was told this was the site of a clog maker’s hut, who used to make the work shoes for the quarrymen.

We all know how sharp the Bar House corner is, yet there were few accidents there over the years, but of course, there was much less traffic. It was rumoured that during that 1947 winter the snow was level with the roof of the shop, and ex Prisoners of War were used to help clear the way. The fifties were the days of a very limited bus service, and if a regular wasn’t there they would still stop and give him a couple of minutes! My mother and aunt – Mrs Elsie Barratt who lived at Dalesgate on Old Pool Bank, were heavily involved in the building and then running of the local Village Hall, (along with many others – Ken Horne included), and the quarry, along with the local community we took for granted. The history of the village was of no concern to a youngster, although I was always grateful for the bus shelter, built by Whiteley’s, for the respite it gave from those northern winds.