Top of Main Street, near the entrance to the Savile Pit, early 1900s
The sinking of the Savile Pit in 1874 and its subsequent development greatly changed Methley. Men, with their families flocked to the village seeking work in the new mine; the population rapidly increased from just over 1,000 in 1801 to over 4,000 by 1901.
Many small houses were built by the colliery owners and other prosperous Methley residents to accommodate the newcomers, particularly around the mines e.g. near the Junction Pit, Newmarket Pit, and here at the top of Main Street for the Savile Pit.
In this photograph children and older residents are being photographed by a travelling photographer. Note the horse droppings in the street indicating the mode of transport, also rather the rough road surface.
In the foreground on the right are the rear walls of some of the houses of Top Fold; entrance to this yard is just below the group of women. Lower down were the front houses of Denison Square, where there were 46 houses in a square. Denison was a local family name and maybe denotes the family who built the Square. Denisons were manufacturers of heavy weighing machines in a Leeds factory.
In the front row of Denison Square was Broadhurst’s cobblers shop and next to it was their small sweet and grocery shop. Beyond you can just see the entrance to Denison Square with taller, 3-storeyed houses beyond, also part of the Square. Here were two shops – Beards’ newsagents at the entrance to the Square and the Off-licence shop at the far end of the tall houses. Beyond it is just possible to see the projecting roof of part of Woodhall Manor.
On the left ie. the north side of Main Street, is the gable of two houses which stood on Main Street just at the top of Mill Lane. Smaller cottages that were beyond are hidden from view. The tall gable of the Primitive Methodist Chapel is just visible, with a row of four houses beyond, more cottages and the Bay Horse Inn.
Main Street was called Town Street up to the turn of the 20th century. There were many shops in the street to cater for the needs of the people. There was very little transport.
This photo is from an from old newspaper. Top Fold was a small ‘square’ or ‘fold’ of houses going off Main Street on its south side. The houses were on three sides of the yard.
The three houses on the photo faced onto Main Street and were set back in the yard, or fold. The last thatched cottage in Methley was in Top Fold.
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