Featherstone in photographs
In 1848, the opening of the Wakefield, Pontefract and Goole railway line through Featherstone, provided the basis for large scale coal mining in Featherstone, by opening up new markets in the south of England and Europe.
Coal had been mined at Featherstone since the 13th century and remains of bell pits can still be seen to the north of Park Lane at North Featherstone.
Ackton Hall and its Featherstone estates, previously the home of Lords of the Manor, was sold in 1865 and from that time mining developments were rapid, and the population boomed.
The completion of the railway encouraged exploratory boreholes to be drilled to discover deeper coal seams.
In 1866, when George Bradley, an entrepeneur from Boston, Lincolnshire, bought the Ackton Hall estates, he leased land to John Shaw who opened a new colliery called Featherstone Main. Seeing the possibilities, George Bradley opened another called Manor Colliery.
Shaw was successful at Featherstone Main, once the largest colliery in England, but Bradley, through lack of funds, and misfortune, failed with four collieries in the area.
Lord Masham, a successful mill owner from Bradford, bought the estates and provided money for development. Ackton Hall Colliery (Masham's) was a success and he began to provide social facilities such as housing for the new community.
The new town of Featherstone was developed in the field between Ackton and Purston as a mining town with good quality housing and social services.
Thanks go to local historian, Tony Lumb and the Featherstone Local History Society for this collection of photographs. The Featherstone Local History Society meets at the library on the first Monday of every month, 7.30pm to 9.00pm. Contact Featherstone Library on 01977 722745 for more details.
This is Featherstone.