PONTEFRACT COMMUNITY CENTRE
ADDED 24 APRIL 2006
to my letter regarding the Pontefract Community Centre Under 18 Football
Team, I thought some other information about the Centre itself may be of
youth football team trained at the Community Centre, known locally as
the 'Miners' Welfare' or just the 'Welfare', on some disused grass
tennis courts next to the embankment alongside the railway running
between Tanshelf Station and Featherstone. Our coach was an
ex-professional footballer called Rowley Hill(?). In the summer, we
played cricket on the old tennis courts.
were many other activities at the Centre to keep young people -
particularly boys - occupied and off the streets. In the winter, as well
as football, we had a thriving table tennis club with a number of teams
in different divisions of the local league. Alan Hanson, as mentioned in
my previous letter, and Brian Milner were approaching County standard
and always featured prominently in the annual table tennis tournament
held at the Town Hall/Assembly Rooms - a very popular and well-attended
were a couple of snooker tables, used by both adults and junior members,
and we spent many hours practicing our skills, although at that time
snooker wasn't the popular sport it is today. There were also ballroom
dancing classes, which of course, involved both boys and girls.
the summer, as well as the impromptu cricket games - which involved boys
who went on to play for Pontefract such as Brian Farrar and Barry Crofts
- there was a very active tennis club. The members were mainly adults,
although a few of us, whose parents could afford the subs and equipment,
were junior members. From memory, there were four red shale hard courts
and one grass court that was used only at the height of summer if it was
not too wet. Here again there was a local Lawn tennis League and the
star player was a man called Larry Sixsmith.
was also a Crown Green Bowling Club, with a couple of very good bowling
greens. Again, this was generally an adult activity, although the
juniors were allowed to play and some became excellent players in later
grounds, tennis courts, bowling greens etc., were kept in excellent
condition by Mr. Hart, who lived in a house in the grounds. One of Mr.
Hart's two sons, John, is on the football team photograph included with
my previous letter. There was a caretaker, whose name I forget, who also
ran a little shop in the Centre selling sweets, soft drinks and I
suppose cigarettes for the elder members. A manager was in charge of the
Centre, although they changed quite frequently, but I do recall that a
Mr. Lodge (Bob), who had been a local teacher, had some involvement in
the running of the Centre for some time.
Centre had obviously been a grand house and estate at some time, but I
am not familiar with its history. I do wonder whether it had anything to
do with the Hartley family who were prominent architects and builders in
the area. Also I am not aware who owned the property at the time we were
involved in the late 40's/early 50's - probably the local council or
possibly it had something to do with the Prince of Wales Colliery. It
would be interesting to know its origins.
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