West Yorkshire market town of Pontefract
Pontefract Letters Page


ADDED 31 MAY 2006

I have only recently discovered the "Pontefract Digest" and what a superb magazine it is. I wish I had known about it sooner but have started ordering back issues already to catch up with things. My own connection with the town is relatively recent, having moved here in 1999, and with no previous connections, although I have lived in various other parts of the White Rose county most of my life. Nevertheless, the local history of the town fascinates me.

Since moving here I have been involved with the running of the local football club, PONTEFRACT COLLIERIES. My current involvement is mainly as Programme Editor and Website Manager, as well as being on the Committee. I have also taken it upon myself to try and piece together the club's history, as no proper records have ever been kept by the club due to lack of continuity of personnel over the years, and, I suppose, other priorities at the time, like just putting a team out and making sure there is a pitch to play on, etc.

I have managed to contact a couple of local people who have been involved with previous regimes at the club, which has proved extremely useful. I have also recently started camping out in Pontefract Library going through the Express to get results of previous seasons and start to piece the history together as best I can. However, this tends to lack the personal touch which people who will have been involved in the club over the years could no doubt bring.

I have been fascinated to see the recent photographs published in the "Digest" of teams from the fifties. Incidentally, the picture in Issue 15 of Pontefract Rovers includes our present Treasurer's father in the line-up!

I was particularly interested to read about Prince of Wales Terrace in Issue 14, and have ordered Issue 12 which I believe contains some more. This is because what I understand to have been the "original" Pontefract Collieries played there, certainly they did in the late 50's to early 60's. But it appears this club disappeared in 1960, although the name was reborn again for the 1961-62 season when I gather Pontefract United merged with a local youth club to form the new club. This is contrary to the "history" which has been passed down through successive generations via the programme - that this new club was formed "from the remnants of Pontefract United in 1958". This is clearly incorrect.

The thing that is of particular interest to my research is why did the original Collieries club resign from the West Yorkshire League in 1960? Did they lose their ground, or what? Unfortunately the Express gives nothing away on this subject.

Through your pages, therefore, I wondered if you could mention that I am interested in chatting to anyone who has had involvement with either Pontefract Collieries or Pontefract United, or any other significant local clubs (eg Pontefract Rovers), or who can recollect any happenings at these clubs about this time. In the longer term, I will be spending many a day in the Library (and also in Leeds Library) getting past results and any information, match reports, etc, so that it can all be logged and recorded for history's sake. I anticipate this task will take years rather than weeks! Again, if you could mention this in the "Digest", so that other local historians are aware of my project and may be able to help in any way, I would be most grateful. There are also I am sure many ex-players, ex-managers and ex-secretaries of the club out there - if anyone has any photographs, records, team sheets, tales, or anything to do with these clubs I would be very interested to hear from them.

Eventually, I hope to publish this collated information in the form of a partly statistical, and partly anecdotal, book, which I see as plotting the whole history of the round ball game in the town since a ball was first kicked. I already know there was a team of soldiers, Pontefract Garrison, playing in the West Yorkshire League as long ago as 1895, and a side called Pontefract Borough who reached the dizzy heights (as it was then) of the Yorkshire League in the  1920's. I don't know if there is anyone around who can help this far back but you never know!

In my research so far, one of the most fascinating photographs I have come across, and it is very well preserved too, is a picture of the double-winning Pontefract United side of 1936-37 (the double being the Pontefract League and Cup). I will ask the owner of this picture if he will offer it for publication in the "Digest" as I am sure many people would like to see it, and it may jog a few memories.

Thanks for listening, thanks for a great magazine, and I hope you can give this project a mention. If you can, my contact details are as follows:

48 Baghill Lane

Tel: 01977 602266
Mob: 0781 560 6922
Email: ponterod@tiscali.co.uk

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