Dewsbury Road

Time Traveller

Thursday 7th September 2000, West Yorkshire

Wakefield to Knottingley

Pontefract infirmary JUST PUBLISHED; Time Traveller; 2,000 years of history through a bus window, for which I was the, uncredited, illustrator. The colourful leaflet takes a look at the Wakefield to Knottingley bus route. There's a surprising amount of history but I think the most remarkable feature is one that you don't even see from bus. In Pontefract the bus route passes right over the cell of a medieval hermit. A spiral staircase descends 16 metres to a living room and chapel carved out of the sandstone. For its time this must have been quite a comfortable lodging. The cell has its own running water; an underground spring. The hermitage is opened to the public on rare occasions.

Few visitors to Pontefract Infirmary (pictured, above, from the leaflet) would guess that this unusual medieval site lies just below the road.

The leaflet will be included as an insert in the Arriva bus timetable. A limited number of copies are available free from Pontefract Museum, Salter Row, Pontefract. Please include an A5 stamped addressed envelope.

Time Traveller was produced by the City of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council Education, Libraries and Museums Department in association with Arriva and with the support of the Yorkshire Museums Council.

Horbury to Leeds

Dewsbury RoadDewsbury RoadDewsbury RoadDewsbury Road
To say that I contributed to a bus timetable project, I'm not very good at predicting the comings and goings of buses. We travelled to and from Leeds today and it would actually have been quicker for us to get to London and back. For the uninitiated, here are my two rules of bus timetables, based on today's journeys. You've got only two variables to worry about; time and place;
  1. If a bus leaves on alternative hours from the stop by the farm and the stop on the bridge, whenever you go to the bus stop by the farm you'll see the bus in the distance, sailing over the bridge.
  2. If the bus leaves every hour (but one) throughout the day from the main bus station, the one that you turn up for will be the one that misses.
Dewsbury Road That apart, it was an enjoyable journey. From the upstairs front seat there's a panorama of West Yorkshire, from the Calder to the Aire, from the Pennine ridge in the distance to the valleys of what was once known as the Heavy Woollen District. The Leeds Dewsbury Road is a striking example of ribbon development; houses built all along a road between two towns. There was a lot of this in the immediate post-war years. The boundaries of city and country became blurred and the Town and Country Planning act was introduced to preserve the identity of both.

Residents on this stretch of the Dewsbury Road have over the years fought at least two successful battles against a proposed opencast mine, known with total disregard to local geography as the Windsor, an enormous project which was set to obliterate the fields and woods behind the houses.

former pit heap at Tingley Tingley Pit is another matter. In my childhood on the way to Leeds we passed the pit and a grey wasteland of spoil heaps. When the pit closed some 30 years ago the site was landscaped. It is now a wooded slope. Only its contours give any clue that it has not always been a part of the landscape.

hawk silhouette I sketch this silhouette of a hawk as we wait in the city bus station. It is a transfer, fixed to one of the glass sliding doors and is evidently intended to deter town pigeons from entering. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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