Seventy Years Ago
Another housing scheme bites the dust! Elland desperately needed houses. The housing stock in the ‘old town’ would require extensive modernisation in order to provide homes for heroes. The Council decided that a new estate should be built but where? They considered purchasing Elland Golf Club but that idea was shelved. They deliberated about Exley Lane but again the plan was dropped. Finally the councillors submitted a scheme to the Ministry of Health (in charge of housing in 1946) to build 400 houses on the 200 acre Elland Hall Farm Estate. The Ministry vetoed the scheme. Too expensive and too ambitious. The Council decided to view alternative sites – Old Earth and Mean Lane – were under consideration.
It has been said that Timber Street got its name because a fine timber-framed house once stood in the street. Danesbury House (pictured) was demolished in January 1882. There is no explanation why the house was called Danesbury and intriguingly the press reports refer to Danesborough or Daneborough Hall or House. Prior to demolition the house had stood empty for some time until purchased by Mr. George Smith, a furniture dealer. He planned to build a larger house and shop on the site. Both Southgate and Timber Street were to be widened at this point. Sadly nothing was discovered during the demolition to ascertain the age of the property. (The correspondent hints at 500 years and possibly the oldest residence in Elland although that accolade must belong to Elland Hall). The workmen found a rather peculiar brass tool (2.5 inches long with a blade) that may have been a lancet. No one could recall a doctor/surgeon living at the address. Four copper coins were also found. One coin was dated 1806 but the others were too defaced to reveal a date. This is something of a mystery but at least we have a photograph of the property.
Behind Danesbury House there stood in the garden a Summer House. This structure was a kind of little tower that was approached by a flight of steps. According to the Dodgson diaries a quiet and lady-like person called ‘Old Lucy’ lived there for many years. (Please note not Lucy Hamerton). She was the last occupant of the tower and when she died the house ceased to be.
Around the corner in Southgate lived ‘Molly Waterkit’. She was very fond of cats. She lived alone bar her cats. When she went out her cats would accompany her. That would be quite a sight.
David J. Glanfield
Greater Elland Historical Society