Pontefract Castle – 20th Century

5/2/1941On 5th February 1941, Pontefract Corporation approved £513 (nearly £27,000 in today's money) for the adaptation of the refreshment room at Pontefract Castle into a mortuary for civilians killed during World War II.
6/3/1905It was reported by ‘The Chemist and Druggist’ that on 6th March 1905: ‘two soldiers and a shoemaker were sent to prison for one month each for being concerned in larceny at the warehouse of Mr. Alfred Collins, chemist and druggist, Corn Market, Pontefract, and stealing several bottles of wine and some soaps, pills, and Pontefract cakes.’
3/4/1957Pontefract Castle MotteOn 3rd April 1957, Pontefract Castle was first scheduled as an ancient monument by the Ministry of Works (later the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission, then English Heritage and now Historic England).
16/4/1939On 16th April 1939, before the outbreak of World War II, six thousand people attended a National Service Rally in Pontefract Castle grounds. The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer reported that this “rendered conscription unnecessary”.
12/5/1913On 12th May 1913, during a balloon ascent and parachute descent at Pontefract Castle for its Whitsuntide gala, the balloon burst injuring a man and young girl.
27/5/1954On 27th May 1954, at the annual meeting of the Council (Wakefield), the assurance of the Duchy of Lancaster by letter was accepted: ‘as occasion arises should require to do such repairs to the castle ruins to ensure that they are not a danger to the public'.
5/6/1933On 5th June 1933, Pontefract Castle grounds staged boxing bouts during its Whitsuntide gala, in aid of Pontefract and Leeds Infirmaries. The principal bout saw Jimmy Learoyd (aka Young Learoyd) beat Harold (Young) Cole on points over twelve rounds. Jackie Brown, world champion fly-weight had promised to attend but it is not known if he did.
12/6/1924On 12th June 1924, a fete organised by local tradesmen was held in the grounds of Pontefract Castle on behalf of the building fund of the Pontefract Infirmary and Dispensary.
24/6/1926On 24th June 1926, a folk-dance festival was held in the grounds of Pontefract Castle with the highlight being the local men’s morris dancing troupe.
7/7/1928On 7th July 1928, a tennis tournament was held in the grounds of Pontefract Castle with play not concluding until dusk.
14/7/1919WW1 tank PontefractOn 14th July 1919, a World War I tank (tank No. 289) was awarded to Pontefract by General Benson in recognition of the town’s having subscribed over £2m in War Loans: it was kept at the castle, being removed on 26th September 1934 to Nevison’s Leap and later cut up for salvage in World War II.  
15/7/1928On 15th July 1928, a parade and drum-head service was held in the grounds of Pontefract Castle attended by 1,000 members of the St John Ambulance Brigade from all parts of the West Riding. Brigadier-General C.R. Ingham Brooke led the proceedings.
22/7/1966On 22nd July 1966, Ferrybridge Henge and two round barrows were first listed and protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument: List Entry Number: 1005789. A Neolithic henge near Ferrybridge, West Yorkshire (grid reference SE47462424), it is close to the A1 and M62 and Ferrybridge power station. Ferrybridge Henge is the furthest south of Yorkshire's henges, and is the only one in West Yorkshire.  There was activity on the site before the current henge in the form of circular monuments and hengiform monuments dating from 3500 BC to 3000 BC. Ferrybridge Henge dates from around 3000 BC to 2500 BC. Around 2000 BC–1500 BC, during the early Bronze Age, barrow burials were performed on the site. Inhumations were discovered with grave goods such as ceramic pots and flint tools. The area was probably abandoned from about 1500 BC to 500 BC when there was some reoccupation by Iron Age farmers. The henge was not cultivated and may have been retained as a shrine for the Iron Age people of the area and later during the Romano-British period. An Iron Age sword scabbard was discovered in the inner henge ditch as well as a Roman coin. That burials continued in the area around the henge in the Saxon period despite the presence of a Christian cemetery nearby has been taken as evidence of pagan beliefs prevailing in the area. Ferrybridge Henge and its surrounding area were used as farmland during the medieval period. The site was excavated by West Yorkshire Archaeological Services in 1991. In 2007, a suspected extension of the henge was unearthed near Pontefract. It was discovered when archaeologists were investigating a site intended for the construction of a row of houses; once the archaeological survey was complete, the construction went ahead. Ferrybridge Henge is a circular site and is about 180 metres (590 ft) in diameter. The henge is surrounded by two ditches and a bank. The inner ditch is 10 metres (33 ft) wide and 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) deep. There is a 15-metre (49 ft) wide berm between the inner ditch and a 15-metre (49 ft) wide limestone bank. Separating the bank from the outer ditch is another berm, also 15 metres (49 ft) wide; the outer ditch is 12 metres (39 ft) wide and 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) deep. This layout is typical of other henges. The site has two entrances, one in the north east and one in the south west.  
30/7/1902On 30th July 1902, Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates recorded: ‘ Mohill Union (County Leitrim, Ireland) – Paupers sent from Pontefract to Mohill, Withdrawal of Grant of Five Shillings Outdoor Relief by the Pontefract Guardians.’
2/8/1950On 2nd August 1950, the Duchy of Lancaster informed Pontefract Corporation that it was granting a new lease for Pontefract Castle for thirty-one years at a rent of £3 pa (£105 in today's money) subject to the guardianship of the ruins being passed to the Ministry of Works.
8/8/1942On 8th August 1942, Ewbanks liquorice factory in Pontefract was badly burned by German incendiaries with the pan, gum and liquorice rooms all damaged causing the factory to be put out of action. During this time, neighbouring Pontefract sweet manufacturers made some Ewbanks’ sweets with some Ewbanks’ workers making parachutes.
12/8/1919On 12th August 1919, the Yorkshire Miners’ Council recommended a return to work for striking miners after 200,000 British miners had been on strike refusing the Government’s offer of settlement. All but the men in the West Yorkshire section had complied by the 15th of that month with Pontefract’s 10,000 men voting against a resumption of work.
14/8/1926On 14th August 1926, a dog show, promoted by the West Riding Branch of the British Alsatian Association, was held in the grounds of Pontefract Castle.
28/8/1942On 28th and 29th August 1942, over 450 local people staged a pageant at Pontefract Castle with soldiers and members of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (women’s branch of the British Army during World War II) portraying notable events in the castle’s history. Music was provided by the band of the York and Lancaster Regiment.
26/9/1934On 26th September 1934, a World War 1 tank (tank No. 289), on display at Pontefract Castle since 1919, was removed from the castle to Nevison's Leap. The tank was eventually cut up for salvage in World War II.
31/10/1903On 31st October 1903, ‘The Builder’ magazine reported that eight tenders had been received ‘for the erection of a free library, Salter-row for the Corporation of Pontefract with ……….Henry Gundhill’s (of Pontefract) £1744 4s 8d accepted (£217,000 in today’s money)…… £150 (£18,650) allowed for wood block floors not included in the contract’