The Full Wiki

Ossett: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 53°41′N 1°35′W / 53.68°N 1.58°W / 53.68; -01.58

Ossett Town Hall.jpg
Ossett Town Hall
Ossett is located in West Yorkshire

 Ossett shown within West Yorkshire
Population 21,076 
OS grid reference SE279205
Metropolitan borough City of Wakefield
Shire county West Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town OSSETT
Postcode district WF5
Dialling code 01924
Police West Yorkshire
Fire West Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Normanton
List of places: UK • England • Yorkshire

Ossett (pronounced /ˈɒsɨt/) is a market town within the metropolitan borough of the City of Wakefield, in West Yorkshire, England. It is located on junction 40 of the M1 motorway, half-way between Dewsbury, to the west, and Wakefield, to the east. In the 2001 census, it was classified as part of the West Yorkshire Urban Area[1]. The town is roughly half-way between the west and east coasts of England.




The civil parish was created as Ossett cum Gawthorpe in 1866, and was renamed Ossett when it became a Municipal Borough in 1890.[2]

Ossett is often misspelled as "Osset". In Ellis' On Early English Pronunication, one of the founding works of British linguistics, the incorrect spelling is used.[3] The bus station's electronic board opened with this spelling, and, as of May 2007, this has still not been altered. The British Library has an online dialect study that uses the spelling. [4] As of March 2009, the name is spelt incorrectly in Encyclopedia Britannica's article for Wakefield.[5] Publishers of Stan Barstow's books often spelt the name wrongly when giving details of the author's background.[6].

The South African astronomer Cyril Jackson, who was born in Ossett, honoured the town when he named asteroid 1244 Deira; the citation he submitted to the IAU boils down to « Ancient name of Ossett, Yorkshire ». That is something of an exaggeration: the ancient Kingdom of Deira actually encompassed (at its height) most of Yorkshire.


Ossett appears in the 1086 Domesday Book as "Osleset", which was in the Manor of Wakefield. The Domesday book was compiled for William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy, after he invaded and conquered England in 1066. The survey of England was completed in 1086. "Osleset" was measured as 3 and a half "Carucates", which is the land needed to be ploughed by 3 teams of 8 ox. Woodland pasture measured "half a league long as much broad" (roughly 6 furlongs by 6 furlongs). "4 villans" and "3 bordars" lived in Osleset, a villan was an upper status villager, a bordar was a lower status villager. The name "Osleset" is believed to be of Saxon origin, meaning "Osla's seat", though there are other explanations for Ossett's name.

In the Second World War, Ossett was accidentally bombed on 16 September 1940[7]. Ten High Explosive bombs were dropped. No one was killed, save for a number of chickens and several properties were damaged[8]. A V-1's engine was reportedly heard to cut out, and came down at Grange Moor, to the west of the town.


Although not granted by the College of Arms, this icon was adopted for the former Municipal Borough of Ossett.

Ossett cum Gawthorpe was a township in the ancient parish of Dewsbury;[9] it became a civil parish in 1866, and was incorporated as the Municipal Borough of Ossett in 1890.[2] Under the Local Government Act 1972, it became an unparished area in the City of Wakefield. Under an earlier draft of the Act, Ossett was to be part of the Kirklees district on the grounds that the area was originally part of Dewsbury; after an appeal by the Ossett Labour Party, it was decided that the Kirklees headquarters in Huddersfield would be too remote, so Ossett was moved into the Wakefield district.[10]

Politically, Ossett has changed which constituency it is in several times. In 1983, a very unpopular decision transferred the town from the Dewsbury seat to the Normanton constituency. This is represented by Ed Balls, who was formerly chief economic adviser. The seat has been continually represented by Labour since 1885: longer than any other British constituency.

At the next election, Ossett [and Horbury] will comprise part of the Wakefield seat.[11] When Ossett was part of the Dewsbury constituency, the MP was David Ginsburg, who was one of the Labour M.P.s to defect to the Social Democratic Party (UK). On transferring to the Normanton constituency, the MP for many years was Bill O'Brien until he entered the House of Lords and was succeeded by Ed Balls.

In 2008, the wards Ossett and Horbury and South Ossett both elected Tories.[12] This is the first time that the Ossett ward has elected a Conservative; the Conservative candidate had finished in fourth place on some occasions. The Ossett ward now has two LibDem councillors and one Tory; the Horbury and South Ossett ward now has three Tory councillors.


North: Kirkhamgate
West: Dewsbury Ossett East: Wakefield
South: Horbury and Netherton


Ossett Town Centre, showing the Town Hall building
  • At the 2001 census, the town's population was 20,988 residents plus an extra 88 in communal establishments, making a total of 21,076.[13] As of 2007, West Yorkshire Police estimate the population at 21,284.[14] Ossett's convenient proximity to the M1 motorway has led the old industrial town to become more affluent in recent years, attracting both industry and resident commuters to Leeds, following on from a period of economic decline that lasted almost three decades.
  • Ossett has some of the lowest crime rates in West Yorkshire.[14]
  • Ossett has seven Primary Schools; Holy Trinity C Of E Primary School, St Ignatius's Catholic Primary School, South Parade Primary School, South Ossett Infants School, Southdale C Of E Junior School, Dimplewell Infants School and Highfield School (which caters for children with learning disabilities). Highfield School uses the buildings of what used to be North Ossett High School (which closed in 1997). Due to North Ossett High School's closure Ossett has only one secondary school, Ossett School. See also list of schools in Wakefield.


Stan Barstow said that Ossett and Horbury were the "border country" where the north-west of the coalfield merged with the south-east of the wool towns. Local historian John Goodchild said, "The place was essentially one of small mines and small mills". The town was once a thriving centre of the "shoddy" industry; i.e. the recycling of woollen garments. Whilst some mill towns employed mostly females in its textile sector, Ossett's mills always had roughly equal numbers of men and women. The town's mills were generally small, but they had a reputation as high-quality producers. Whitehead's Mill used to have a float that said "We Export to the World" at the Gawthorpe May Pole parade.

There are still four operational textile mills in the town: Ings Mill, on Dale Street, now deals with recycled textiles; the Victoria mills on The Green, close to Ossett School, produce carpets; "Edward Clay & Son Ltd" on Wesley Street manufactures felts for the mattress making and horticultural industries; and "Wilson Briggs & Son" by the River Calder off Healey Road, which deals with textile mill waste and remnant processing. Other have been converted into units: some of the most prominent being Royds Mill on the Leeds Road roundabout and the large congregation of mills in the Healey area. Some mills remain derelict.

Coal-mining was, up to the late 1860s, Ossett's second industry in terms of people employed and the first in terms of males employed. Coal mining has been in the area since the 14th century. There were a large number of pits in Ossett during the 19th century. The main pits in Ossett were "Old Roundwood", opened in 1851 with the Gawthorpe seam. The Haigh Moor seam opened in 1860 and the Silkstone seam opened in 1893. Old Roundwood closed in 1966. "Pildacre" pit shut due to flooding in 1875 but remained as a source of water for Ossett. "Westfield" shut in the early 1900s, the Chidswell riot in 1893 was caused by striking miners trying to reach Westfield to stop their miners working. Another pit down Healey Road was also the scene of tension between police and striking miners. "Low Laithes" pit shut in 1926, however the seams from Low Laithes later flooded and were responsible for the Lofthouse Colliery disaster in 1973. "Greatfield" shut in the 1950s and "Shaw Cross", on the Ossett/Dewsbury border near the current Dewsbury Rugby stadium, which closed in 1968.

At the time of the UK miners' strike (1984-1985), the nearest pits were "Denby Grange" and "Bullcliffe Woods" - both being about 3 miles to the south. The latter was one of the pits threatened with closure and one of the few concessions won was the merger of the latter with the former; the combined pit finally closed in 1991. The town's badge features images of both mills and collieries.

During the 1970s, Woodhead Manufacturing employed 1,500 people on Church Street; the site is now under a housing estate and Woodheads exists in name only and is run from an industrial estate in Leeds.


Ossett was, for a brief period in the 19th century, a spa town.[15] Having been founded by a local stonemason who was inspired by Harrogate and Cheltenham, the waters were popular with those seeking relief from certain skin diseases in the early 19th century, but it remained a small spa during this period. In the 1870s, a plan to transform Ossett into a "second Harrogate" ended in failure, and the spa closed as a result. The south-east of the town is still known as "Ossett Spa".


The Romans constructed a road from Halifax to Wakefield, this road was turned into a turnpike road in 1741, and its route is roughly similar to the modern day Dewsbury Road. Streetside post office is a reminder of the roman origins of the road. The railways first arrived in Ossett in 1862, when the Bradford, Wakefield & Leeds Railway company opened a branch line to Flushdyke. The line was extended to Ossett in 1864 and then onto Dewsbury and Batley.

Ossett Station, located roughly where Southdale Gardens now is, was opened in 1889 by the Great Northern Railway, the line ran underneath Station Road and the "bump" in the road today is the only reminder of the bridge that used to exist there until its removal in the 1980s. The station closed in 1964. The town was close to four other train stations: Chickenley Heath closed in 1911, Earlsheaton in 1953, Flushdyke closed in 1941 and Horbury & Ossett in 1970. It is now the largest town in Yorkshire and one of the largest towns in Britain without a train station. Railway sidings and yards are still to be found at the old Horbury & Ossett Station site, heading towards Huddersfield and Horbury Bridge. Queen Elizabeth II spent a night aboard the royal train there during her 1977 Silver Jubilee tour.

In June 2009, the Association of Train Operating Companies proposed Ossett, as one of seven English towns with a strong business case for the location of a new railway station. It is likely that an unmanned station would be erected at Healey Mills.[16]

In 2004 a brand new bus station was opened in the town built by the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive this replaced an earlier station constructed in the 1970s and located 50 yards closer to Prospect Road and the football ground. A previous bus station was located between the town hall and the current post office and was discontinued in the 1970s. The M1 motorway arrived in Ossett in 1967. The stretch between Junctions 40 and 42 was opened in April 1967. The stretch from junction 38 to 40 was opened in October 1968. The Highways Agency have plans to widen the M1 to 4 lanes between Chesterfield and Leeds. This work has already started in Derbyshire.


Holy Trinity Church, Ossett, viewed from Dale Street

There are seven Christian churches in the town, each with their own particular identities and initiatives. Many of the leaders of these churches meet regularly to collaborate and support each other. In the 18th and 19th Centuries, the town had a reputation as a centre of religious Nonconformism[17]. Although nonconformist churches were common across of West Yorkshire, Ossett was a particular hotbed. In 1890, seventeen different churches were recorded in Ossett, excluding "spiritualist churches". Trinity Church is one of the two Church of England chapels in the town. The other is Christ Church, South Ossett. St Mary's Church on Dewsbury Road closed in 2002, and its parish was divided between Dewsbury (Chickenley) and Ossett and Gawthorpe (Gawthorpe).

St. Ignatius Church is the only Roman Catholic Church in Ossett, it was built in 1878. The Salvation Army is now the only Christian church with its building in Gawthorpe. The Salvation Army building also acts as a community centre providing dinners for senior citizens & two parent & toddler groups. There is also a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses on Ventnor Way, and a spiritualist church in the town centre.


  • Ossett is the home of Wakefield Orchestral Wind[1].
  • The red phone booth in Ossett town centre, opposite the Kingsway roundabout, is a grade II listed building.[18]
  • Ossett is home to two real ale breweries. Ossett Brewery, located just down the road from The Brewer's Pride pub in Healey is best-known for Ossett Pale Gold and Excelsior[2] (the latter a winner of several CAMRA awards)[19] ; Bob's Brewing Company (formerly The Red Lion Brewery), is best known for its superbChardonnayle[20]. Both are available across the North of England and the breweries also produce several other beers.
  • The Yorkshire and the Humber branch of the Disability Sports Federation has its headquarters on the Longlands Industrial Estate in the town.
  • Ossett Town Hall celebrated its centenary in June 2008.[3]


Gawthorpe, an area of north Ossett, is known for its striking water tower. Gawthorpe hosts the annual World Coal-Carrying Championships (Easter Monday) and an annual Maypole parade on the first Saturday in May. Ossett Gala takes place on the second Saturday in July. The turning on of the Christmas Lights (early December) is another focal point for the community, along with the Fire station's annual bonfire on the Friday evening nearest to the 5th November. The Ossett Beer Festival takes place annually at the Brewers' Pride pub at the bottom of Healey Road, Ossett over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.


Ossett's local newspaper is the Ossett Observer, which was founded in 1864. The Wakefield Express and the Dewsbury Reporter are also regularly stocked in local newsagents. The Wakefield Express publishes an Ossett Edition, and also contains an Ossett and district section. Ossett also has its own free magazine The Ossett Review[21] that was established in July 2005. The Ossett Civic Trust produce their quarterly newsletter Ossett Times [22]


Ossett Rugby Union Football Club are based at Ossett Cricket club and play at Southdale playing fields behind the Silver King pub. Ossett Trinity, the local rugby league team, resigned from the Rugby League Conference in 2006. Ossett cricket club also play at Dimplewells. The Heavy Woollen District has its own cricket association and its own cricket team. Residents of Ossett are eligible to play for the Heavy Wollen District team.

Ossett hosts two semi-professional football teams.Ossett Town play at Ingfield across from the bus station, and are in the Unibond Premier Division. Neighbours Ossett Albion make their home at Queen's Terrace, more commonly known as Dimplewells, and are one division below Town, in the Unibond First Division. There was an Ossett Football Club in the 1890s, they played in the original West Yorkshire League, but the oldest current club in Ossett is Ossett Common Rovers, formed in 1910 and currently playing in the modern West Yorkshire League. Other clubs in Ossett down the years include Ossett Wanderers, Ossett United and Ossett Panthers. Little Bull FC, Ossett Two Brewers and AFC Two Brewers play in the Wakefield & District League.

Notable people

  • Black Lace (band), legendary British pop-music group, notable for their 1984 single "Agadoo".
  • Novelist Stan Barstow, the author of A Kind of Loving, was born in Horbury, yet has lived almost all of his life in Ossett and attended Ossett Grammar School.
  • Benjamin Ingham (1712-72) founder of the Inghamite Methodists was born in Ossett. He was educated at Batley Grammar School and Queen's College, Oxford. He was ordained in 1735 and accompanied John and Charles Wesley as a missionary to the colony of Georgia in the USA. In 1737, after his return to Ossett, Ingham started to establish the Inghamite Methodists after being banned in 1739 from preaching in churches. By 1755 there were over eighty Inghamite congregations, mainly in Yorkshire and Lancashire. A vestige of Ingham's Church still survives in the Lancashire/Yorkshire border area.
  • Bobby Madley (Football Referee) Youngest ever Premier League Match Official
  • Eli Marsden Wilson, A.R.E., A.R.C.E. (1877-1965) was a successful Ossett-born artist who had seventeen pictures exhibited at the Royal Academy. After studying at Wakefield College of Art, he moved to the Royal College of Art in London where he became a pupil of Sir Frank Short. The first picture Wilson exhibited at the R.A. in 1905 was an etching of "Ossett Market" as it was in Victorian times. There is a copy of "Ossett Market" by E.M. Wilson on display in Wakefield Art Gallery.
  • South African astronomer Cyril V. Jackson was born in Ossett.
  • Software house Team17 are based there and their most famous game - "Worms" - contained a Hell level with a sign saying, "Welcome to Ossett".
  • The crime novelist David Peace originates from Ossett and set the first six of his books in the West Riding. In Nineteen Seventy Four, Ed Dunford, the main character, lived at 10, Wesley Street in the town. There is also an insider joke where Ed tries to make up a fake name of a solicitors' firm to a policemen, and says "Edward Clay & Son Ltd." see above, which the policeman immediately deduce as false.
  • Actress Helen Worth (Gail Platt on Coronation Street) was born and brought up in Ossett.
  • Richard Wood - defender with Sheffield Wednesday FC.
  • Thomas Cussons (Chemist) first established the 'Cussons' personal care brand in Ossett. The initials of Thomas' eldest son John W. Cussons (1867-1922) can still be found on the wall of the original building, now the Yorkshire Bank on Station Road. Thomas' youngest son Alex T. Cussons (1875-1951) who was apprenticed in Ossett, went on to manufacture the famous Cussons Imperial Leather soap.
  • Ben Levene-Famous writer of Self Help books. Titles including "Sleep your way to the top. He was knighted in 2006 for services to Yorkshire
  • Barry Wood, former Lancashire and England cricketer was born in Ossett.
  • George Dews, played football for Middlesbrough, Plymouth Argyle and Walsall from 1946 to 1956; he also played cricket for Worcestershire.
  • Edward Clay, The Borough's first Mayor was Edward Clay a rag and mungo manufacturer. (The business still remains in Wesley Street).[23]
  • The Ya-Yas, Ossett's number one beat combo.[24]
  • Broadcaster, writer and academic Elaine Storkey nee Lively was brought up in Ossett and was Head Girl of Ossett Grammar School in 1962

Cultural references

  • The town is mentioned in the song It's Grim Up North.
  • Ossett was defined as "wheeare the' black-leead t'tram lines" in both A Yorkshireman's Dictionary by Peter Wright and The Yorkshire Dictionary by Arnold Kellett, although neither book gives any explanation for this. One interpretation is that it was mocking the town's heavy pollution when it was industrialised. Another is that Ossett people were seen as fussy and pedantic; Ossett was known as hotbed of religious Nonconformism, where new churches were founded over minor differences in doctrine and these churches had a large impact on daily life.
  • From Austin Mitchell's Talkin' Yorkshire (page 48):
In moments of extreme anger Ossett Fish-puddlers have been known to resent "thou" and reply "Don't thee thou me thee thou thissen and see how tha likes thee thouing" but this is rare.

See also


  1. ^ UK 2001 Census - West Yorkshire Urban Area
  2. ^ a b A Vision of Britain Through Time : Ossett Civil Parish Retrieved 2009-09-10
  3. ^ Found on pages 62 and 365 in On Early English Pronunciation, Part V. The existing phonology of English dialects compared with that of West Saxon speech, London, Trübner and Co., 1889
  4. ^ British Library English Accents and Dialects collection, "Osset, Wakefield"
  5. ^
  6. ^ See, for example, the details about the author at the start of Joby, as published 1968 by Penguin
  7. ^ BBC Article
  8. ^ 1900 - 2000
  9. ^ A Vision of Britain Through Time : Dewsbury Civil Parish Retrieved 2009-09-10
  10. ^ Ossett Town Hall, Ossett Historical Society, 2008, page 104
  11. ^ NDS - News Distribution Service
  12. ^ Local Election Results May 2008
  13. ^ 2001 UK Census, Spreadsheet
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^ Ossett History detailed local history web site
  16. ^ Connecting Communities: Expanding Access to the Rail Network. Association of Train Operating Companies. pp. 9. Retrieved 2009-06-15.  
  17. ^ Old Towns of England article on Dewsbury
  18. ^ Current Listed Building Files. Listed Buildings 26th April 2005, Wakefield District Council 34 - Listed buildings in Ossett
  19. ^ History of the Ossett Brewery
  20. ^ Bob's Brewing Company Ltd
  21. ^ Ryalls Publishing Ltd Publisher of The Ossett Review
  22. ^ Ossett Civic Trust Web Site - Newsletter Ossett Times
  23. ^ Ossett Civic Trust - History
  24. ^ AQA answer (2006) to the question "Who are Ossett's number one beat combo?"


  • "Bygone Ossett", Norman Ellis, Rickaro Books, November 2003, ISBN 0-9546439-0-9
  • "Old Ordnance Survey Maps: Ossett 1890", Alan Godfrey Maps, ISBN 0-85054-237-5
  • "The King's England: Yorkshire, West Riding", Arthur Mee

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

OSSETT, a municipal borough in the Morley parliamentary division of the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, 3 m. W. of Wakefield, on the Great Northern and (Horbury and Ossett. station) the Lancashire and Yorkshire railways. Pop. (1901) 12,903. It includes the contiguous townships of Ossett, South Ossett and Gawthorpe. The church of the Holy Trinity, a fine cruciform structure in the Early Decorated style, was erected in 1865. Woollen cloth mills, and extensive collieries in the neighbourhood, employ the large industrial population. There are medicinal springs similar in their properties to those of Cheltenham. The municipal borough, incorporated in 1890, is. under a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area 3238 acres.

<< Ossa

Ossian >>

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address