The annihilation of a great town’s history
Letter of the Week: John Sheen, Dewsbury
Dewsbury’s history is truly amazing, even mentioned in William the Conquerer’s Domesday Book.
The changes seen during the following thousand years were spectacular. The 20th century in particular brought immense prosperity to the town.
Known as the ‘Heavy Woollen District’ we saw the emergence of giant mills producing high-quality products like carpets and blankets with customers across the globe.
Even the military were supplied with uniforms for our troops during the war years.
The town had three railway stations at one time in order to satisfy over 65 trains a day, carrying passengers to and from the town.
Truly a valuable centre of commerce. Sadly, global stability and cheap imports Ied to some of the mills closing with the loss of many skilled textile jobs. However, as a thriving Yorkshire town the post-war building programme secured employment for the vast majority and Dewsbury maintained its prominence as an influential centre.
The year 1974 was when Dewsbury County Borough was no more, merging with Kirklees Metropolitan Council was the vision for a successful future. lt was felt that a “larger” council would encourage a higher degree of investment and opportunity.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen a mirror image of the European Union on a smaller scale where whole communities across the land have become areas of deprivation with little hope for change, especially in the North and Midlands.
lnvestment over the last 40 years has mainly gone to Huddersfield and beyond. This is the power house of Kirklees. A university town with extended and successful shopping malls, cafes, restaurants and a brand-new sports facility. The place is buzzing.
Dewsbury, on the other hand, has seen little investment over those 40 years.
Not even the shopping mall we were promised.
On the contrary, more than a quarter of the shops are empty, we’ve lost our county court, our magistrates’ court to where? Huddersfield.
Our central police station is on Iimited hours with Huddersfield calling the shots. lf you want to take a train to Manchester Airport where do you have to catch it? You’ve guessed it, Huddersfield.
Our isolation is unprecedented.
Even our Dewsbury District Hospital, being massively downgraded, saw Iittle opposition from our Kirklees councillors, even when I warned them, all 68 of them, Huddersfield would be next.
Kirklees have systematically ripped the very heart from this once vibrant and prosperous town.
I now hear that even our heritage and our fountain of historical importance is to be lost forever through the closure of our wonderful museum in Crow Nest Park.
ls nothing sacred to these people?
The museum serves at least nine different schools in the area, across the age spectrum, teaching these youngsters that Dewsbury has a history to be proud of and has a valiant and prodigious past.
Dewsbury deserves better. Our local councillors make courageous efforts to fight our corner but, with such powerful resources working against them, I fear for the town’s future.
What’s next to go? Our town hall, our parks, our recreational areas? Who knows, only the mighty and dominant Kirklees bureaucrats.
I would ask The Press to expose this unacceptable behaviour against our museum and indeed, our town.
From: John Appleyard, Liversedge
I’m pleased to read in The Press that Kirklees Council is to toughen up on poll fraud.
Voter registration is a national problem and was made worse when postal votes were given to everyone wishing to vote.
This was done with the best of intentions as it was thought it would lead to an increase in the number of people voting.
Postal voting in my opinion should only be made available to those who genuinely have problems getting to the polling stations.
It is a farce when you can currently vote at a polling station without proof of identity or even possession of your polling card.
In 2010 it was reported that more than half of all constituencies did not plan to count the General Election votes overnight, and yet the reason votes should be counted immediately after the polls close is to stop people cheating.
In Mirfield last year the postal vote count was known before the result was announced.
Ballot rigging has come from people of every colour, religion and most political persuasions.
The politicians who gave the opportunity for election fraud and failed to put safeguards in place are mainly wealthy, white and male.
Let’s clear up this mess and bring back democracy to the ballot box.
Birthday was really special
From: Imelda Marsden, Mirfield
One big thank you to Tim and Carol at The Old Colonial in Mirfield for their venue and catering, after we were let down by another venue at the last minute, and those that joined me for the start of my 70th birthday celebrations in Yorkshire.
If Dublin is half as good with my Irish family this week end it will be the icing on the cake.
Thank you to my daughter and family for helping. Mirfield Show really made the weekend, with my two grandchildren aged four and six winning competitions and gaining medals and two cups for the children’s races. As I was good at running and high jump, family, school friends and teachers talked about it at the party, I was in the Airedale Harriers club in Bradford and went to Mirfield Modern School in the late 50s and 60s.
Are we all convinced?
From: Maureen Scatchard, Batley
As requested by the tireless ‘Save Dewsbury Hospital’ campaigner Wendy Senior, I attended this Tuesday’s meeting .
The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s top spokespeople were there to politely assure us everything was going to ‘their plan’, so nothing to worry about etc, etc, etc!