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Alverthorpe and Low Laithes Part 4

Low Laithes.

I attended school in Alverthorpe until December 1943 when I was eleven years old and then I had to go to Snapethorpe senior school until I finally left school in December 1946. One of our main occupations when not at school was Low Laithes golf course which was just at the top of Willow Lane. We spent a lot of our time walking round the outside of the course along the beckside looking for golf balls and along the path around the club house to the railway crossing. Then back along the bottom of the railway embankment and down Willow Lane and home.

At week-ends we caddied for the golfers which brought us a bit of pocket money 1s 6d (7p) a round or if you were lucky anything up to 2s 6d. (12p) This was a fair amount of money for us lads in those days.

We got to know a lot of the club members a few who were local mill-owners, the Thornton's, Harrap's and the Lee's. Some of the members gave us their old hickory shafted clubs which encouraged us to become more interested in golf.

About the time I left school (1946) we moved from Milners Court to Lupset estate but I was so hooked on golf I became a junior member at Low Laithes. I worked as a telegraph lad in Westgate South signal box and worked two shifts, days and afternoons so whatever shift I was on I was able to play golf.

When I was sixteen or seventeen I played a lot of golf and there were one or two other lads about my age and we tended to play together. They were Michael J. Farmer, son of F .J. Farmer. Phillip Dearnley son of Jack Dearnley of Ossett and Michael Pyrah son of the club steward. We called ourselves The Low Laithes Moles in place of "Tigers" 0 to 15 handicap and "Rabbits" 16 to 24. We were deemed too young to have a handicap.

All this time I did not take any particular notice of the buildings which comprised the golf club. The main buildings comprising the club house, the stewards quarters, the gents locker room, the ladies upstairs locker rooms etc. the bar and the dining room.

Outside was the car park and on the western side was a large barn stretching nearly the whole length of the west side. The photograph from the 1935 brochure (plate 7) shows that it was aisled from its southern end to the farm house which formed a cross wing. I cannot remember whether the aisling had been removed by the 1940's or not.

At the northern end were a series of open sheds stretching from the end of the barn to the main entrance from Mill Lane into the car park, these had housed farm equipment but now held grass cutting machinery. (see fig 4 & fig 5) The southern end was enclosed by a wall with enough room left for cars to go out that side and go round the back of the barn. On the other side of the main entrance was a cottage with a wall enclosing a large grassed area between the pro's shop and the first tee.

Graphic16 - Fig.4. 1st ed. 6 in OS map 1851 of Alverthorpe, Flanshaw & Low Laithes.
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Graphic17 - Fig.5. Map of Low Laithes farm and corn mill.
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The large barn was probably demolished in the fifties. In 1972 I was shown a photograph of a friends daughter taken up the lane above the club. She was stood by the open door of a car with the club in the background the barn had been demolished and there was a good view of the rear of the club premises and car park.

Over the previous six years I had become involved with the Wakefield Archaeological Research Group and had worked on one or two timber framed buildings. Looking at the photograph I could see the gable end of the stewards house. In the gable end 1 could see a tie beam, two principal uprights and a bressumer supporting the upper floor, positive proof that the stewards house was timber framed and dated from at least 1600. (see plate 6)

I made enquiries and found that the stewards premises were to be modernised so I asked if I could be allowed to survey the building and make isometric drawings of it, permission was duly given and I made arrangements to carry out the survey.

The Formation of Low Laithes Golf Club.

"The suggestion to form Low Laithes golf club was first mooted during the Autumn of 1924 and it took practical form after discussion amongst interested golfers in December of that year.

Flushdyke, near Ossett, was fixed upon as the site of the course and Dr. Mackenzie the well known golf architect, was commissioned to prepare a suggested plan adaptable to the land at the disposal of the club. After careful consideration the British Golf Course Construction Company was entrusted with the execution of the work under the supervision of Major Mackenzie, with Dr. Mackenzie as Chief adviser.

Such good progress was made that nine holes were ready for play in May, 1925 and the full course was first played on during September of 1926. This comparatively rapid completion is suggestive of a site well furnished with natural hazards and admirably suited to its purpose. "(From the official handbook of Low Laithes Golf Club 1935, page six).

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