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Haggs Hill Ossett - Queens Drive Dairy Farm

Haggs Hill Ossett.


Queens Drive Dairy Farm; Jeffrey Gill Wilby, Percy Wilby and Walter [Wally] Gill

I have mentioned above the land and buildings to the west of Haggs Hill Farm. Teall Court, built in the early 1970s, now stands on this site which, I suppose after the mid 1920s when Queens Drive was constructed went by the name of Queens Drive Dairy Farm. Prior to the mid 1920s the Farm would have been known by another name and, confusingly, it seems it was also sometimes referred to as Haggs Hill Farm. To avoid too much confusion I will refer to it as Queens Drive Dairy Farm. The site and the buildings thereon are shown below in a copy plan from one of the Deeds relating to the property. I have also briefly mentioned Jeffrey Wilby who was tenant farmer at Haggs Hill Farm from about 1960. His father was Percy Wilby and this part of the story examines their association, and that of Wally Gill, with Queens Drive Dairy Farm.

Below: Queens Drive Dairy Farm and 4 acres (shaded area in the Plan) purchased by Percy Wilby from Wally Gill in 1946.
As can be seen from the Plan Wally had owned more land to the north of Queens Drive. He purchased the Farm and 10 acres or so in 1924 but was to sell about 2 acres to Bennet Brooke in 1938 in part settlement it seems of a trade debt. The Brookes still hold this land adjacent to Spring Mill.

Queens Drive Dairy Farm 1946

The land and premises immediately to the south of the Farm were purchased by Percy Wilby in 1960.

7 and 9 Haggs Hill Road are shown on the left of the copy plan.

I haven't examined the existence, ownership and tenancy of the Dairy Farm prior to 1919 but maps show the buildings there in 1854 and there is reference to Haggs Farm in 1807.

In 1919 Records show that this land - approximately the 4 acres which now make up Teall Court and a further 6 acres or so on the north side of Queens Drive which is now housing and allotments- was in the ownership of the Board of Education and that on 4th July 1919 they agreed to sell the site. This must have been subject to the approval of the Charity Commission and this was granted on 26th March 1920.Approximately one month later [19 April 1920] George Chivers Bowers (?) and the Governors of Wakefield Grammar School sold the land to Jesse Birkinshaw. Within two months, on 30 June 1920, he sold the land to William Burton Etherington and on 10 April 1924 he was to sell the holding to Walter (Wally) Gill. Wally borrowed 660 GBP from the Halifax Building Society.

The following maps of 1854 show buildings on the site and those buildings appear in the same outline in 1972 as they did in 1854. It is certain these buildings and about 10 acres constituted a Farm from the 1920s and perhaps earlier. This being the case it is probable that a tenant farmer was renting the land and premises from the Board of Education. Interestingly the 1807 Ossett Inclosure Order shows Haggs Lane named as Governor Road. This was perhaps the case due to the adjacent land ownerships by the Board of Education and also perhaps because it was a route to the Alverthorpe Workhouse and, it is believed, Wakefield Grammar School which was at one time based in Lupset Hall.

It seems probable that Walter or Wally Gill and/or Percy Wilby worked Queens Drive Dairy Farm for the next 35 years or so but the record suggests that Wally may have had a few problems making ends meet. In 1933 Wally has a second mortgage on the Farm in favour of Frederick Brook (of Sowood Farm) and on Frederick's death in or about 1938 this debt was transferred to his Trustees including Bennet Brook. The relationship with Bennet appears to have continued for some time and in 1942 a record shows a mortgage transfer involving Wally, Bennet Brook and the Halifax Building Society. This refers to Wally Gill as being "late of Haggs Hill, Ossett, now of 62 King Street Batley Carr Grocer and Provision Merchant, the mortgagor" and Bennet is described as being a Farmer and Cattle Dealer of Sowood Farm.." the second mortgagee". The Halifax were the first mortgagees.

This document refers to the Farm as follows "All that Farm situate at Haggs Hill Ossett with the Farmhouse outbuildings and premises being 10 acres 1 rood and 4 perches late in the occupation of the mortgagor but now of Percy Wilby excepting for 2 Acres and 3533 sq yds sold to Bennet Brook of Ossett"

In 1946 (30 April 1946 - ref 1946 70 386 176) Walter Gill sold (part) of Queens Drive Dairy Farm to Percy Wilby, Jeff Wilby's father. In that Deed Wally is described as being of 65 Manor Road a Grocer and Provision Merchant and Percy Wilby is shown as being of the Dairy Farm at Queens Drive Ossett aforesaid farmer. Wally ... "has agreed to sell - for 1000 GBP - all that Farm situate at Haggs Hill and abutting upon Queens Drive with the farmhouse outbuildings and premises containing 4 acres or thereabouts now in the occupation of the purchaser-is part of the property conveyed to the vendor on the 10th April 1924 by William Burton Etherington". Percy borrowed 800 GBP from the Halifax Building Society. At the same time in 1946 the record shows "Walter Gill, Dairyman, of Hollies Farm Teall Street" discharging his £917-00-10d mortgage to the Halifax Building Society. Wally's second mortgage with the Brooks was discharged at the same time ( no amount is mentioned.)

Jeffrey Gill Wilby was born at Haggs Hill Farm on 26th September 1932. I believe his place of birth may have been the Queens Drive Dairy Farm although it is possible that his parents were in one of the cottages at Haggs Hill Farm. As far as I am aware they were not living in the Haggs Hill Farmhouse. Queens Drive was being built around the mid/late 1920s and so the Farm may not have been known as such at the time of Jeff's birth in 1932.

It is clear from some of the above Deeds that Percy was at the Dairy Farm prior to buying it from Wally Gill in 1946. I have often wondered where the "Gill" came from in Jeff's name and it seems likely that there was a close family relationship, maybe as friends or maybe as relations which led to Jeff carrying the name "Gill". The documentary evidence (Jeff Wilby's Birth Certificate and some of the Deeds) show Percy - described as a Dairyman - and "Dora" Wilby (nee Isadora Sykes ) working on the Farm from 1933 and it may be that he was there much earlier. Maybe Percy was there from the time that Wally Gill bought it in 1924.

Around the time Percy bought the Farm in 1946 it seems he was buying, and selling, property elsewhere in the vicinity. In September 1945 Percy Wilby "of Queens Drive Dairy Farm" does a deal with Harold Parkinson, Fish Fryer of 55 Park Square which costs Percy £310. He buys land on Manor Road with two cottages - numbers 46 and 48 - occupied by the Hartley and Hetherington families. Mr Parkinson had bought this land from S Broadhead Nettleton on 31 May 1944. In addition, on 1st October 1945 he pays out another £340 to buy land at Haggs Hill Road off Queens Drive- "with three cottages or dwellinghouses outbuildings conveniences and gardens erected there being numbers 13,15 and 17 Haggs Hill Road" occupied by families Whitelock, Merryweather and Stringer. In January 1947 Percy sells numbers 46 and 48 Manor Road and 13,15 and 17 Haggs Hill Road to Cyril Hargreaves of Thorneycroft manor Road Ossett. The Memorial of the Deed is silent on the price paid to Percy.

In May 1955 Percy is back on the market and this time "Percy Wilby of Haggs Hill Farm" pays £200 for number 10 Haggs Hill Road. He buys the property from the sons of the previous owner, Albert Wilkinson, who had left the property in his Will to his sons Leonard and Albert Edward Wilkinson. Number 10 was one of a pair of semi detached cottages for the Deed specifies that the privy is to be available to those living at number 8 Haggs Hill Road. Percy is getting the hang of this property lark and later in 1955 he sells number 10 to Joseph Martin for £350 making £150 profit (on his £200 outlay) in the process. In addition, in February1950 he had bought a small piece of land (1733 sq yards) at Flushdyke and in late 1955 he was to sell this to Mary Hemingway.

Encouraged by his forays into the property market in 1959 Percy buys 12 Haggs Hill Road from Albert Ernest Marshall, a Railway Shunter. The land extends to 2 roods and 39 perches (about ¾ of an acre) and it was purchased by Albert Marshall in 1922 (13 January) from Thomas Brooke, Robert Ingham Tidswell of the first part and Watson Hirst of the second part. This is most probably the land and property into which Percy moved in 1960 when he was to sell Queens Drive Dairy Farm.

On 15th July 1960 Percy (or as one reference has it, Peter) Wilby sells Queens Drive Dairy Farm and 4 acres to Peter Birkinshaw presumably at agricultural values. Eleven years later, 6th December 1971, Peter Birkinshaw sells the same to Tay Developments for the construction of approximately 60 dwellings.

In Summer 1960 it seems likely that Percy moved to his new home at 12 Haggs Hill Road with its ¾ of an acre of land - since demolished to make way for 7 houses - and Jeff Wilby took over the tenancy of the adjacent Haggs Hill Farm. Jeff was to remain as tenant, having twice turned down the opportunity of purchasing Haggs Hill Farm, for about 30 years until his death there in 1990. As reported earlier Alan (as Jeff's executor) and Pat Howe together with Pauline Blackburn were to hold the tenancy from July 1990 until about July 1992 whilst the NCB considered the future of Haggs Hill Farm. The Farm and about 5 acres were subsequently sold in Summer 1992.

Jeff Wilby's tenancy of Haggs Hill Farm and [then] about 19 acres appears to have commenced in 1961and included some land (about 7 acres) which was to the east of the M1 built in the mid/ late 1960s. This land, now playing fields to the west of the Holiday Inn (built in the early 1970s as The Albany) was set back from Queens Drive and did not include the land directly adjacent to Queens Drive. The 7 acres or so appears to have been sub- let by Jeff to his father Percy who was working Queens Drive Dairy Farm. This sub- letting was terminated in about 1961 shortly after Percy sold the Dairy Farm and moved into number 12 Haggs Hill Road. It appears that NCB plans for additional tipping around that time, and no doubt the early planning for the M1, would have cut off these fields that did not have a frontage on to Queens Drive and would no longer be accessible from the fields more adjacent to the Farm.

In 1961 the NCB submitted a Planning Application to enable them to extend their tipping of Pit waste - "slag heaps". It seems the intention was that additional tipping would extend on to the land where Haggs Hill Farm stood. A Planning Application was submitted but as the NCB stated in a letter of September 1961 "- the application is to safeguard the Board's interests in view of the proposed motorway". Perhaps it never was their intention to cover the Farm in tip waste. At the time I doubt that was much consolation to Jeff Wilby who would have seen it as the end of his tenancy and his home at Haggs Hill.

In 1963 it seems that Jeff sought to amend his tenancy by seeking the removal of the 7 acres of the land though it appears the NCB were reluctant to do this unless they could let the land to others. One suggestion was that it be let to Bill Ward who lived on South Parade and was to operate Riding Stables on Manor Lane Ossett. (Now at Middlestown). This seems to have been arranged by June 1963. In August 1964 the Ministry of Transport was arranging access to 2.92 acres of Jeff's tenancy for the purposes of constructing the Motorway and in November 1964 this amount of land was removed from Jeff's tenancy. This was presumably because the Ministry of Transport purchased the 2.92 acres from the NCB for the M1 construction. In 1964 Jeff (" Lorry Driver") was still the tenant of Haggs Hill Farm but now with 16.5 acres and paying annual rent of £64.10s.He was sub-letting the whole of the holding to " B Brooke and Son" for £32 per annum.

It must have been shortly thereafter that the tenancy was reviewed to reflect the removal and sale of the 9.93 acres referred to above. This would have Jeff with about 9 acres to the south of Queens Drive. At some stage the NCB added 4.4 acres to the north of Queens Drive into Jeff's tenancy making up the 13.5 acres or so in his tenancy at the time of his death in 1990. As indicated elsewhere the NCB sold the Farm and 9.16 acres to a private owner in 1992 and the 4.4 acres were sold to a property company in the mid 1990s.

Before that though the NCB in 1972, no doubt noting the proposed Teall Court development, submitted their own application for residential development on the Farmhouse and the 9 acres or so of land to the south of Queens Drive. Of course that never happened - not yet anyway [2008].

Haggs Hill


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