Fire Station Site Gives Up Its Secrets

Clearing the site for a new Co-op, has uncovered more than was bargained for.

Thanks to John Huxley and David Pearson, we have a very interesting item about Haworth Yard as builders move into the old Fire Station site. David takes up the story.

Everyone will be familiar with the site of the former Haworth Fire Station, which has been referred to in the past as being at one time the KWVR’s Haworth Cattle Dock. This is incorrect, as little cattle traffic came to or from Haworth, although Oakworth and Oxenhope had quite a lot.

In fact, the Fire Station was built on the site of the KWVR’s Stone Yard, from which annually, a huge tonnage of stone from the quarries behind Haworth, mostly on Penistone Hill, was shipped away by rail. The first year that we have figures for is 1872 when 1,322 tons of mostly millstone grit were exported from the Haworth quarries. All the valley quarries are shown on the map below.

There was similar traffic from Ingrow (the quarries around the Guide Inn, above Hainworth, Oakworth (the Branshow quarries) and Oxenhope, where there were a number dotted around the moors.

The traffic kept up reaching a total of 13,264 tons at Haworth in 1903, but tailed off towards the Grouping when it was down to 3,700 tons (imperial). The drop was due mostly to post World War 1 motor lorry competition although some quarries closed in the first two decades of the century.

The Stone Dock at Haworth was built with the rest of the railway in 1862-6 when it was a mere platform alongside the branch new Station Road. When the Midland acquired the branch freehold and took over the KWVR company in 1886, one of the first improvements that it did was to rebuild Haworth Yard, closing the access by rail from the station end, and installing the sidings that faced Oxenhope to prevent runaways. The present Goods Shed was part of this remodelling. The comparative plans are set out below although the date on the upper on is now known to be incorrect, as it shows the yard as it was in 1867. By 1885 some additional access had already been provided at the Oxenhope end, and Bridge 27 had been rebuilt as a result.

It can be seen that the Stone Dock was rebuilt as part of the Yard remodelling, probably about 1894. The 1919 map shows two cranes, one 15 tons and one 10 tons that were installed by the MR when the dock was extended to its present size as part of the remodelling.

The building works currently taking place on the Fire Station site has uncovered the access road from the corner of Bridgehouse Lane and Station Road and the massive base of the 15 ton crane. This colossal structure, installed by the MR’s Signal Department to hold the crane that it built. The base of the 10 ton crane is presumably still to be discovered, as the builders have not yet dug on the site.

The builders have found quite a lot of other information about the site, including the fact that most of it is built of ash, presumably from either Keighley or Manningham Sheds on the MR.