Looking Back On 1951 A Diary of District Affairs

December 1951

South Yorkshire Times, December 29th, 1951

Looking Back On 1951

A Diary of District Affairs

Short-Term History

Festival of Britain and General Election year has featured several major events in South Yorkshire: Wortley Rural Council’s successful opposition to the Sheffield extension bill; the April 8th national census; the mid-February rail crise the opening of Wortley Hall as a Labour recreational, educational and holiday home; dearer daily and evening papers, dearer ‘bus fares, applications for further increases, and generally higher rates.

The year has seen the centenary of the opening of what is now Wombwell Central Station, the Golden Jubilee of Denaby St. John Ambulance Brigade, the arrival of Italians in South Yorkshire to work in the mines, the introduction of double-deck  ‘buses on the Barnsley-Kilnhurst-Doncaster routes and of electric locomotives on the  Manchester-Penistone-Wath railway line. There was a temporary potato shortage in August–and a month of abnormal rain in November.

Here, in brief, are some of the more notable diary dates of 1951


The need for coal was still of major concern at the dawn of 1951 and it was announced early in January that crisis committees were to be set up throughout the Yorkshire coalfields to discuss methods of getting more coal from the county’s 114 pits.

Increases bus fares were foreshadowed; some came into operation on the Mexborough and Swinton Traction Company’s services.

Traffic note in January:_Double decker buses made their appearance in Mexborough — on the Barnsley Doncaster — Kilnhurst Doncaster Yorkshire Traction Company services.

Plans to extend the United ground at Millmoor to hold crowds of 40,000 were made known

There was a widespread epidemic of influenza; many cats were among the victims.

A special meeting of the Yorkshire Miners’ Council accepted a new wages agreement which gave an increase of 7s. a week to miners and other concessions. Feature of the early part of the year were suggestions for local celebrations of the Festival of Britain.

A three fold pit plan to improve the lot of miners at Kilnhurst was drawn up by the N.C.B.


Dearne’s “Elder Statesman,” Alderman George Probert. J.P. died aged 79. He had been a member of the County Council for 32 years and an Alderman since 1927.

The future of the 104 houses comprising the mining community of Concrete, Wombwell, was reported as “uncertain.” and talks took place between the N.C.R and Rotherham Rural Council to decide on their fate.

The out-croppers came to Hemingfield, and the Yorkshire County Schoolboy Boxing Championships were held in Mexborough for the first time.

It was announced that Mexborough Urban Council were planning an approach to Adwick-on-Dearne, for the voluntary amalgamation of the parish with Mexborough Urban District.

Rail crisis was the principal feature of mid-February. Following rejection of wage claims, rail-men struck in many parts of the country, including South Yorkshire.


It was announced that a giant workshop in course of construction at Manvers Main Colliery would replace existing outdated facilities. Other developments taking place included the ultimate construction of a new washing plant.

Mexborough Round Table received its charter.

Four women and two men attended an inaugural meeting for a Liberal Party branch in Swinton.

An application for permission to develop land required for a new Roman Catholic Church in Park Street, Wombwell, was granted by Wombwell U.D.C.

A Thurnscoe man was among the killed in a rail crash at Balby. It was announced that the film of Scott s novel “Ivanhoe,” would be studio-filmed.


In April Barnsley Football Club made a five-year arrangement for the use of Dearne Athletic ground or their Yorkshire League matches

Preliminary talks about a scheme to accommodate Mexborough’s “problem families” In “half way houses” were being conducted between Mexborough U.D.C. and the Divisional Medical Officer.

Jack Rutter, of Thurnscoe, was lost in the submarine Affray, with 74 comrades, when the vessel failed to surface from a dive.

The possibility of establishing a municipal public house was considered in Mexborough.

Yorkshire miners voted 5 to 1 in favour of continuing Saturday morning shifts to the end of May and for their resumption in the first week in September.


Special stamps were issued by the Post Office to mark the Festival of Britain.

Increased fares came into operation—and in-creases in the cost of newspapers

The “South Yorkshire Times’ series remained at 3d.

It was announced that two sites in Brampton Bierlow were to be prospected for opencast coal.

Preliminary talk about a scheme to accommodate Mexborough’s “problem families” in “half way houses” were being conducted between Mexborough U.D.C. and the Divisional Medical Officer,


Early in June three electric locomotives made trial runs on part of the new electrification scheme between Broomhill and Wath.

It was announced that Mexborough were planning to erect flats in Cemetery Road.

The “Sunday Films” Issue was debated in Wombwell.

The Yorkshire miners’ demonstration was held in Pontefract.


In July Swinton’s 500th post-war house was opened by Mr. Wilfred Paling, M.P. By a big majority in a ballot of members, the Yorkshire Colliery Winding Enginemen’s Association agreed to seek re-entry to the N.U.M.

There was savage storm damage at Aston and Woodhouse.

Scouts in South Yorkshire raised £2,500 during “Bob-a-Job” week.

An application to increase fares was submitted to the licensing authority and to the Ministry of Transport. This was in line with several bus companies in the area.


The first Italian miners arrived for South Yorkshire pits but workers at only a few pits accepted them

It was announced that Methodist Churches and Sunday Schools being built or planned in South Yorkshire during the next few years would cost at least £250,000.

Housewives had to queue for potatoes. Supplies quickly returned to normal.

The retirement in September of Mr. Fred Hawksworth, clerk to Dearne Urban Council, was announced. He had spent 44 years in local government in the Dearne area.

Holme Moss, the new television area transmitter, went on the air for the first time.

Four men lost their lives in a road accident at Conisbrough when a lorry overturned. Two died in hospital, two were killed outright.


Details of a £1,000 school project to give Swinton one of the most attractive nursery schools in South Yorkshire were outlined.

Mexborough shopping week was called off—also on the grounds of cost.

The foundation stone of the new Roman Catholic Church at Wombwell was laid.


Dale Brown’s, of Swinton, started large scale extensions to their works. It was announced that the West Riding County Council Health Committee were seeking approval to spend £1,670 in addition to an approved £5,000 on the adaptation of outbuildings at Dunford House for use as an ambulance depot.

The General Election was held on October 25th, returning a Conservative Government to power. Labour held South Yorkshire constituencies with the exception of Doncaster where the Conservative Candidate was elected.


In November a new operating theatre and X-ray department was opened at the Doncaster Gate Hospital. Rotherham.

It was announced that the Ministry of Fuel and Power had abandoned a proposal to start more opencast coal workings at Bolton-on-Dearne.

The Duke of Gloucester visited Sheffield Aston was listed as one of the possible sites for experiments in underground gasification of coal.

New pithead baths were opened at Brookhouse Colliery, Beighton, and at Dearne Valley Colliery, Wombwell

It was announced that within the next few weeks work was to commence on the £250,000 extension plan at Mexborough Montagu Hospital.

It was a month of abnormal rainfall.


In December elections were held at Dearne to fill vacancies caused on the Urban Council by the disqualification by a King’s Bench decision of 17 past and present members.

The Yorkshire Traction Company made a further application to increase fares.