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discover wakefield's history

Discover the rich and interesting history of Wakefield

Apart from the information below, more about Wakefield's history can be discovered by contacting us,

Wakefield Local Studies Library at Wakefield One, and West Yorkshire Archives hold large collections of books, documents and maps, see: Links

Wakefield World War One Roll of Honour. Steve Slade has compiled a database of names for the Wakefield Roll of Honour by researching the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and census records, and has given permission for the Society to host it here. It is for information only, and should not be copied or reproduced in any form. If you wish to contact Steve Slade, please email: and we will pass your query on. 

These articles can be downloaded to save and read later.

The Elephant and the Wakefield Tradesmen's Benevolent Institution. Find out about the grand parade that took place in 1882, and the elephant and camels that were part of the procession.

A Guide to Historical Buildings in Wakefield A brief guide to the many historical buildings that still exist in Wakefield

Timeline of Wakefield in the 20th Century by Kate Taylor. These were originally written for the Wakefield Express newspaper in 1999. Not all decades are included.
The 1920s, The 1930s, The 1950s, The 1960s, The 1970s, The 1980s, The 1990s.

Walk About Lupset, by Kate Taylor, originally written in 2007

Some Key Dates in the History of Wakefield by Kate Taylor.

Entertainment in some of Wakefield’s public houses and inns, by Kate Taylor. Find out where you could have watched cock-fighting, played bagatelle or dominoes, or listened to a Polyphon in the past.

Wakefield's Westgate Stations by Ian Kyle and Kate Taylor.
An account of the three stations that were opened in 1856, 1867 and 2013

Wakefield and its surroundings from John Warburton's Map of Yorkshire 1720
The map of Yorkshire, made in 1720 by John Warburton, Somerset Herald, F.R.S., F.S.A., was made to a scale of two and a half miles to an inch from a survey by compass bearings and measured distances. It shows the road system, rivers, churches, major houses and their estates, windmills and distances.

Dr J W Walker, the Churchwarden. Dr J W Walker is well-known as the writer of a history of Wakefield, and as a doctor, but Kate Taylor has researched his contribution as a churchwarden at the Cathedral.

Floods at Westgate Common. Notes compiled by Ian Kyle and Kate Taylor. The historical background to the floods that have often occurred at Westgate Common leading to the recent works on a new culvert by the Environment Agency.

The Benedictines at Heath by Ron Mulroy
The story of the nuns who settled at Heath having escaped from revolutionary France in 1792, and whose memory lives on in the gravestones at Kirkthorpe Church.

1913, Wakefield Corporation embarks on the provision of council houses by Kate Taylor. The first plans for new housing for the working classes originated in 1913, leading to the building of the first houses in 1920 following the war.

The 1913 Dispensary for the care of people with Tuberculosis by Kate Taylor.
The events leading up to the opening of the dispensary at Almshouse Lane, and the leasing of the hospital at Carr Gate for a sanatorium.

Wakefield goes Pop by Peter Wood. E.P. Shaw and the mineral water industry in Wakefield.

350 Years Ago, the Act of Uniformity and some of its local Repercussions by John Goodchild. The ministers who chose to leave their churches as they could not conform, and the congregations who supported them.

Charles Dickens in Wakefield by Kate Taylor. His visit in 1858 to give a reading of 'A Christmas Carol' at the Corn Exchange

Wakefield and the Titanic Disaster by Kate Taylor. A Wakefield traveller on the ship, and Wakefield's response to the disaster.

The Royal Visit to Wakefield, July 1912 by Deborah Scriven. The visit by King George V and Queen Mary to Wakefield and the businesses they visited.

The Luddite Risings of 1812 by Ken Rowley. The rising of the textile workers, and the attack on Fosters Mill at Horbury Bridge.

When Wakefield prospered as an inland port by John Goodchild. The development of the Navigation and the many businesses that lined the waterfront.

The Building that might have been the Town Hall by Kate Taylor. The opening of the Public Rooms in 1823 and the many uses they have had since - library, savings bank, Mechanics Istitute, music saloon, public baths, and most recently as the town's museum.











Warburton's Map of 1720
public rooms
The Public Rooms
Thornes Wharf