On Saturday 3rd July 2021 the Society held its AGM. Once the formalities were completed members were treated to a slide show depicting scenes from Wakefield’s past. Chris Welch, our chairman, with permission from Mike Hooley of the Outwood Video Club, presented a series slides of photos, paintings and moving films with background music. The first series consisted of a number of photos of the streets in the city centre and suburbs from the Edwardian period. Some scenes appeared to have hardly changed others had disappeared or had been given modern facelift. Some members will recall The Six Chimneys where a modern store is now in its place on Kirkgate, the Technical and Art College on Wood Street and Bishop Garth off Westfield Road and now being developed into a new housing estate. Chris had the help of his son to provide background music with a solo singer giving a rendition of ‘I’m Yorkshire Man.’
The next film depicted scenes of street, parks and public buildings filmed in the 70s and 80s. This was followed by a film on Wakefield’s 99 arches of the railway viaduct that cuts through the city. Finally, Joan Hackney, a member of the Outwood Video Club, provided a journey through ‘The Great Outwood.’ The film gave a potted history of the suburb to the north of the city centre with some location scenes around its park and busy scenes cut through by Leeds Road.
If anyone is interested in looking at more films provided by the Outwood Video Club then go online to: MrHooley21.
Our next meeting is on the 7th August when our guest speaker will be David Annal and ‘The Enumerator Strikes Back.’
On Saturday 5th June our guest speaker was Deborah Scriven, our Society’s President. Deborah had carried out research on the history of Wood Street in Wakefield for Leeds University and had concentrated on the Exhibition held there in 1865.
After the success of the London Crystal Palace exhibition of 1851, worthies of Wakefield decided that such an event would showcase local industries and encourage innovation and development of skills in industry and the arts. There would also be an added benefit in that many would be gainfully employed.
The site chosen was an open space between the Mechanic’s Institute and the Court House on Wood Street. It is the site where the Town Hall is now located. A committee was formed to organize the exhibition and raise funds for a temporary construction for the exhibition hall.
Exhibits were provided mainly from the Wakefield and West Riding area though some came from further afield. Exhibits included paintings and drawings and depicted industrial scenes and items that were created or used locally eg glass, china, carriages, a telescope, quilted bed covers, musical instruments, machine tools, paintings and sculptures. There were even paintings from Turner, Atkinson Grimshaw and local artist Louise Fennel! Neighboring textile towns provided examples of shoddy, rag pullers and there were individual offerings of basket work, needlework and even a crayon portrait of the human head!
Lectures were also a feature that were provided by local industrialists, representatives from the Church and local school bodies
Prizes were awarded which included First class and Second class medals and there were First and Second class Certificates of Merit.
The exhibition ran for forty days and visitor numbers exceeded 180,000 people. The exhibition was deemed a great success and even a substantial profit was made.