LETTER: Silent death of our iconic town

Dewsbury Town Centre.
Dewsbury Town Centre.

Dewsbury’s history is truly amazing, even mentioned in William the Conquerers Domesday book.

The following hundred years saw massive changes.

The 20th century brought immense prosperity to the town.

Known as the “Heavy Woollen District” we saw the emergence of giant mills producing high quality products like carpets and blankets with customers across the globe.

Even the military were supplied with uniforms for our troops during the war.

Margaret Watson, our local journalistic historian, brings much of this history to life in her regular features in the local press which highlights the trials and tribulations the people of Dewsbury and surrounding districts saw during the communities heyday.

The town had three railway stations at one time in order to satisfy over 65 trains a day, carrying passengers to and from the town.

Truly a valuable centre of commerce.

Sadly, global stability and cheap imports saw some of the mills close with the loss of many skilled textile jobs.

However, as a thriving Yorkshire town the post war building project secured employment for the vast majority and Dewsbury maintained it’s prominence as an influential centre.

1974 was the year Dewsbury County Borough was no more; merging with Kirklees Metropolitan Council was the vision for a successful future.

It was felt that a “larger” county council would encourage a higher degree of investment and opportunity.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen a mirror image of the European Union on a smaller scale where whole communities across the land have become areas of deprivation with little hope for change, especially in the North and Midlands.

Investment over the last 40 years has mainly gone to Huddersfield and beyond.

This is the “powerhouse” of Kirklees.

A university town, extended and successful shopping malls, cafe’s, restaurants.

The place is buzzing.

Dewsbury, on the other hand, has seen little investment during those 40 years.

Not even a shopping mall, as promised.

On the contrary, more than a quarter of the shops are empty, we’ve lost our county court, our magistrates court to where? Huddersfield.

Our central police station is on limited hours with Huddersfield calling the shots.

If you want to take a train to Manchester Airport where do you have to catch it?

You’ve guessed, Huddersfield.

Even our Dewsbury General Hospital, being massively downgraded saw little opposition from our Kirklees councillors, even when I warned them, all 68 of them, Huddersfield would be next.

Kirklees have systematically ripped the very heart from this once vibrant and prosperous town.

I now hear that even our heritage, our history and our fountain of historical importance is to be lost forever through the closure of our wonderful Museum in Crow Nest Park.

Is nothing sacred to these people.

Yes, parts of the building have fallen into disrepair but, I’m reliably informed that, the insurance company paid a substantial amount of money to repair the damage but, as always with Kirklees, these “repair” funds appear to have been absorbed into other projects giving them the excuse to close it.

The museum serves at least nine different schools in the area across the age spectrum teaching these youngsters that Dewsbury has a history to be proud of and has a valiant and prodigious past.

Dewsbury deserves better.

Our local councillors make courageous efforts to fight our corner but, with such powerful resources working against them, I fear for the towns future.

What’s next to go?

Our Town Hall, our Parks, our recreational areas?

Who knows? Only the mighty and dominant Kirklees bureaucrats.

Sent in by John Sheen, Moor Park Lane, Dewsbury