The Nostalgia column with Margaret Watson: Making way for the dual carriageway at Westtown

THIS week I am showing a selection of pictures which I hope former residents and shopkeepers in Westtown will appreciate.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 2:00 pm
Huddersfield Road where all the properties were demolished to make way for a dual carriageway. The lady in blue is standing in the doorway of Archer’s shoe shop – the last to be demolished.

They show what was happening in the 1960s when the dual carriageway in Huddersfield Road was being built and also the disruption it caused to many people’s lives.

The story these pictures tell is not so much of a road-widening scheme, but of the loss of a way of life, and in some cases, the loss of livelihoods.

A dual carriageway was needed for this stretch of road, no argument there, but it was still a sad time for many.

This photo was taken when half the properties had been demolished. Note the rubble on the other side of the road. St Paulinus Church can be seen in the far distance.

The last shop to be demolished belonged to Geoffrey Dawson, manager of Archer’s Shoe shop in Westtown.

While the demolition was going on, he decided to take photographs of the little row of shops and the surrounding area.

The side of the road opposite his shop was the first to be demolished, and you can see some of the rubble left behind.

Geoffrey’s son, Robin, who was featured in this column last week, has kindly allowed me to use some the photographs.

The embankment at the bottom of Huddersfield Road. The road to be widened can be seen clearly here.

His father’s shop is the one where a lady dressed in blue is standing at the door.

During the 1960s a number of places of architectural interest were lost to road widening schemes in Dewsbury – the ancient Moot Hall in the town centre to name but one.

Fortunately, St Paulinus Church and St Matthew’s nearby were spared because they were further back from the road.

These pictures speak louder than words, which is why I’m writing less so that more space will be allowed for them.

Margaret Watson.

I’m sure there will be many old residents of Westtown who will remember this area well, and will be able to name most of the shops and pubs there.