Thanks to the research of Margaret Gibson and information provided by Mary Warnes and others. To read Margaret’s history of Kiveton Park Village from 1900 see here. One of the most striking aspects of Kiveton Park and Wales are their distinctive buildings. From the Pit Manager’s house at Wales Bar in the West to Field House on Hard Lane in the East, this architecture offers excellent insights into how the area developed over the last 140 years and, in some cases, before.
Wales Bar has some of the most original and typical mining housing in South Yorkshire. The large manager’s house above where was Waleswood Colliery is as grand as it was back when it was built. The houses close by, which would have been reserved for senior men at the pit, have long gardens, spacious hallways and high ceilings. Because of the speed with which communities emerged and the need to be close to the pit, there are in very close proximity to these grander buildings classic miners’ rows: closely packed terraces which would have been filled by the men who worked at Waleswood. The most famous of these was ‘Pigeon Row’. Elsewhere around Wales Bar were many different buildings which have now gone, some of which were central to the pit community here, from shops to a meeting hall, and others that were much older, such as the thatched toll cottage, shown here:
As you go eastwards, you enter Wales Village, which includes some seriously old cottages, with distinctive names that have survived for centuries. Take Step Cottage opposite Wales Church or Rose Cottage on Manor Road.
Wales Church itself deserves a mention, for within its walls can be found architectural features from throughout the last 1,000 years, which show how the church was transformed with time but continued to play a central role in the lives of local people.
If you’re in the church take time to explore what was the original chapel on the north side, with its wooden beams and intriguing joists, and the intricate stone carvings around the south entry to the church. Across the road, the Duke of Leeds (formerly Leeds Arms) has many stories to tell; its now-demolished stable block is shown here. Wales Square has been transformed through this years, as this photograph taken before the war memorial was built shows.
At the bottom of Manor Road lies what used to be the Manor and Lodge.
The Manor was for many years a hospital and local people remember the ‘Manor Girls’ who walked to Emmersons’ each week. In this photo of Manor Road you can see the distinctive Manor rising in the distance. At the top of Wales Road was the Blacksmith’s forge, which has now been pulled down: an excellent example of a building that would have been vital to the village in a by-gone age.
On the road down into Kiveton Park, the large Limetree Estate is on the north side, built in the 1920s. The south-side was empty fields even when Limetree was built, although that’s difficult to imagine now. On the north side is what is known as the Walesmoor Estate, built partially of post-war pre-fabricated houses, that were supposed to be temporary but lasted into the 1970s as local people made them their own.
The photo here shows John Wells father with the extensive garden he cultivated. Beyond the Walesmoor Estate, as it is sometimes known, is a development of state-of-the-art homes.
What used to be there was very different: the White City, an estate of homes built to house the influx of miners who arrived to work at Kiveton Pit in the 1950s and 1960s, the history of which Julie Hanks has written about. The White City typified a mining community of seventy years before, hundreds of people from varied backgrounds and areas of the country thrown together in close proximity. Some of those who grew up on the White City have suggested they were looked down upon because they lived on the new estate.
The main shops in Kiveton have altered little structurally with time, but their usage has been transformed. Just glimpse above The Admiral chip shop, which has always been a chippy as far as many locals can remember, to the wonderful advert on the adjacent building.
Gone are the shops of yesteryear which local people remember so fondly, although both Kiveton and Wales retain an impressive number of small family shops. On the south side was the Regal Cinema, which had two different
incarnations and was a real centre of village social life before it was demolished. It’s now the Forge pub.
Similarly, where lies the large Co-op Supermarket was once a large and imposing Primitive Methodist Chapel. Looking over the Co-op from the east are the ‘New Rows’: terraces named after Dawson and Carrington, the men who were responsible for the sinking of the pit in 1866-7.
Close by is Colliery Road, or pit lane, the houses little changed for a hundred years, as this photo of the Wigmore family taken in around 1912 reveals. At the end of here was the pit with its very distinctive skyline and eclectic mix of architectural styles, a mishmash of buildings and structures stuck together when needed. Very different were the pithead baths and the Colliery Offices, both of which are still standing. The offices were built in 1872 and many of the internal fittings, including thick darkwood doors and staircases, are original. The clock tower retains its original workings, the clock faces still shine bright across the village: such a high clock-tower was of course deliberate, to ensure miners knew the time and would get to work when needed. The pithead baths were built from 1936. Their modernist design stands in stark, and some suggest unwelcome, contrast with the offices. Only time will tell what the future holds for these buildings. Over the bridge lie what were the big and little schools, now Kiveton Infants and the Community Centre.
Now towards the railway track is Victoria Court and retirement homes, but here was once the famous ‘Little Rows’: Albert, Victoria and Railway Terraces, a closely-knit community about which many former residents have spoken.
To the north of Station Road lies another mid-20th century set of housing as the road stretches eastwards towards Hard Lane Corner, but the frontage is older. The building on the corner of Hard Lane used to be Joey Lees Corner, a tally shop where miners would buy food and provisions.
Down Hard Lane towards Harthill are two distinctive buildings, both private homes now.
They were closely associated with the pit, which could be reached from Hard Lane before closure. Field House, opposite Tommy Flockton’s field, shown here looking towards the pit, has had many roles, including as a hospital, Methodist meeting place and lodging house.
Going in other directions from Hard Lane Corner are the distinctive 1930shouses of Red Hill and also the Todwick road. Here, as elsewhere in the village, can be found the unusual contrast of older homes and bungalows on one side with impressive new, if tightly-packed, new builds on the other. Around Keeton Hall Road and Viking Way live dozens of men who used to work at the pit, many of whom know each other and still pass the time together on Hard Lane Corner, as a picture from a few years ago shows. Up towards Todwick are the reminders of what was once a very impressive building indeed: Kiveton Hall, of which there is more information in our section entitled ‘Before the Pits’.