20th Century Characters Rivers

Joe Green – Midget Submarine

About 15 years ago (2002) the late Joe Green of this village asked me to undertake research into his claim that he witnessed the passage of a mini submarine on the river Aire somewhere in Methley .

I did make some in depth enquiries at the time but I was unable to confirm such a journey. Joe always furthered the subject when we met, I suspect to overcome the disbelief of his claim by some of his tap room cynics, but again, no luck with the enquiries. He was however, able to tell me that it was called the ‘Sprat’.

Enquiries did reveal that there had been some five such vessels tied up in Hull docks in the 1950’s but no report of any inland waterway journeys.

In September this year (2017) quite by chance in Normanton library I came across the attached photograph in a book covering local canals where it was reported that the vessel was en route from Wakefield to Leeds and navigated on the surface of the canal for clearance purposes. The book was unable to confirm the date.

At this stage a conversation with Vera Garland at the weekly Archives gathering enabled me to call Joe’s daughter Joan in Lofthouse and relate the find to her. Joan was able to add more to the story claiming that as a young girl she also saw the vessel along with her father and others from the village watching it negotiating Kippax Locks.

Joan also added that the Rothwell Record had since reported the story and offered to provide me with a copy of their coverage.
Sorry Joe it’s all a bit late!

20th Century Characters

Mary Worrillow – Councillor

When Mary Willshaw of Methley Junction  married Frank Worrillow she may have been attracted by the uniform.  Mind she was herself to grace a uniform in later years when proudly carrying the British Legion banner to the November remembrance parade at Whitehall, all this after attending the British Legion evening service in the Albert Hall. She was of course one of their ardent supporters who included organising the distribution for poppy sales and collections.

Mary was to play a big role in pursuit of fairness and equality as a union official at Anson’s Brass Founders in Castleford.

That same zeal was to be transferred to her standing as a representative on Rothwell Council on behalf of the people of Methley.    It is here where I first came across Mary in about 1972/3 as chairman of Castleford Rugby Union Club.   Our application for planning permission had been declined which was to be the catalyst of obtaining a Sports Council Grant and securing the move to Whitwood.   Mary supported our revised proposition along with other members of the council sub committee.

Further roles on the council included approval for the construction of the Rothwell Sports Centre and her name can be found on the plaque in the entrance to that building.

No slouch, this lass – before taking up employment at Ansons she worked regularly with other local women, including Florrie Wright and Mary Croxall on the land for Huddlestones.

Mary also assisted as a voluntary helper with pensioners at their functions and trips. Fundraising was also on her itinerary for various charities including a role she took on with a group who provided breaks and pleasure by singing for hospital patients.   In addition she could be found working as a church cleaner with her sister-in-law.

Daughter Pauline assures me that her mother would not have pursued the move to demolish the rows at Methley Junction – her vision would have been to seek funding for the improvement of those houses in situ.

For relaxation away from all this, Mary and her sister in law enjoyed dressing up in jeans, check shirts and Stetsons and joined the YeeeeHaaa Country and Western afficionado scene.  I can just see them –    The Country and Western Worrillow Sisters with their guitars and songs.

How did she do all this  –  well it’s because she had great support from husband Frank and her daughters.