Faces from Ackworth's Past

Introducing our gallery of people who are sadly no longer with us, but are remembered for the role, however large or small, which they played in our lovely village 

If you have a photo and a short piece of information about someone from Ackworth's past who you feel deserves to be added to our gallery then please email us at admin@ackworthcommunityhub.co.uk 


Charles Atkinson  Butcher

Charles was a butcher and had his shop next door to the bank at the car park end of Bell Lane (Now converted into the garage of a house). This photo of Charles Atkinson was one of the last one's taken of him before he died in the 1970s. The photo below shows Charles on the right. (provided by his Grandson Richard Laybourn)


Arthur Burton

Mr James Arthur Burton was the headmaster of Bell Lane School from about 1938-1956.

In the First World War he served in the Royal Artillery and was awarded the Military Medal for bravery. 

After the war he trained as a teacher and following posts in South Kirkby and Bentley was appointed headmaster of Upton Senior School in 1930, before returning to be head at Bell Lane, which he had attended as a child.

He was a member of Ackworth Parish Council and a founder member of the Ackworth branch of TocH. 

(Information provided by his great niece - Elaine Roberts)


Jane Carlile

A true community ambassador. Mrs Carlile, or 'Mum' Carlile (as she was known to many of us) was always there to help her friends and neighbours whenever needed. Nothing was too much trouble for her - even helping to deliver a baby or two. 

She worked in the canteen at Brackenhill Further Education Centre (Old Brackenhill school) during the 70s.

(Photo - grandson Stephen Carlile)

Ron Curtis 1935 - 1997

Remembered with much fondness, by so many, Ron was Postmaster at Brackenhill Post Office from 1973 until1994.

Ron always greeted every customer by name, chatting, counting out money, stamping receipts, filling out forms, always keeping the queue moving and always with a smile. 

Ron with wife and Post Office partner, Deanna on their final day at Brackenhill Post Office.  (Photo's provided by daughters Tracey & Gaynor)


RSM John William 'Billy' Deal XRH         1915-1980

RSM - Regimental Sergeant Major and XRH - Tenth Royal Hussars
of mount pleasant, used to have the pubs in hysterics with his jokes.
(Photos provided by Granddaughter Kaye Bennett and Grandson John Bielby)


Bill & Florrie Denton

During WW2 Bill Denton was in the RAF.  He later worked for Hinnits Bakery (then on Wakefield road) in Ackworth. He would often be seen with Joe Moxon on the Sunday weekly walk to Top Club via British Legion. 
Florrie Denton was a housewife and brought up 3 girls, Audrey (who owned the hair salon at the six shops ) Leah and Carole (who worked at, then later owned the hair salon at the six shops) All the family lived on Collage Terrace. until the 1970s
(Photo provided by Grandson Ken Reeve)




Doctors McRoberts, Brierley and McWilliam

It seemed appropriate to group together these three doctors who for many years served us so well in Ackworth. They shared all the shifts, including evening and weekend calls, made home visits as well as running a clinic in Thorpe Audlin. The village was much smaller in their days though. They knew all their patients and often asked after the health of other family members whenever you bumped into them around the village. (Photos from Ackworth Archive collection)

Dr John McRoberts - 26 years at Ackworth surgeries, retiring in 1974

Dr Thomas Brierley - 40 years at Ackworth surgeries, retiring in 1988

Dr Peter McWilliam - came to Ackworth 'Macs Shack' tin hut Surgery  in 1963, retiring in 1991.


Dr Mc William was known for his love of vintage cars and each year drove the Gala Queen in the annual Gala procession in one of his cars.

Parish magazine and newsletter tributes to Dr McWilliam can be found here


Victor Albert England and Ruth England

'Victor Albert England, Ackworth man born and bred. He lived for a while "down t'rock" in his younger years with his uncle Billy (William). Later he married Ruth Henson and in their retirement years they ended up at Chiltern Drive. I believe Ruth was in the Land Army at some point.

Victor, although equally known by both first names was a member of the Harriers for 50yrs, and in the cutting below, (dating to the late 70s) he won the Lawton Cup 3 times which meant he could keep it.  The cup has been passed down to his eldest and hence to the next eldest in family. The Lawton Cup was an annual race organised by the Harriers. 

He was a marathon runner in his day and won various prizes (no monetary award in them days) one being a canteen of cutlery. He was also a regular at the Ackworth half-marathon, originally running and then as a supporter, occasionally opening the event.

These are my grandparents'.  

Lisa Mitchell




George Henson 

George Albert Henson, Greengrocer, came to Ackworth from Devon sometime before 1881 with his wife Matilda (Quaintance) and lived at the Watering Troughs. His descendants are in Ackworth to this day. 

(Information and photo provided by Lisa Mitchel)

Bessie Hanson (1922 - 2017)

Bessie is probably best remembered for running Johnson's Garage between 1956 and 1976 when she would come hurrying out to serve petrol to customers who drove onto the forecourt and many children calling into her little sweet shop on their way home from school.

As seen in the first photo she served in the WAAFs and the second photo shows her on the day she was invited to the Queen's Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

(Photos provided by niece Carole Marsh)

George Hepworth

Ex RAF serviceman George, was an active member of the Ackworth & Pontefract branch of the Royal British Legion for many years.

He was a keen historian and collector of old photographs and maps and one project he undertook was to research the delayed action bomb which killed 6 men and a boy over Hessle and to help raise funds to have the names inscribed onto the memorial stone.  George voluntarily tended the memorial on Went Lane, near the site of the explosion, regularly clearing and planting the area then in later years helped arrange for there to be some paving, handrails and better access to the memorial across the ditch from the road.

A true Gent.  

(Photo provided by daughter Davina Charles)

Arthur & Elizabeth Horsley

The photo below shows Arthur and Elizabeth on their retirement after being caretakers at Bell Lane School for 10 years. Arthur, who was born in Ackworth, started work at Hemsworth Colliery when he was 13 years old. He then worked at Camplin's Quarries, first as a labourer, before becoming a grindstone turner where he stayed for 40 years. He became Caretaker, and his wife Elizabeth Assistant Caretaker at Bell Lane School in 1963.

(Photo provided by- Granddaughter Angie)



Peter Johnson 1927-1999

Living most of his married life at Oakleigh (opposite Electric Theatre) and working as a motor engineer, Peter was known for founding and being secretary for Ackworth Amateur Rugby League Club in the 1960s, during which time they reached the first round of the Challenge cup against Wakefield Trinity. 

As part of his role with the Rugby club, he and wife Betty ran the Youth Club and organised the annual Rugby Club Beauty Queen Competition as well as Gala's on Carr Bridge Playing Field and many fundraising events. He built and maintained the Rugby changing rooms which were alongside the Boot & Shoe and housed a huge concrete bath for players after their game (Quite a trek on foot from Carr Bridge fields!) After retiring as chief engineer at Linpac Plastics in Featherstone, he ran a picture framing business as part of Oakleigh Crafts, before finally retiring to Turkey where he died after only 7 years. (Photo by daughter Carole Marsh)




Harry Miles (1931-2016)

Well known Ackworth historian and photographer.

Harry was a valued member of Ackworth & District Heritage Group and a keen photographer, who's images were used in all the Ackworth books. Indeed most of the many thousands of photographs circulating the history and heritage pages on social media were taken by Harry. 

Well deserving of the blue plaque on the house where he lived in Low Green, Low Ackworth.

Harry passed away peacefully at home on September 28th, 2016 aged 85 years.

(Photos from Ackworth Archive collection with permission from son Martin Miles)

Joseph Morton (1834/5 - 1916) Carrier and Postman

JOSEPH MORTON -  POSTMAN AND CARRIER  (written by David Simmonds)           

(It would be amazing if anyone has a photograph of Joseph)

In 1862, Joseph Morton, became the rural postman for Ackworth, and travelled twice from Pontefract to Ackworth and back each day, making collections and deliveries.

For the first nine months he did his rounds - said to amount to about thirty five miles a day - on foot.

To supplement the wage he received from the Post Office, for delivering and collecting letters, which was 13s (65p) a week, Joseph ran a private business as a carrier of parcels.

After that nine months of walking, Joseph moved from Ackworth to a house in Pontefract, where the postal headquarters were, and bought a pony and trap, by which to continue to provide his services for the people of Ackworth.

On the afternoon of Tuesday 20 February 1883, in the school room at Ackworth, the rector, Rev Canon Falloon, presented Joseph with a purse containing 25 sovereigns and an illuminated address in recognition of his faithful service. (Wakefield & WR Herald 24 February 1883). 

That's a huge amount of recognition in today's values.

In 1883, Joseph, or Josey as the locals called him, became postman for Ackworth only, and retired from the Post Office with a pension around 1888.

He then devoted himself to the business of carrier and newsagent.

1912 marked the half century, of course, of his connection with Ackworth as a postman and carrier.

As recalled by the Yorkshire Evening Post on 31 May 1912 - His yellow cart and white pony were well remembered by the people of Ackworth.

A local schoolgirl once wrote of his seemingly ageless red and jolly face, with his clothing varying only slightly over the years - ‘generally wearing a light overcoat, and a red waistcoat ornamented by a guard from which two massive seals are suspended. A light-coloured bowler constitutes his headgear, and in rainy weather this is adorned with a red handkerchief twisted round the brim’.

The village was proud of its carrier.

Joseph continued to live in the same house in Freeman's Yard, Pontefract, where he'd moved to when he left Ackworth.

On 16 December 1916, at the age of 85, he passed away at his daughter's home in High Ackworth. (Leeds Mercury 19 December 1916).  Joseph was laid to rest in plot B1257 at Pontefract Cemetery three days later'.

Only a snippet, but I hope you enjoyed it.' (David Simmonds)

Len Moxon, (1896-1980)

Len Moxon (senior) lived at Mill House, Mill Dam Farm. He lost his left hand and part of a finger on his right hand in the 1st world war as a result of being caught by shrapnel. After his recovery he worked as a warehouse man at Vaux Bros agricultural suppliers in Pontefract. For many years in addition to working on his smallholding and running Mill Dam Cricket Club together with his 2 sons, Leonard (Len) and Sydney (Sid). The photo shows him with his elderly retired pit pony, Tony and his beloved Alsatian guard dog, Kim.


Eric North 1893-1964

Eric North, born 1893 in Ackworth, served in Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry during 1st World War.  Adopted son of John North, farmer & butcher of Bell Lane. Married Edith 'Annie' Jones, 3 children, John, Joyce b1934 (my mum) & Brenda. He died 28th February 1964. Pictured here with his 2 dogs on his 21st birthday. 

 (By Granddaughter, Lorraine Derrett)



Ada Pritchard (Born 1919)

Remembered for her work in church, including being the church organist and playing at many Ackworth couples weddings.  She lived for many years down Dicky Sykes Lane and later in a bungalow in Ryddings.  (Photo taken from Ackworth social media pages)



Bill & Leah Reeve (nee Denton)

Bill, on leaving national service, worked for Youngs Builders and later with Round and Graham as a joiner at Bracken hill.

Leah worked at the sewing factory, Bracken Hill (now the gym) then later at  Ackworth School.

They lived with son Ken and daughters Suzanne and Amanda in several places during their long and happy marriage, one being the left hand part of Cleveland Lodge on Wakefield Road followed by Holts Cottage on Bell Lane, which Bill of course renovated, putting his joinery skills to good use.

(Photo by son Ken Reeve)

Ken Round 

Ken formed Round and Graham builders and joiners after his joiners apprenticeship with Youngs whom he bought out in the 50s .The workshops were on the quarry top Bracken hill (behind Robinsons and Cyril Rhodes garages) and employed many Ackworth tradesmen. Ken sadly passed away in 1962.  His wife Audrey, today lives in Snaith, but owned the popular hair dressers on the six shops, which was later taken over during the 60s by her sister Carole. (Information and photo provided by Ken Reeve)

1st photo of Ken on site, just entering the site cabin.

Below are Ken and Audrey Round, of Dicky Sykes Lane on North Yorkshire Moors with Dick and Mavis Lamb also of Dicky Sykes Lane, who took the photo.


Charlie Simpson

Many will remember Charlie as caretaker of Brackenhill Further Education Centre during the 70s (after the building stopped being Brackenhill School)

Charlie is standing with his wife Edie and friend Betty Wood (Sandra Smith's mum)

(Photo donated by Steve and Sandra Smith) 

Ethel Smith's grandparents

(Ethel lived next door to All Saint's church for many years) 

(photos available to view in Ackworth Heritage cabinet upstairs in Parish rooms, Bell Lane) 

Please does anyone have any more information about MIss Smith's grandparents?

Jim Smith

Ackworth's much respected and fondly remembered Gentleman of the Road.

Jim could always be seen around the village and was always willing to do odd jobs for people in return for a packet of cigarettes, a meal or somewhere dry to sleep.

Many of the villagers and businesses would look out for him and see he got something to eat as he was passing by.

(Photo from Ackworth Archive collection with permission of his daughter Christine)






Warner Family (Rhyddings).

(photo available to view in Ackworth Heritage cabinet upstairs in Parish rooms, Bell Lane) 

Please does anyone have any information about this family?