MIRFIELD-born Sir Patrick Stewart has given his blessing to a fascinating new book which tells the history of his hometown in pictures.
Entitled simply Mirfield, the 352-page hardback explores some of the familiar sights of the town down the decades and unearths some interesting and little-known aspects of Mirfield life.
The book has been compiled by Mirfield-born retired librarian Frances Stott are all profits go to charity.
In his foreword, Sir Patrick tells how he came from a ‘one up one down’ in Camm Lane and spent the first 17 years of his life in Mirfield.
Sir Patrick wrote: “My work takes me all over the world: to glamorous locations, dramatic locations, uncomfortable locations.
“Some lure you back, others you never want to see or think about again.
“But for me, nowhere has the potency, the inexpressive attraction as the first place I called home.
“In this book there are places, images and echoes that were my world until I went away to drama school at 17.
“The lanes I walked, the church I sang in, the pub where I had my first pint.
“My mother was devoted to the Salvation Army and the hut in Nettleton Road holds warm memories for me.
“My father was a patient at the Memorial Cottage Hospital and though I cannot remember her name I fearfully recall the matron who could even quell my fearless dad with a glare.
“Opposite the hospital was Crowlees Boys’ School that I attended from seven to 11 and where I first encountered the man who was to become a significant influence on my life, Cecil Dormand.
“My brother Geoffrey and his wife lived in the prefabs on the Taylor Hall Estate and coming from a terraced ‘one up one down’ in Camm Lane I had never seen such luxury.
“The photo of the outside toilets in Nab Lane also conjured up that Camm Lane yard.
“With four of us in one room, the outside toilet was the only place of privacy.
“Even on winter nights I burned many a candle reading a book with my pants around my ankles.”
Sir Patrick also remembers John Thwaites and his horse-driven milk cart, the Towngate Co-op ‘divi’ and local businessman Robert Barrowclough.
His mother was also a Barrowclough and Sir Patrick recalled her father, Freedom, who had a pie and peas shop.
The book covers all parts of Mirfield and highlights some of the town’s best-known buildings.
There are pictures of the Town Hall on the corner of Huddersfield Road and Knowl Road. Built in 1868 it later became a nightclub and is now the Salvation Army citadel.
The Black Bull, now Tesco Express, also features as does the art deco-style Vale Cinema built in 1939.
There are lesser known aspects of Mirfield such as the Battyeford boat ferry, JF Crowther’s shire horse stud farm, a look at the town’s coal mining operations and its beer-making.
The book was launched to an audience of more than 50 people at Mirfield Library.
Another book signing will be held at the Co-op in Mirfield this Saturday (December 1) 9am–2pm.
Copies, at £25 each, are also on sale at Mirfield Library and the sub post office in Stocks Bank Road.
Profits from the book will go to Yorkshire Cancer Research, the British Heart Foundation, Kirkwood Hospice and Diabetes UK.