top of page

Stanley Urban District Council

Formed in 1899 the Stanley Urban District was made up of four electorial wards that were ; Lake Lock, Outwood, Stanley and Wrenthorpe covering a total of 4,860 Acres of land. The Stanley Urban District Council existed up to 1974 when Government reorganisation merged all the local councils under the Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. Below are details of the first council in 1899.

Stanley Urban District Council

Constituted by Local Government Board

Order No. 39507 April 1 1899

Members of the Council as at First Constituted

First Meeting held 18 May 1899 at Board Schools, Outwood

Mr William Wordsworth Scarth, Chairman

Mr Ezra Hemingway, Vice Chairman

STANLEY WARD                   

Mr John Curtis

Mr James Hough

Mr George Green


Mr Robert Green

Mr Ezra Hemingway

Mr Mathew Hall


Mr William Wordsworth Scarth

Mr David Burnley

Mr Robert Clegg


Mr Henry Roberts

Mr Thomas Land

Mr William Jones


Stanley Urban District Council 1956


 The Council during the early 1960s

We have been lucky enough to obtain Stanley Urban District Council year books for the years between 1934 and 1968 courtesy of Paul Dainton. These books are a wealth of information from the area and include; birth and death rates, land owned by the council, acts and orders amongst many. Below are detailed statistics over this period.


Between the years 1920 and 1967 the four wards population rose from 14,885 to 19,030. The population decreased during the 1930s depression and during World War Two, and rose at its quickest in 1945 growing by almost 1000 in a single year.

Rate of Infant Mortality

This was recorded in deaths per 1000 births of children under the age of 1 year. In 1920 the rate was 101 which dropped to 12.5 by 1968.

Death Rate

Again this was recorded in deaths per 1000 people. In 1920 it was 12 and by 1967 had fallen to 9.80

Birth Rate

Birth per 1000 people were 26.7 in 1920 and had fallen to 21.00 by 1967, the birth rate was at its lowest of 12.46 in 1955

Loan Debt Outstanding

Money owed by the counil increased considerably after World War Two, this was mainly due to the large scale house building of the time. In 1935 the debt was £223, 131 compared with £2,114,563 in 1968, a tenfold increase. Around £1.8 million of this was from house building.

Roads in the District

Betwwen 1934 and 1968 the road network in the area had increased significantly, County Roads had increased from 5 miles to 7.67 and District Roads from 11 miles to 21.38 miles.


In the years between 1919 and 1968 Stanley Urban District Council had built a total of 1,903 houses to replace the 19 Century slum housing and to accomadate a growing population. Of the houses built 78 of them were temporary aluminium houses that were on Ferry Lane. Many of the houses built had heavily subsidised rents for many years as people forced to move into them after the large slum clearences could not afford the rents.


The Sewage of part of Leeds Road, Bradford Road and Wrenthorpe, is treated at the joint sewage works at Wrenthorpe under the Management of the Joint Sewage Committee, upon which the Council has four representitives. The sewage of Stanley, Outwood and Bottomboat is treated at the Councils sewage works at Smalley Bight, Stanley, by land filteration, tanks and filters. A pumping station has been errected at Lee Moor, for the purpose of pumping sewage from Lee Moor to Smalley Bight Sewage Works. The sewage of certain houses in Barr Lane and Aberford Road is treated by the Wakefield Corporation. The sewage of 178 properties and works at Lofthouse Gate is received into the Councils sewers upon payment by Rothwell U.D.C.


Public lighting in the area was gas an had been supplied by the Wakefield Gaslight Company since December 1905.Gas was phased out and replaced by electricity between 1957 and 1963. Aberford Road street lights were replaced in December 1958. A small number of gas lamps remained in use in the Nook Inn area, which were replaced when the M1 motorway was completed.

Extracts from 1935 – 36 year book

Fire Brigade

Captin – R Blakey

Lieutenant – B Frost

Hon. Lieutenant – T Eyles

Hon. Surgeon – Dr J D Bottomley

Fire Engine Driver – J S Goodair

Reserve Fire Engine Driver – T Clarkson


G A Wright

G Barker

C Pidcock

D Bell

R Teasdale

R T Crook

A petrol motor fire engine was purchased in September 1911 at a cost of £915 and replaced in March 1930 at a cost of £1,325. The Fire Station is situated in the Council Yard, Coach Road, where the fire alarm bell is fixed.

Public Motor Ambulance

The ambulance is a Austin 20/25, purchased in August 1928 it is garaged in the Council Yard on Coach Road.

Land and properties owned by the council

Council offices and outbuildings on Coach Road

Sewerage works and land at Smalley Bight

Pumping Station at Lee Moor

Church Fields at East Ardsley

Land on Lawns Lane

Land at Bottomboat (tip)

Outwood Hall – 88 houses, 2 cottages and lodge, plantations and park

Lime Pit Lane – 38 houses

Wrenthorpe – 37 houses

Church Lane – 42 houses

Moor House Estate – 130 houses

Wrenthorpe – Land for housing purposes

Land Rented by the Council

Newton Hill Allotments – rented from Wakefield Diocesan

Newton Hill Allotments and Recreation Ground , Ferry Lane Allotments and Hatfeild Hall Estate Recreational Ground – rented from West Riding of Yorkshire Mental Hospitals Board

Stanley Parish Land (Recreation Ground)

1942 - 1943 year book

Click any image to enlarge


The last year of the Council



Commemorative board of the councils Chairman

Thank you to Tony Banks for the above photo

Stanley Urban Councils slum clearance scheme debate 

September 1955

Many people are affected by Stanley Urban Councils slum clearance scheme, who move into council houses, cannot afford the rent. The provisional rent is “absolutely ridiculous” declared Cr J. Knee, at Monday’s meeting of the Council when members debated its housing programme.

Confessing that the housing outlook “looked black” Cr H. Elson drew attention to a report showing that the estimated number of houses unfit for human habitation was 301 including 7 in confirmed pre war clearance areas) The report recommended that 171 should be dealt with by inclusion in clearance or compulsory purchase orders, and 123 under the Housing Act within the next 5 years. The report revealed there were 114 families in Lodgings and 50 overcrowded families at Outwood, Stanley and Wrenthorpe. Land had already been purchased for 318 houses, and land still had to be bought for 147.

Cr. Elson expressed the view that the Housing Committee should review the position. The withdrawal of subsidies was going to make the scheme impracticable.

Cr J. E. Howe said it was an impossibility to review the matter as Cr Elson had suggested. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced his “axe” then people would have to answer.

Government should change its policy

Cr Knee said the Council had before it a slum clearance schedule but they were aware that many of the people to be moved into Council houses could not afford the rent. The provisional rent of 30s 6d was “absolutely ridiculous” If there were not such a dire necessity for houses, he would advocate the halting of the housing programme until the Government changed its policy on loan repayments which would make cheaper Council house rents possible.

Cr Knee pointed out that some people involved in slum clearance were paying about ten shillings a week rent. When moved into a Council house, they were faced with more than three times this sum to pay each week. “If it weren’t for the fact that unemployment would be created, and that houses are needed, I should say stop the housing programme until the Government alters its policy”.

Cr E. Lumb, also a member of the Housing Committee, noted that in the Councils area there were 254 houses considered unfit for human habitation and these would be pulled down within the next five years. The majority of people living in these houses had not tried to obtain Council houses because they could not afford the rent. The slum clearance scheme was to be compulsory, and for the next five years a certain percentage of Council houses had to be allocated to slum clearance.

Milestone round necks

“I hope the Government will subsidise the slum clearance scheme and give people who will more or less be forced to go into these houses a reasonable chance, and help them. Instead of hanging a milestone around their necks” said Cr Lumb.

Every local authority was being affected by this problem said Cr C. Perry. So far as they were concerned, for a £1,500 house 9s 10d. Per week had been put on the rent. That was a serious thing and he did not want extra subsidy. He felt that there was something wrong with the Government machine for the simple reason that before they could borrow any money for housing, they had to apply to the Minister for permission to borrow the requested capital. He was throwing the onus on to local authorities to build houses at rents tenants could not afford to pay.

“There’s no question about it. Its going to go up and up, and I feel that the time has come for the Urban District Councils Association to call a special meeting in conjunction with the Association of Municipal Corporations and the County Councils Association to at least bring force to bear and tell the Minister that housing will have to cease unless present methods are altered.” Declared Cr Perry. The position concerning repayments of loans and housing subsidies would have to change. It was creating more inflation, for money was going into the hands of bankers, and he thought they should consider the advisability of calling upon the Urban District Councils Association to go into the whole matter.

“You cannot expect a man now living in a small house and paying five or six shillings a week rent to move into a house where he will have to pay 30s a week. I think 25s a week would be nearer in view of the recent interest charges” said Cr Perry. He thought the provisional rents should be referred back for further consideration.

Stanley not to blame

Stanley Urban District Council was not to blame. If they were progressive, it meant pushing a great deal onto the rates which he felt they could not do; they were already subsidising local authority houses to the extent of 12 or 13 shillings a week. They must stand on their own feet. They had to consider the position of putting into Council houses people who knew they could not afford to pay the present rents. “It is a deplorable state of affairs that they should go in with the knowledge that they would owe rent” he said.

The chairman (Cr A. Field) noted that during the week, the Urban District Councils Association Conference was being held at Scarborough. On the agenda was an item dealing with this subject and he hoped that pressure would be brought to bear in a concentrated way on the Minister.

The housing report was accepted, but it was agreed to refer back to the General Purposes Committee for further consideration, the question of Council house rents. This concerns a resolution that the provisional net rents of the houses now being erected on the Bottomboat Road Estate should be 23s 9d per week for a three bed roomed dwelling and 14s 7d per week for a one bed roomed flat.

70 more

The Clerk was instructed to ask the Ministry of Housing for an immediate allocation of 70 houses to be built on Lime Pit Lane (extension) housing estate. The number is made up of 30 three bedroom dwellings, 32 two bedroom and 8 one bedroom. The Clerk will apply to the Ministry for sanction to the borrowing of £85, 483.

It was reported to the housing Committee that arrangements had been made for an official from the Health department to inspect all temporary buildings erected on Council estates; that the 24 aged persons flats at Wrenthorpe were almost complete and that all keys had been excepted.

Plastic numbers

The Council decided to renumber its 1500 houses with plastic numbers costing 5d each. An official said there had been unofficial complaints from the Post Office that numbers painted on the houses had worn off. The plastic ones are expected to last longer.

The Yorkshire Electricity Board, which had requested the Councils permission to install immersion heaters in any Council house at the request of the tenant, is to be informed that permission will be granted only after consideration of each application.

The final meeting of Stanley Urban District Council March 1974

The forerunners of the Stanley Urban District Council came in for special praise at the final meeting of the Council in March 1974, when the leader of the council, Cr K H Steeples, looked back over its 75 year existence. He said the councillors and officers in the past were wise men who bought the land when it was cheap and built houses which were economic. As a result, they were now reaping the benefit.

Mr Robert Blakey, who was formerly a Clerk for many years, was “a bit keen with the brass” and this was why Stanley had had some low rates and rents. Among the assets they were handing over were some of the finest houses in the North of England. He paid tribute to the sterling work of a former Councillor, Mr John Furness, of Wrenthorpe, who had served for many years as an Independent. Turning to the present Council, Cr Steeples said the chairman Cr J H G Rae, had served the district well and had had the interests of both young and old at heart. In a tribute to Cr A Dunn, leader of the Conservative group, he said he had always found him to be a gentleman.

Fresh Thinking

Of the present officers, the Clerk, Mr Arthur Warden, came as a young man with new ideas and brought fresh thinking to the Council. Cr Steeples thanked the Surveyor Mr H W Senior, the Public Health Inspector, the Housing Manager, Mr D Walker, the Chief Financial Officer, Mr M Taylor and all members of the staff for the way they had served the council. He thanked the “Express” for the fair way in which it had reported the Councils activities. The Press had done a wonderful job in keeping the public informed and helping them in their lives as Councillors.

Lone voice heard

The Councils six representatives on the new Metropolitan District Council had a tremendous job to do. The public must remember that this would be a much larger authority and the personal service local Councillors had given the district would be recognised at long last. He had had people knocking on his door at 1.30 in the morning as had other members. “My house has been an open door to the people we represent and still will be, but we are becoming more impersonal. “There will not be the personal touch there has been from this Council”.

Thanking members for the duties they had preformed on behalf of the people of the urban district, he added “I hope we can carry on in some way giving service to the public”. Cr Dunn said he had found that a lone voice could still be heard if what it was putting forward was a reasonable and sensible proposition. He appreciated that opposition had been fighting a loosing battle, although at one time they had reached the dizzy heights of having six or seven Conservative councillors.

On behalf of the people he represented, he endorsed everything Cr Steeples had said. Cr Mrs June Bridgewater thanked the electors who had seen it fit to make sure two women from their area were on the Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, which was very short of woman members. Cr R Noon said none of the local authorities involved wanted reorganisation, which would cost a lot of money. He paid tribute to the wives and husbands of councillors for the part they had played. “To be a councillor, you want a good husband or wife.” He said.

Sad occasion

Cr Rae said it was a sad occasion. After outlining the Councils achievements, he commented: “Our representatives on the new District Council can go forward and represent us as experts. Have no fear- Stanley will retain its identity through you.” Cr C Woolford, who was chairman of the Council when the Lofthouse Colliery Disaster Appeal Fund was launched, said it was a great privilege to have Mr Warden alongside him in those dark days, during which they had travelled hundreds of miles together. Mr Warden said that as Clerk it was like being captain of a ship. Together they had managed to make what they considered to be the right decisions.

Commemorative dinner March 1974

Stressing the importance of local organisations in the life of the community, the Bishop of Wakefield, Dr Eric Treacy, told guests at Stanley Urban Councils commemorative dinner “If local government reorganisation destroys that, it will do irreparable harm to the life of the nation.” He added; “It must not be allowed to. See to it that Stanley remains Stanley and keep your local organisations alive.” They were honouring those who had given service to the community. Changes were coming and they had to adapt themselves to them. “Go forward in the new situation and make the best of it.” The Bishop said. “Get your people to start to look upon Wakefield not as the big boy up the road, but as an equal.” Earlier, the Bishop recalled the Lofthouse Colliery Disaster in March last year. The memories of those days still lived in the pits of the area, he said.

“Will live on”

No reorganisation could really destroy the identity of a place like Stanley. “You may for administrative purposes become part of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, but Stanley will live on in the hearts and minds of the people who live there. It will always be your village.” The Bishop ended his address: “God bless Stanley in the past. God bless it now and God bless it in the days to come.” Welcoming the guests, the chairman of the Council, Cr J H G Rae, traced the Councils history since its formation in 1899. He pointed out that it started life on April 1 – All Fools Day – and added “But we have never had any cause to regret that day. We have never looked back.” To the representatives of the new Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, which also starts its duties on April 1, he gave this message: “Don’t worry. We have done all right.”​

Devotion to duty

Only 52 chairman and 110 councillors have served the district through the Councils existence. This showed their devotion to duty. Stanley Council had 75 years of outstanding achievement behind it and could feel justly proud of its record. Representatives of every voluntary organisation in the district were present and he paid tribute to their work. The speakers were introduced by the Clerk of the Council, Mr Arthur Warden, who said they wished every success to the Wakefield Metropolitan District Council and the West Yorkshire County Council. The dinner, held at Wakefield Theatre Club, was attended by 1,180 guests, among who were civic leaders from various neighbouring authorities.

1915 Medical report on the Urban District

Birth Rate

This was 25.7 per 1,000. The Birth Rate of Outwood was 26.8 per 1,000 and that at Stanley was 24.00 per 1,000, The Birth Rate of England and Wales was 21.8. That of 96 great towns was 22.8.

Death rate

The Death Rate for the district was 12.6 per 1,000. The Death Rate of Outwood was 12.6 per 1,000 and that of Stanley was 13.2 per 1,000. The Death Rate of England and Wales was 15.1; that of 96 great towns 15.6 and that of 148 smaller towns was 14.00 per 1,000.

Infant mortality

There were 45 deaths of children under one year of age against 53 in 1914 and 74 in 1913, and 25 deaths of children over one and under five years of age against 29 in 1914 and 30 in 1913. These 45 deaths of children under one year of age is at the rate of 121.6 per 1,000 registered births, while the total of 70 deaths of children under five years of age is at the rate of 378.3 per 1,000 registered births.

These figures show a pretty bad state of affairs with regard to Infantile Mortality, although it is an improvement on previous years. Here we have a district with a smaller than average death rate, a larger than average birth rate, and an infantile death rate larger than that of the great towns. Owing to the great loss of life in the present War, it is of the utmost national importance that this great drain on the human resources of the country should be stopped. The wastage is for the most part preventable. In the meantime, the duty of the Sanitary Authority is very plain and that is, in spite of War conditions, it is their ever-increasing duty to see that the people are better washed under better sanitary conditions, with plenty of light, plenty of air, good drainage and good scavenging. The latter should, in my opinion, be entirely under our own control and carried out, even if at a slightly increased expense, by the Council's own men. (Scavenging was the emptying and cleaning of dry lavatories). By all means the conversion of privies into W.C's should be pushed forward. There was a time when shortage of water prevented this, but that is not the case now and under no circumstances should any privy middens be built where sewerage is possible.

Statistics for the year (1915)

9 cases of Scarlet Fever. 1 case of Typhoid Fever. 11 cases of Diphtheria.

14 soldiers belonging to the 2/4 Battalion of K.O.Y,L.I. were treated for Scabies.

There is a good communication with the surrounding districts by road, rail and tram. Coal mining is the chief industry, besides which there is railway work and a jam factory. Market Gardening and agriculture employ some hands. As to Market Gardening, the cultivation of rhubarb is a speciality to the district. The Council's Petrol Fire Engine fortunately was not required during the year but has been kept regularly in practice. 30 public lamps have been erected during the year, for the most part in private streets. Infectious disease during the year has been much lighter; there having been only 13 cases of Scarlet Fever and 18 cases of Diphtheria, There were, however, 8 cases of Typhoid but not an epidemic form. The procedure - all cases are visited immediately on notification and removed to hospital if advisable and possible. Disinfections are carried our with Alformant Lamps and Spray. All contacts are inspected. In cases of Phthisis the same procedure as to disinfection obtains and literature is left at the houses. In addition to regular and systematic inspection of the District I have made many inspections with regard to infectious disease and nuisances. I have to say that there is still a large amount of old property which will have to be attended to at the proper time.

bottom of page