The History of Park Nook
The memories of Jean Haman nee Mitchell
Park Nook is the oldest hamlet in Halifax dating back to 1623. The cottages were weavers’ cottages and, as far as I am aware, the resident also worked at Park Nook Farm.
In the forties, the person who lived in the farmhouse was called Stokes. Later it was occupied by Harry Eldridge then later still Mr Dorrent and then John Boyle, who still lives in the new farmhouse further up the lane. The farm itself was owned by Wilkinsons Bricks of Elland who compulsory purchased some of my father’s land as Wood Nook Farm, just down the hill at Park Wood. He purchased it to dig a clay mine for excavating clay to make bricks after the second world war. Within the last 30 years, the mine has closed and the land has reverted back to Wood Nook Farm which is owned by the Doodson family now after I had to sell it when my father was admitted to a nursing home. The old farmhouse at Park Nook Farm started to collapse after an old mine shaft opened up.
Park Nook Mine. Picture from geography website
When I was a child my father delivered milk to the cottages at Park Nook and before I was born most of my dad’s brothers and one sister lived in the cottages, Clifford Mitchell, Rufus Mitchell and Lena Turner. When they moved away the cottages were occupied by Mr and Mrs Hancock, a family named Clavins, Mr and Mrs Milner, Eric and Mollie Singleton, Mr and Mrs Whitikar, June and Frank Rourke who were relatives of mine and Mrs Nichol. Mrs Nichol’s maiden name was Nellie Crowther. She was born in one of the cottages and owned both nearby allotments. There was a door inside the cottages to get in and out of numbers 11 and 12.
The cottages fell into disrepair and were condemned as the toilets were tub toilets so the residents were forced to move out. John Boyle had the opportunity to purchase the cottages but decided against it. Wilkinson’s went bust and Mr Boyle bought the farm.
Eventually, Jimmy Graham, who lives at Le Mar off Marsh Lane, bought the derelict cottages and they are now rented out. He put a septic tank in for them to bring the toilets up to modern standards. Numbers 9 and 10 were converted into a single cottage by a man named Harold (I am not sure of his last name). My late husband and I lived in the “new” cottage for around 3 years between 2000 and 2003 until being required to sell it owing to my husband Parkinson’s disease and the need for a bungalow.
Numbers 11 and 12 were once an old beer house. The sign is painted on to the gable end but unfortunately is now rendered over. There are allotments further on for all the cottages. My father told me when he was a child there was a gambling school at the top of the field by the wood top.
My father was born in 1903 at Wood Nook Farm in a cottage at the back. My grandfather used to make teas for people who walk around on Sundays. There was a woodcutter who came every winter and lived in a stone hut in the woods.
Wood Nook Farm and Park Woods were owned by Lord Savile and my grandfather had to maintain the walls around the wood. There is a large boulder type stone in the wood near the far end, before you get to the Roman Road. The boulder has an old cross carved into it and it is said John Eland is buried beneath it. The boulder is called the Wishing Stone and there is a flat stone slab in front of it.
My Father purchased Wood Nook Farm from Lord Savile in 1931. My grandfather was called Henry Mitchell and was brought up in Glenster Hall above Siddal. Where Shackleton’s scrap dealers used to be located, there were several cottages. My great-grandfather had the butcher’s shop there.
picture from geography website
Nook of tranquility
Park Nook was a quiet and peaceful place in the days between the wars.
It is an isolated hamlet, usually thought of being part of Southowram, but is in fact within the Elland boundary. At the end of a farm track and consisting of a cluster of hillside cottages, Park Nook was long regarded as one of the district's hidden gems and an oasis of tranquility not far away from two industrial towns. But during the 1970s, Park Nook was to become one of the most controversial corners of Calderdale. And it took Michael Heseltine to arbitrate on its future!
By the beginning of the 1970s, it was decided by council officials that Park Nook did not meet modern standards for habitation. The former Elland Council tried but failed to modernise the cottages. When Calderdale Council took over in 1974, the future of Park Nook was endlessly debated and residents were left in a limbo.
Eventually, the council decreed that the cottages should be demolished, but some residents fought back and in 1980 made a submission to the Historic Buildings Bureau of the Department of the Environment, headed at the time by Micheal Heseltine. He blocked the demolition.
Park Nook's fate was a bittersweet one. One block of cottages, those seen in the right foreground of the picture above, were painstakingly renovated, but most of the rest were abandoned and are now in a state of delapidation, with ivy creeping over the ruins ......
Watch this space....
written by Jean Haman nee Mitchell