Being a family historian I chose to study a street and its residents in the waterfront area. Wellington Street, which is no longer there, ran in a westerly direction from Thornes Lane Wharf. It was approximately where part of Tadman Street is today.
Maps showed the gradual development of the waterfront area and Wellington Street already existed by the time the 1841 census was taken. Gradually more houses were built and the occupants began to appear in various directories. The censuses, taken each ten years, show the age and relationships of members of each household, also their occupation and places of birth. There were two malthouses at the Thornes Wharf end of Wellington Street.
The 1910 Valuation Office Survey in England and Wales, sometimes referred to as “The Lloyd George Domesday Survey” provided much information. It was possible to study both the valuation books and maps. These list both the owners and occupiers of each property, also such as the number of rooms, rents and rateable values.
Before WWll there were plans for major slum clearance in Wakefield and new housing estates were built. The clearance of the houses in Wellington Street was withheld until after the war and finally happened in the 1950s. The records show details of the occupants and where they were moved to. I was told that the tenants’ belongings had to be fumigated before they could be allowed into the newly built houses.
I am also following up some particularly interesting inhabitants from newspaper reports, etc. My part of the project is not yet complete, but I am hoping that it will be available by March in a file for members to see.
Stella Robinson, 2014