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Some key dates in the history of Wakefield
1. Early 12th century. The first (wooden) castle built at Sandal
2. 1340s The stone bridge over the Calder built.
3. 1356 The Chantry Chapel first licensed.
4. 1460 The Battle of wakefield. Richard Duke of York killed.
5. By the 16th century Wakefield had become a major centre for marketing cloth.
6. 1592 Wakefield Grammar School founded.
7. 1702 The River calder made navigable to Wakefield with the consequence that in the
18th and 19th centuries Wakefield was a major inland port.
8. 1765 Wakefield cattle market opened, subsequently becoming the largest in the north of England..
9. 1776 Wakefiel’d first purpose-built thatre opened (on site of present Theatre Royal and Opera House)
10. 1783 Wakefield’s first textile mill established
11. 1786 Wakefield’s first subscription library founded.
12. 1803 Wakefield’s first local newspaper published.
13. 1810 Wakefield Court House opened (one of the first purpose-built sessions houses in the area and the first of the public buildings in Wood Street)
14 . 1832 Wakefield becomes a Parliamentary Borough. Daniel Gaskell of Lupset Hall elected as first MP
15. 1840 First passenger trains to run through Wakefield on the Manchester and Leeds Railway Company line, for Normanton to Hebden Bridge, via Kirkgate Station.
16. 1848 Wakefield becomes a municipal corporation; thus first has a mayor and council.
17. 1848 The Chantry Chapel was renewed and reopened for worship after some 300 years in secular use.
18. 1854 The Wakefield Dispensary and Clayton Hospital founded in premises in Gill’s Yard.
19. 1857 Novelist George Gissing born in Wakefield.
20. 1878 Wakefield Girls’ High School established.
21. 1879 Clayton Hospital opened on its present Northgate/ Wentworth Street site.
22. 1888 Wakefield parish church becomes a cathedral and Wakefield itself becomes a city; the diocese of Wakefield gets its first bishop.
23. 1893 Wakefield’s first public park, Clarence Park, opened.
24. 1904 Trams first run across Wakefield Bridge.
25. 1905 Statue of Queen Victoria erected in Bull Ring.
26. 1906 Wakefield’s first municipal public library opened (in Drury Lane)
27. 1910 Wakefield’s first cinema opened, the Grand Electric, in the Corn Exchange.
28. 1912 King George V and Queen Mary visit Wakefield
29.. 1919 Wakefield’s first council houses built.
30. 1919 Wakefield’s first municipal maternity hospital opened.
31. 1933 The new bridge over the Calder is opened.
32. 1940 The Wakefield Shirt Company founded.
33. 1945 Wakefield Trinity won the rugby league challenge cup.
34. 1960 Wakefield-born writer David Storey’s first novel published (This Sporting Life) and wins the Macmillan Fiction award.
35. 1974 Local government re-organisation: Wakefield becomes a part of the Wakefield Metropolitan District.
© Kate Taylor 31 May 1999
(2015, Kate Taylor comments that this is rather a random list, and not exhaustive)
published on the Wakefield Historical Society Website May 2015