The 1970s

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Timeline of Wakefield 1970-1980

The 1970s

1970 March, the Government Training Centre in Doncaster Road opened.
1971 January, the Abbeyfield Home, Eastmoor Road, (a home for the elderly)
opened as a result of an initiative by the Wakefield Junior Chamber of Commerce.
1971 The West Riding County Council bought Clarke Hall for use as a working
museum for schools.
1972 25 January, Marsh Way opened. There was traffic chaos the same day, due to
an overturned vehicle.
1973 21 March, seven men were killed when water from old workings inundated the
area where they were working underground at Lofthouse Colliery.
1973 Racing ceased at Wakefield Greyhound Stadium
1972 December, in common with the rest of the country Wakefield experienced the
three-day working week. By January 1964 some 6,000 were on short-time working
in the city.
1974 April, the Wakefield County Borough Council gave way to the Wakefield
Metropolitan District Council, bringing together as one local government unit,
Wakefield, Castleford, Horbury, Normanton, Pontefract, Ossett and South Elmsall.
The West Riding County Council, established in 1888, came to an end and short-lived
West Yorkshire County Council was born, taking over County Hall in Wood Street.
1974 July/August, the first of the great Wakefield Metropolitan District festivals (of
culture and leisure). The idea of the Festival came from Gordon Clayton. It opened
formally on 19 July with a service in the Cathedral on 21 July. There were
performances of the Wakefield cycle of Mystery Plays on 27 July.
1974 August 27, the Lofthouse/Whitley Bridge section of the M62 opened.
1974 The Wakefield District Committee for European Architectural Heritage Year
(1975) formed under the chairmanship of Wakefield MDC Chief Architect, Ted
Cathery. During 1975 the Committee published weekly articles in the Wakefield
Express on local buildings of interest, and also published a series of Trails.
1975 18 May, the first pedestrianization scheme opened in Wakefield with Upper
Kirkgate, Cross Square and Bread Street, and parts of Southgate and Teall Street
closed to vehicles, and Westmoreland Street reserved for buses.
1975 The first Conservation Areas designated in Wakefield (Upper Westgate and
Wood Street)
1976 July, the shock announcement that £628,523 was missing from the funds of the
130-years old Wakefield Building Society led, in October, to a decision by members
to accept a merger with the Halifax Building Society.
1976 The ABC Cinema (formerly the Regal) was divided to create three auditoria. It
was at this time the sole cinema in Wakefield.
1977 13 July, H. M. Queen Elizabeth visited Wakefield
1977 Wakefield Historical Publications was founded as a joint venture between
Wakefield Historical Society and Wakefield M D Council. It published its first book,
The Coal Kings of Wakefield, by John Goodchild, in 1978
1977 September, the Family of Man group, by Wakefield-born sculptor Barbara
Hepworth, sited in Castrop-Rauxell Square, (ie Rishworth Street).
1978 May, five police officers killed when their coach overturned at Newton Hill.
1979 December, the impending closure of Walton Colliery was announced.

© Kate Taylor

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