Words & images: Mark Stevenson
I bet when Edwin Wigglesworth’ wife Emily would have been well chuffed when he went home to tell her he had a new job and that it came with a house.
Previously in 1881 Edwin and his family had been living at Bingley Street (the same street Napoleons Casino is on now) where he was working as a mechanic turner “iron”.
In 1891 he was living at Brown Square, just off Skinner Lane (where Harewood Barracks Army Reserves Centre is now). This area had a reputation for outbreaks of deadly diseases.
I went to the Wigglesworth family residence of 1911 and it would have been a vast improvement on what they were used to. Although I did say to myself ‘why?’ The new house was 2 Kildare Terrace and it was the caretaker’s house for Whitehall Road Infants School (not sure if I have the right name for the school).
Both the house and the school were built in 1884 by Richard Adams. The reason I said ‘why?’ to myself was because the area now is just basically one big industrial estate and why would you build a school in such an area?
Well if you go back to the 1880’s it was pretty much the same, except there was once row upon row of terraced houses mixed in with the mills, factories, gas holders and malt kilns, just to mention a few of the industrial activities that happened in the area.
The first caretaker of the school when it opened was John Watson.
The school building and gate piers and gates, along with the caretaker’s house, are all listed.