I moved to Highfield Cottage, Horbury Rd., Ossett in early October 1946, shortly before my 10th birthday. I was sent to school as usual at Horbury Bridge, with my 7 yr old brother George in the morning, but after school I had to get on a bus, and bring him to our new home at South Ossett. (How many 9 yr olds would be entrusted with the care of a younger sibling nowadays?). We were both overwhelmed by the size of it. We had spent our early years in a small two up two down terrace house on King Street, Horbury Bridge and our new home seemed like a mansion. Two very large rooms with a walk-in pantry and cellar downstairs and, three very large bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, with hot water, a garage with an upper floor, and a garden at the front!

(I always thought that there was something odd about Highfield Cottage!Why was there such a large back door? Why was there a blocked up staircase leading from the kitchen/living room to my bedroom? Why was there no proper access to the front of the house? Why did the large, built – on garage have an upper floor? Why was it built at right angles at the rear side of the ‘grander house’ (now converted into two dwellings)?

These and other oddities were to puzzle me for the next 64 years until I decided to research its history. I published my “History of Highfield House and Highfield Cottage” in 2012. This, along with my other House History Publications has been deposited in West Yorks Archives; Ossett Library (& in the case of the “South Ossett Triangle” in Christ Church Ossett. ) Copies have also been given to the present owners of the houses.))

I carried on going down to Horbury Bridge School with George until the following August. We used to walk down Storrs Hill with our Dad, who worked in the office at Reid’s Oil Distillery. ((I also used to go down at weekends to play with my old friends (I was homesick for my late home!)). We were not expecting the severe winter of 1947 and for a day or two we were snowed in at Highfield Cottage. As soon as possible my Dad cleared a path for us down the driveway. Someone had dug a footpath down Storrs Hill (I suppose so that children could get to Ossett Grammar School) and so we walked behind Dad, as the snow was higher than our shoulders. (Schools stayed open during the bad weather in those days). When the spring came my  brother began to play in the field on South Terrace. I used to watch him and one day one of the older boys, Peter Townend said “why don’t you go and play with my sister Margaret”. He took me down to their home on Sowood Avenue and that was the start of my lifelong friendship with Margaret (now Margaret Darling).

In September I started at Ossett Grammar School and my friend Pat Milner started at the same time so we were good companions for each other.

(Please click on image for a better picture)


For 12 months I was the youngest pupil in the school having gained an ‘underage schoolarship’ from Horbury Bridge C of E School. My first ‘Form Master’ was Mr Tom Clark, who lived on Sowood Avenue – he taught Physics. He was a lovely man with a ‘twinkle in his eye’. Shortly after starting at the school he gave us all a form to fill in. We were required to state our age on it so I put 10. When he read mine he called me out to the front of the class and said “You shouldn’t be here!” I was quite small & timid then (YES I was!) and told him that I had ‘passed my scholarship’ (the County Minor in those days). Believe it or not when he told us to elect a Form Captain I got elected :>)).

As you can see from the photo below I was below the average height of the class. I began to grow when I was about 12 and then I ‘shot up’! When climbing the stairs in later years to the 6th Form Room another teacher Mr E. Atkinson (who taught maths) called up at me ‘stand up girl, be proud of your height’ ! Compared with the girls of today I was small! 

OGS 1949

Class Upper III in 1949. The Form Mistress is Miss Jackson. Photograph courtesy of Joan P. Smith, Ossett (Joan Worth in the picture.)

Back Row, L to R: Gerald Flintoff; Brian Deighton; Arnold Rose; Ian Joseph Wilson; John Thewlis; Brian Crook; David Moore; Geoff Dodgson; Barry Watson; Brian Whittell.

Middle Row, L to R: Christine Lee; Joan Worth; Jeryl Boothroyd; Mary Dunn; Avril Summers; Shirley Gomersall; Mary Parish; Kaynita Dixon; Pat Milner.

Front Row, L to R: Brenda West; Doreen Walshaw; Daphne Cragg; Shirley Cairns; Anne Green; Mary Hutchinson; Una Radley; Barbara Schofield; Eileen Walmsley; Betty Brearley.

I loved school and soon settled in. Shortly afterwards I joined the South Ossett Guides (9th Wakefield, 2nd Ossett) and I loved it. (I remained in Guiding until 1959).

St Ossett Guides 1 

Left to Right

Back row: Doreen Lucas; Joan Worth (ME); Mollie Archer; Betty Squires; Pat Hawkins: Joyce Bainbridge; Margaret Wade; ??; Kathleen Archer; Pat Milner

Middle Row: Margaret Townend (1); ??; Margaret Townend (2) (My friend); Mrs Roberts; Mrs Pickles; Joyce Fisher; ??; ??; ??;

Front Row: ??; ??; ??; Hilary Walton; ; June Rowley; ??; ??; ??; ??; Denise Peach

St Ossett Guides 2


Left to right

Back Row: Kathleen Archer; Mavis Binks; ??; ??; Betty Squires (behind); ??; Joyce Fisher; Margaret Wade; Mary Dunn; Margaret Townend; ??; Joan Worth (Me)

I am not sure about most of the others!

I have vivid memories of OGS.  In February 1952  the whole school was summoned to the Assembly Hall where the headmaster, Mr E C Axford announced “The King is dead – Long live the Queen“. Everyone was stunned.

OGS 1952

Above: Class Upper V in March 1952. The Form Master is Mr. Banks. Photograph courtesy of Joan P. Smith, Ossett (Joan Worth in the picture.)

Back Row, L to R: Harry Thornton;  ?? ; Geoff Dodgson; David Moore; Kenneth Oldroyd; Tony Barker; Alan Wilby; Ian Wilson; Peter Spencer.

Middle Row, L to R: Barry Watson; Daphne Cragg; Una Radley; Joan Worth; Avril Summers; Mary Parish; Jeryl Boothroyd;  Anne Green; Gladys Lockwood; ? ?

Front Row, L to R: Shirley Cairns; Mary Dunn; Kaynita Dixon; Betty Brearley; Barbara Blackburn; Brenda West; Marie Watson; Pat Swift; Dorothy Norman; Pat Milner.

It was around this time that the Ossett War Memorial Community Centre was built on Prospect Road. I joined the Youth Section and we used to play billiards and table tennis in the downstairs room of “the coachhouse”.

Community Centre

Joan & Mollie serving tea to Mum, sister Margaret, Kathleen & Mrs Illingworth

L – R My sister Margaret; my mother Nellie Worth Joan P Worth (me) -standing pouring the tea I think; Mollie Archer, who trained us to do Square Dancing. In front of Mollie is her sister Kathleen Archer and next to her is Olive Illingworth.

We formed a ‘Square Dance’ Group and on Coronation Day were invited to dance in the Market Place. As we all remember it poured with rain so we ended up doing it on the stage in the Town Hall.

Coronation Square Dancers 2 - Harold Carter, Malcolm Beetham, Eric Wandless, Alec Archer; Joan Worth, Jean Fisher, Mollie Archer, Christine Dearnley & Betty Brearley

Back Row:

Harold Carter (my first husband); Malcolm Beetham; Eric Wandless (Youth Leader); Alec Archer

Front Row:

Joan Worth (me) Jean Fisher; Mollie Archer; Christine Dearnley and Betty Brearley

Coronation Square Dancers 1

Old Time Dancers at Community Centre

Square dancers with Philip Mickman

Jean Fisher ;  Betty Brearley; Philip Mickman (Channel Swimmer); Jean Brearley & Mollie Archer

1956 South Ossett Church Ladies Cricket Team 

South Ossett Ladies Cricket Team 1956

Standing from left; Sheila Tolson; Mrs Lucas; Barbara Lightowler; Margaret Daniel and Joan Worth (ready to bat!) In front: Mrs Nash? (Being shown how to hold the bat) Mr Derry and Mrs Lightowler.

I had attended South Ossett Church regularly since moving to South Ossett, and became a Sunday School teacher.


Harry Tolson and I were involved with the South Ossett Young People’s Fellowship, which met in the Parish Rooms in the Vicarage, when the Reverend Howarth was the Incumbent of Christ Church, in 1956. Harry was Chairman and I was Secretary (nothing changes!).

After initial objection from the ‘elderly’ Parish Council, (who didn’t approve of young people getting together :>)) Mr Haworth persuaded them to allow us to renovate the Church Institute. We spent many hours removing decades of old paint from the walls before it was fit for use.

As there were quite a few budding ‘stage performers’ (not me) in the group it was decided to put on a Pantomime, which was Cinderella. I remember loaning my wedding dress for Cinderella ((I think it was Hilary Walton (now Watterson) who played her)) to use as a ball gown. (As it ended up covered in greasepaint I couldn’t use it again :>)

This Fellowship eventually became the ‘Ossett Elizabethans’.

Young Peoples Fellowship South Ossett 1958


Back row L – R  David Farmer; Bill Daniel; Joan P Worth (now Smith); Dorothy Lucas (now Daniel) Margaret Hinchliffe; Stuart Brook; Geoff Watterson; Derek Cowley

Front Row L – R; Margaret Daniel (now Richardson); Kathleen Archer (now Stubbs); Margaret Wade (now Cowley) Mrs Davies; Mr Oliver Davies; Margaret Brook; Hilary Walton (now Watterson) Margaret Asquith

Oliver Davies was the Headmaster of South Ossett School and Choirmaster of Christ Church

In 1957 I married Harold Carter, who lived on South Terrace. We went to live at No 5 Barmby Fold, down Manor Road. near Illingworth Park. Graham our son was born in Moorlands Maternity Home in Dewsbury in 1958, whilst we lived there. Harold trained as a Prison Officer and in 1959 we moved to Wetherby, where he worked at Thorp Arch Prison. So after 13 very happy years I left South Ossett.


Sth Ossett Guiders Reunion


I am 3rd from the left on the back row next to the late Sheila Tolson

I returned to live in North Ossett, near to Holy Trinity Church in February 2000.