grand-stand 2

Grand Stand Road acquired it's new title about 1890, shortly after the formation of the Stanley UDC, but, as will be shown there was never anything remotely grand about it.

About 1000 yards in length, linking Lofthouse Gate and Outwood at the Eastern end to Lawns and Carr Gate in the West. 

It has always been little more than an unadopted, unmetalled, pot-holed, rutted track.

illustration Above

Grand Stand Road 1975 taken from the western end of where Grand Stand Road joins Lawns Lane. The two houses on the left are No. 86 and 88, these were at that time unoccupied and used for farm storage by Mr Bernard Arundel.

Lawns Mission was a little lower down on the right hand side out or view. 


In the year 1912 it was reported in the Wakefield Express that a meeting was to be held in the Lawns Mission Church, Grandstand Road.

This was tor all people living near to the road and any others living in the villages of Lawns and Carr Gate who, for any reason whatsoever, had cause to make regular use of the road.

It must remembered in these early years there were very few public transport vehicles, the only bus service in operation was a horse drawn one that ran from Carr Gate to Wakefield, and this only on market days.

At that time people making Journeys to the local towns of Wakefield and Leeds did so by train.

The nearest railway station was Lofthouse.

This meant that the people from the two villages of Carr Gate and Lawns had to walk the length of Grand Stand Road to reach it, a journey of well over half a mile.

The state of the road made this a daunting task, especially in winter.

The meeting in the Lawns Mission Church was called with the express purpose of allowing local people to air their views regarding the condition of the road, which at this time was in a dreadful state, 

During the winter months it's entire length was covered with ruts and deep potholes either filled with mud or water, making it almost impossible to be used by pedestrians.

This state of affairs was mainly  caused by the use of horse drawn vehicles with iron—rimmed wheels, and it must be remembered, this was long before the use of pneumatic tyres for farming vehicles, 

It was obvious that farmers, market gardeners and all people who delivered goods to the villagers each contributed to making the road in the terrible state it was.

At the end of the meeting it was decided a deputation should approach Stanley Urban District Council and, seeing as they were accepting the rates, be prepared in any way to help with repairs to the road. 

The outcome was that the council refused point blank to do anything, saying it was a private unadopted road, and as such, was the responsibility of farmers, landowners and people who lived alongside of it.

They would only take responsibility for the footpath that supposedly ran alongside the road; more often than not this was in the same condition as the road itself. 

These ‘repairs’ took place in the autumn of each year when the council would send a man with a shovel to spread a few ashes on the length of the causeway along Grand Stand Road and Lawns Lane to the villages of Carr Gate and Lawns. 

This was only a gesture on part of the Council, which by law they were forced to make, all people paying rates were entitled to the use of a footpath. 

Needless to say this was of very little use, as no sooner had it been repaired, the horses and carts were using it, making it as bad as ever in no time at all.

This state of affairs existed for the next 30 years or more. 

During this period the few repairs to the road that were done, were carried out by local farmers and market gardeners,and even they only did the worst stretches, with any old bricks or rubble they could acquire, to make it a little easier for their own farm vehicles.

What the ratepayers think

Ratepayers who have to use the road, 23 miners at one end and seven houses and a farm at the other - agree with Mrs. Lowery (see part 1.) that it is high time someone did. something in the way of repairs.

Mr. Joseph Arundel whose modern detached house at the Carr Gate end was rated at £14 per year, was born in one of the old cottages which used to flank the road, said “Since I was a lad they have been arguing whose road it is but I have never known anyone repair it”.

During his 47 years Mr. Arundel, who manages his mothers 100 acre farm, has known these happenings in Grandstand Road.

Women losing the soles of their shoes because they have been so bogged down in the mud.

Horses used to pull out motor vehicles which have been stuck. 

Mothers with prams when visiting children in Carr Gate Fever Hospital having to be hoisted on to drays to get them over the mud and water.

Coffins having to be carried to the main road because the undertaker would not risk going down the lane. 

Mr Arundel's own daughter having to walk to the main road in her wedding dress because the taxi driver would not face the mud, even for extra pay.

The solution suggested by several residents is, if it costs too much to lay a tar macadam surface, then tip plenty of brick, rubble and stones into the potholes and cover with a rough surface of ashes. 

That will at least enable us to walk without wellington boots and also give traffic a chance to get down  in bad weather.

A Change of Council

After the Local Government Act of 1974 Stanley U.D.C. was taken over by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, but their attitude to Grand Stand Road and Lawns Lane remained the same as their predesessor. 

They, like Stanley U.D.C. said it was not their problem and left it to the local inhabitants, farmers and market gardeners to keep doing the repairs to the roads.

Things regarding the road surface of both Grand Stand Road and Lawns Lane are now a little better. Mr. Green, a local market gardener has come to an understanding with Wakefield M.D.C. regarding the upkeep of the surface of the roads. 

The council having now agreed to supply a quantity of road planings when needed, with Mr. Green and another" market gardener‘ Mr. Kellet, using their own tractors and trailers to fill in any potholes that may have appeared (free of charge).

All is well that ends well.

Finally in 2018 after over 200 years Grand Stand Road and Lawns Lane (apart from the top of Lingwell Gate Lane end) have been adopted by the council and resurfaced with Tarmac.

By Bernard Arundel.

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