Ferrybridge, Knottingley.
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Ferrybridge is a village in West Yorkshire, at a historically important crossing of the River Aire; it is linked to other communities by the A1, which follows the route of the Great North Road; its history dates back to the establishment of Anglo-Saxon settlements along the River Aire; the respective histories of Ferrybridge and Knottingley are closely linked, bringing glassmaking, shipbuilding, brewing and potteries to the area.

The history of Ferrybridge as a settlement dates back to an Anglo-Saxon development alongside the River Aire, which contributed to many types of industries ranging from shipbuilding, glassmaking, brewing and potteries.

Ferrybridge, which is situated on land that is mostly rich soil on top of a magnesium limestone ridge, is known for the Ferrybridge Power Station, which had 8 of the largest cooling towers of their kind in Europe, 3 of which collapsed in high winds in 1965; the remaining towers can still be seen for miles around.

A cooling tower comes crashing to the ground
during high winds in 1965.

The aftermath of the incident.
3 of the 8 cooling towers
were completely destroyed.

The Bank Dole lock, on a canal which was built within a deep cutting in the limestone, at Ferrybridge was opened, at 10am on the 20th July 1826, providing a connection between the newly opened port of Goole with the river Aire at Ferrybridge.

By the early 17th century the main route from London to York was via Ferrybridge along the Great North Road; it became a major coaching centre where the routes to York and Edinburgh would divert; several coaching houses in Ferrybridge served the passengers, coachmen and their horses the most important of which was The Angel, which was a large building with lots of stabling.

The bridge at Ferrybridge was found to be too narrow for the increasing amount of traffic going across it and for the small barges passing beneath it along the Aire and Calder Navigation and so a new bridge was authorised and construction began in 1797; designed by the architect John Carr and built by local builder Bernard Hartley it was eventually opened to traffic in June 1804.

The toll house which stands just in front of the old bridge dates from around the same period; both the bridge and toll house still exist to this day; however, the bridge is no longer accessible to traffic and the toll house is in use today as office accommodation.

Evidence of settlers in the area, and one its oldest remaining antiquities, is at Ferrybridge Henge; this early prehistoric ceremonial monument dates back to the Neolithic period during the years c.4000 to c.1500 BC when these circular henge monuments first began to appear.


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