The Bagnall's of Wakefield

Bagnall Bros.
Builders & Contractors

Bagnall Bros. Letter Head

Exactly Who Were the Bagnall Brothers?

Well that's a difficult question to answer as accounts differ and it seems the "firm" may have changed hands amongst the brothers.

Here's a wonderful recollection from the Granddaughter of Harry Bagnall, Irene Wilson:

My Grandfather was Harry Bagnall who originally lived on Stanley Road Wakefield. He died when I was quite young and his wife died before I was born. I can remember him when he got old he went to live in Oxford with his youngest daughter Norah. He came back to Wakefield to stay with his eldest daughter Gertrude Mary (my mother) at Albion Street Wakefield. I think this was about 1960 and it was always said that he came back to Yorkshire to die.

I seem to remember he had a brother who lived in York Street Wakefield. I think he was called Milton or something like that. (RB: This could perhaps be John Milton Bagnall)

I was always told as a child that Harry and his father built the public library in Wakefield and a school near the market. (RB: See Drury Lane Library)

- Irene Wilson

Bagnall Brick
A Bagnall Brick

It seems that as well as building much of Wakefield, much of what it was built from was made locally, in two (or more) brickworks. Mount Clay Brick Works and Wind Hill Brick Works.

1884, 22nd March Wakefield and West Riding Herald

22nd March 1884 Wakefield and West Riding Herald

One of the Bagnalls built shops in Cross Square/Bread Street.

Cross Square Shops

I think these could be the shops on Google Streetview which at time of writing, judging by Streetview, were occupied by Harvey's Jewellers and Ashworth and Bird.

1889, 21st December Wakefield and West Riding Herald

21st December 1889 Wakefield and West Riding Herald

It seems that there was a bit of a dispute about some air bricks that went to court!

1899, 25th April Yorkshire Evening Post

25th April 1899 Yorkshire Evening Post

Looking to buy a cart

"WANTED, SPRING CART, and Second-hand HARNESS, to suit cob 13 hands, to lead few bricks and lime.-Apply Bagnall Bros., Contractors, Wekefield."

1899 May 30, Yorkshire Evening Post

Looking to sell 2 carts the following month!

"FOR SALE, one Cart HORSE, 2 CARTS, nearly new, and 2 sets of Cart GEARS; no further use for same.-Bagnall Bros., Contractors, Wakefield."

30th May 1899 Yorkshire Evening Post

1903 April 25, Yorkshire Evening Post

Looking to sell a mare and harness

FOR Sale, useful black CART MARE, aged, and Harness (pedigreed).-Bagnall Bros. Contractors, Wakefield.

25th April 1903 Yorkshire Evening Post

1903, 14th August Yorkshire Evening Post

14th August 1903 Yorkshire Evening Post

FOR SALE, quantity of good, second-hand BLUE SLATES and CAPPED RIDGING,-Bagnall Bros., Contractors, Wakefield

1909, 28th July Yorkshire Evening Post

WANTED, PIANO SCREEN, also a REPRESS: must be in good condition.-Bagnall Bros., Mount Clay Brickworks, Wakefield.

28th July 1909 Yorkshire Evening Post

1909, 4th October Yorkshire Evening Post

To LET, HAULAGE of ONE MILLION BRICKS by traction or motor.-Apply Bagnall Bros., Mount Clay Brick Works, Wakefield.

4th October  1909 Yorkshire Evening Post

1910 William & George Dissolve Bagnall Bros.

The London Gazette, October 1910
The London Gazette, October 1910

It seems that from this notice in the London Gazette, from October 1910, on 17th October, George and William Bagnall dissolved the firm "BAGNALL BROS."

This advertisement in the Yorkshire Evening Post on 21st August 1912 implies that the running, possibly the ownership of the brickworks was in the Bagnall family. Perhaps George teamed up with Harry?

Yorkshire Evening Post, 21st August 1912
Yorkshire Evening Post, 21st August 1912

JOINER WORK, 7 houses, labour only, -G. and H. Bagnall, Mount Clay Brickworks, Wakefield.

It would be my assumption that this was George and Harry Bagnall.

Alverthorpe Working Mens' Club
Alverthorpe Working Mens' Club

Visiting the Mayor of Wakefield September 2005

Meeting Patrick Bagnall & the Mayor of Wakefield
Meeting Patrick Bagnall & the Mayor of Wakefield

In September 2005 two things happened:

  1. I met a distant cousing, Patrick Bagnall for the first time ever. Found via a mutual interest in genealogy
  2. Patrick and I were invited to meet the Mayor of Wakefield, who had important information to interest us both

Patrick and I went to the Town Hall and met the Mayor, Cllr David Hopkins, who showed us two Mason's Mallets presented by Messrs Bagnall Bros to the Mayor. One, made from ebony was presented (I think) at the laying of a foundation stone for Alverthorpe Working Mens club. A building I didn't know they had built. The inscription reads G & H Bagnall which would indicate that Messrs Bagnall Brothers were George and Harry Bagnall. The other mallet is made from ivory and is unfortnately damaged, but I assume it may have been to commemorate the building of the Drury Lane Library. Many thanks too to Mr. Jubb for arranging our visit.

Drury Lane Library(?) and Alverthorpe WMC Commemorative mallets
Drury Lane Library(?) and Alverthorpe WMC Commemorative mallets
Alverthorpe WMC Commemorative Mallet Inscription
Alverthorpe WMC Commemorative Mallet Inscription

The inscription would also lead to the conclusion that Bagnall brothers was now George & Harry

Grandpa made at least 2 sorts of bricks, both I think were made to the Accrington formula, the orange ones and the blue ones. If you tried to drill through the blue ones the end of your drill bit usually dropped off before you got the hole drilled. These were engineering bricks which when I lived at 401 Aberford Road consisted of all the internal walls and the inside skin of the external walls. His brickworks, as far as I remember was on Ivy Lane opposite the entrance to Stanley Royd hospital.

If he was building a large site, he made a brickworks on site, otherwise he had 70 pairs of horses and transported them to Kirkgate station, he eventually sold out to his friend Armitage Brickworks.

The Normanton brickworks have a vast collection of bricks, that's if they're still in business.

Grandpa's bricks are still evident after aprox 100 years and are all over Stanley and a lot of the schools he built are still going strong.

He built most of Beeston area of Leeds which have been converted from back to back terrace houses to through terraces with Marble looking fireplaces and the ones that I have been in are in excellent condition.

Bagnall Brothers was Uncles Jeffrey & Roland, Grandpa was Geo Bagnall, possibly & son.

- - Michael Webster