The following article is taken word for word from a Doncaster Library publication of an unknown date. It was provided by Mr Hardisty. Thanks must go to both of these parties for what is to follow.
There is a picture gallery at the foot of this page consisting of all the images from the leaflet.
Scawthorpe lies about 2 miles north-west of Doncaster. The name is thought to be derived from an old Norse personal name, Skuli, and thorpe meaning secondary settlement or outlying farmstead (Skuli’s Farm). The first recorded reference is to ‘Scoulthorpe’ in 1317.
The area, known today as Scawthorpe, has only developed since the 1920s. The original area of Scawthorpe was farmland to the west of York Road, from Sunnyfields to Green Lane. In the mid 19th century, it comprised of approximately 200 acres with no more than fifteen residents. By the end of the century there were farm buildings and a row of cottages on the estate; Edward Jackson, farmer, was residing at Scawthorpe Hall, and his son, Edward William, the designer of the Cheswold motor car, at Scawthorpe House. On the opposite side of York Road, on the corner of Jossey Lane was Scawthorpe Grange Farm and two cottages. The 1891 census records 36 people living at Scawthorpe. Scawthorpe Hall had tennis courts, a sunken rose garden, stables and a laundry, and was accessed by the main drive via South Lodge.
By 1925, Scawthorpe Farm belonged to the Barber Walker Company, the owners of Bentley Colliery. Mr McGregor, the Colliery agent lived in the hall, the chauffeur lived in the South Lodge, and the farm manager in the Middle Lodge. Colliery agents continued to live at Scawthorpe Hall until about 1960. By the early 1980s, the hall, the house, and several other buildings had been demolished to make way for the new ‘Sycamore’s’ housing estate.
After the First World War, miners, mainly from Brodsworth Colliery, bought long plots of land on Green Lane, which were to be developed. A ‘Tin-City’ of corrugated shacks and railway carriages became temporary accommodation for the miners and their families, whilst they began to build permanent homes. The area became known as ‘Little Canada’ due to the similarity of these structures to Canadian houses; they did, however have to be inspected and approved to be habitable.
New development 1920 – 1945
The area to the east of York Road, now known as Scawthorpe, was referred to as ‘Jossey Lane’: part of the countryside, which surrounded Bentley. It was mostly grassland, and during the Second World War, wheat and vegetables were grown. Pipering Lane, which ran from York Road to Bentley, was a bridleway, popular for blackberrying. In 1935, the first private houses were built on Middlegate (now Jossey Lane), Walden Avenue, Scawthorpe Avenue, Ashton Avenue, and the Raymond Road end of Amersall Road: prices ranged from £450 to £475, the deposit was £20. There were no immediate amenities; the nearest shops and school were in Bentley. One resident recalls, “Bentley Park played a big part in our lives, with the band playing every Sunday in the bandstand.”
Sunnyfields estate, characterised by its flat-roofed houses, was developed on land originally belonging to Scawthorpe Farm. In 1934, a three-bedroom house on Stanley Road, a cul-de-sac built by Thompson and Dixon, cost £385, with a 2 bedroom house costing £375, these could be secured with a deposit of £35 followed by a mortgage of 11s 2d per week for 22 years.
There were few local amenities: the nearest school was at Highfields, the Sun Inn was built in 1936, and Dr. McKeown held a surgery in a pre-fabricated clinic on Barnsley Road.
Development Post War
Pipering Lane was a dirt track with no building along its length. Bentley-with-Arksey Urban District Council was responsible for the administration of the area. Post-war housing development was both Council and private. Initially, the area seems to have been a mixture of semi-permanent and permanent housing, Nissen Huts were built on Pipering Lane until they were replaced by council and colliery houses in the early 1950s. Pre-fabs’ were erected on Middlegate and Jossey Lane. In 1946, council houses were built on Scawthorpe Avenue, Long Edge Lane, Langthwaite Lane, Middlegate (Jossey Lane), and Balham Avenue. The main living room in a council house was painted brown, with the kitchen and bathroom in green. One resident remembers: “I came into my house [on Castle Hills Road] in 1947, it was a brand new house and my first baby boy was just 14 days old. We had no causeways made and ours was the first row of new houses to be built. It was fields around us; two woods with lots of wildlife. We saw the estate grow.”
The children had to walk to Cooke Street school, in Bentley. there were no shops either which meant the shopping was also done in Bentley.
The second phase of council housing saw the development of Springcroft Drive, Stonehill Rise, Amersall Crescent, Broachgate, and Homefield Crescent. Between 1952 and 1955, the National Coal-board built over 300 houses on Jossey Lane, Danesway, and Petersgate. Despite all this building, the area was still semi-rural. Concrete colliery houses were built mainly to accommodate the influx of Scottish miners. During the early 1950s, private development along Amersall Road had begun at Jossey Lane and had joined up with Raymond Road which had originally been a cul-de-sac. Land for private development sold for £275 per plot: many people built their own houses; ready-built houses could be bought for £450. Development on Amersall Road progressed on into the 1960s. In order for the road to link Jossey Lane with Raymond Road they had to cut through that had formerly dissected the two roads.
The first shop to open was the Co-operative on Stonehill Rise, followed by the ‘Meadow Dairy’, and a Post-Office on Scawthorpe Avenue. Mt Dunn, the newsagent, originally sold papers from a wooden hut before moving into his present shop on Crossland Way. A Library service operated out of a small room on Watch House Lane. The Adam and Eve opened in 1957. Dr. Harry McKeown held a clinic once a week. The nearest bus stop however, was still on York Road. Sunnyfields school was built c1956 and the first Headmaster was Mr. Banks; the infant school opened in 1964 with Mrs. Oldfield as Headmistress. The present Don Valley High School, originally known as Bentley Scawthorpe Secondary Modern, and built on the site of Scawthorpe Grange Farm, was opened in 1959.
The present Castle Hills Middle School was used as a church before St. Luke’s was built in 1965; the Church of England used it in the morning and the Methodists used it in the afternoon, both had Sunday Schools. The red brick Methodist Church opened in 1958, with help from the Joseph Rank Benevolent Trust. A large white hut on Broachgate was used for Cubs. Brownies, and Guides: Mrs. Lawson was the Guides leader.
Other amenities followed in the shape of an off-licence, a launderette, Tree’s the bakers, Clark’s the barbers, Robinson’s the dentist, a Lada garage on Amersall Road; the present Library was opened in 1962, a new Post Office on Amersall Road in 1968, and Amersall House in October 1973.