c1906 Map of All Saints Ward, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire

Dewsbury is a town in the West Riding of the county of York comprising the township of Dewsbury and Batley, as well as portions of the township of Soothill (Upper and Lower), Mirfield (Ravensthorpe), and Thornhill (Thornhill Lees and Savile Town) located fivemiles west of Wakefield, and 27 miles southwest of York and 187 miles from London. The charter of incorporation was granted in 1861. It was a station for the Manchester and Leeds section of the London and North-Western railway, and was also connected with the Lancashire and Yorkshire, and the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire lines. This parish in Saxon times was of vast extent, comprising nearly 400 square miles, and was later very considerable, including the townships of Ossett-with-Gawthorpe, South Ossett, Hartshead, Earl's Heaton, Batley Carr, and Hanging Heaton, together comprising about 9,551 acres.


West Town, Dewsbury
c1906

The soil was fertile, resting on a substratum of carboniferous, limestone and coal, which was extensively wrought. The town of Dewsbury is pleasantly situated at the base of a hill by the river Calder, and was a place of great antiquity, though most of the buildings were modern.

For several centuries the town had remained nearly stationary, but had greatly increased in wealth and population, owing to its situation in the midst of a rich manufacturing and mining district. The extension of the Calder and Hebble navigation, and the opening of the several lines of railway, had brought it into connection with Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Halifax, and Wakefield, and also with the river Humber. The cloth and blanket hall was erected in 1837, and the Dewsbury Church Institute was established in 1842. The inhabitants were chiefly employed in the manufacture of blankets, carpets, worsted, and fine woollen cloth, for the fulling of which the water of the Calder was reckoned peculiarly suitable. Many of the houses were well built and even spacious, and the streets were paved and lighted with gas. The parish church was rebuilt in 1767. There were district churches at West Town, Dewsbury Moor, Earls Heaton, Hanging Heaton, Batley Carr, Hartshead-cum-Clifton, Ossett-cum-Gawthorpe, and South Ossett, all of which were noticed under their respective heads. There were chapels for Wesleyans, New Connection Methodists, Baptists, Independents, Roman Catholics, and Society of Friends. There were several schools, a subscription library, and a mechanics' institute. The market day was Thursday, but a provision market was also held on Saturday. There were two annual fairs held in May and September.