infobox UK place
country = England
population = 16,375 (2001)
region= Yorkshire and the Humber
postcode_district = WF7
Featherstone is a
townin the City of Wakefielddistrict, in West Yorkshire, England. It lies south west of Pontefractand has a population of 16,375 [According to the 2001 Census [http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/AboutWakefield/Research/PopulationAndCensus/wakefieldresident.htm] ] Featherstone railway stationis on the Pontefract Line.
Like many towns in the area, it grew around
coal mining, and was the site of a miners' strike in 1893. [ [http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/CultureAndLeisure/HistoricWakefield/Highlights/FeathersoneMassacre/default.htm Wakefield Council] ] During the strike the town came to national attention when soldiers fired on striking miners killing two. A distinctive sculpture marking the centenary of the Featherstone Massacrestands in the shopping precinct and a large mural depicting the town's heritage can be seen at the town's main crossroads. Ackton Hall Colliery was the first pit to close following the end of the miners' strike and this could not be contested as geological difficulties had made it impossible for the pit to continue production.
Despite most population growth taking place around the Industrial Revolution, Featherstone traces its history back much further than this. It is thought that a local public house, the Travellers Rest, can trace its origins to the 17th century whilst the Jubilee Hotel is a listed building which once provided a resting place for wealthy Victorians and their horses.
Featherstone is undergoing continual change and as part of this a new, state of the art £2.5 million community centre has been built in Station Lane. The "Pit Houses", the houses constituting a council estate which formerly belonged to the National Coal Board, have been demolished to make room for further developments.
However, some parts of Featherstone retain original charm. Opened in the 1950s, Purston Park takes up a large area of space and offers a lake and a children's play area. There was also previously a bowling green, until being changed to a rose garden in 2004. It has been made out of the grounds of what was originally a private residence and a country estate, with the stately home formerly acting as the town hall. This building was sold to developers in 2007 and has since been converted into luxury apartments.
The town is home to a rugby league club,
Featherstone Rovers, who on May 7 1983won the Challenge Cup. They are currently in National League 1, after being promoted last season, beating Oldham in the Play-Offs final. Originally made up of local miners, the club was formed in the Railway Hotel in 1902, then re-formed in 1906. [ [http://www.btinternet.com/~rovers/his.html his ] ] The Featherstone Rovers stadium (The Lionheart Stadium, traditionally known as Post Office Road) was re-named as the " Chris MoylesStadium", after the Leeds-based radio DJ, in January 2007. The amatuer side Featherstone Lionsalso hail from the town.
Featherstone contains no fewer than five churches; St Thomas' C of E Church, All Saints' C of E Church, the Methodist Church, the Catholic Church and the South Featherstone Gospel Hall. There is also a chapel which has since been turned into an antiques salesroom and the North Featherstone Gospel Hall that has been converted into a private dwelling.
The town has two secondary schools; Featherstone Technology College and St Wilfrid's Catholic High School and Language College.St. Wilfrid's has recently earned a new "vocational specialists" title.
Primary schools include St. Thomas Junior and Girnhall Infants
Featherstone is part of the Hemsworth constituency, and is represented by Labour MP
Jon Trickettin the House of Commons.
At local elections, the Labour Party has been shunned ever since the town's swimming pool was closed and demolished. Local Independent candidates were elected in the 2004 District Elections ending over 100 years of Labour Control. District Councillors Kay Binnersley, Roy Bickerton and Pauline Guy were all elected in 2004, and are still representing Featherstone at Wakefield District Metropolitan Council today. Following the defeat at Wakefield District Council, twelve Independents candidates were put forward for election onto the Town Council in 2007, eight were elected, which made Featherstone an Independent controlled Town Council.
* [http://www.featherstoneonline.ik.com Featherstone Online: Local information about services and events in and around Featherstone.]
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