|Barnsley Road, Stairfoot, circa 1900-1910|
Now, Ardsley is a small village approximately 5km east from Barnsley and forms part of the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley of South Yorkshire. The earliest written evidence for the existence of Ardsley dates from the 12th century, and its name derives from the Saxon word leah (meaning a forest clearing or meadow), together with the personal name Eored, therefore means "Eored’s forest clearing". Stairfoot is also an urban village in the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley, surrounded by Kendray and Ardsley, which gets its name from a house called "the Stares Foot" which stood very close to the Black Bull. The original "stair" was probably a stepped causeway built for the packhorses on the salt route from Cheshire to Doncaster (now the main Doncaster Road, which lead into Barnsley town centre).
In the past, Ardsley had relied on agriculture, but its growth started with the building of the Dearne and Dove Canal, between 1793 and 1804. Various industries opened up all along its length, particularly at Stairfoot, with a tanyard, lime kilns, bleachcroft and eventually glassworks and coal mines, but the initial expansion of the village though came with the linen industry, because Barnsley was the leading light of linen manufacture in the area. Coal had been mined in the area as early as the 17th century, but the shaft of Ardsley Main was sunk in 1841. When the South Yorkshire Railway arrived ten years later, Ardsley, and particularly Stairfoot, grew at an enormous pace. Terraces were built to house the huge influx of not only miners, but labourers for Ben Rylands’ newly opened Hope Glassworks.
This growth called for amenities such as shops, schools and places of worship. A whole array of retail shops appeared facing Barnsley Road in Stairfoot. The Ardsley Urban District Council was formed in 1894 to oversee this much expanded community but this came to an end when Ardsley was incorporated into the Borough of Barnsley in 1921. At Christmas 1958, letters were sent out to the residents informing them that the village was to be torn down, partly for so-called slum clearance, and partly for a road-widening scheme. In the late 1950s the old street names disappeared, so gone were Barnsley Road, Pinfold Hill, Rodgers Fold, Church Street, and Lees Hill and the whole was renamed Doncaster Road. Nevertheless, Ardsey Working Mens Club (built in 1890) and other buildings on the right of the picture are still standing.
About the stamp
The stamp is part of the definitive series issued in 2011, about which I wrote here.
The history of Ardsley - Ardsley Residents Association website
Stairfoot - Wikipedia
Ardsley - Wikipedia
Sender: Andy Heald
Sent from Barnsley (England / United Kingdom), on 13.08.2012