PART TWO

PREVIOUS TO THE SINKING OF THE PIT

 

The name 'Moor End' is seen on the early maps of Thorne to the north of town.  It referred to the land after the drain named 'Leonard's Drain', which marked the eastern boundary of the moors found along Broadbent Gate Lane.  The farmland in the area was called 'Diche Marfth', later Ditch Marsh then Dikes Marsh, as it is known today.  Marshland Road and Goole Road were then known as the Moor Ends Road which was made a public highway to Rawcliffe and Goole via Johnny Moor Long Road, in 1825.

Previous to the eventual sinking of the coal mine in the mid twenties, Moorends was a small farming village, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the only industry, other than farming, being the peat cutting on the moors. 

                                                                                           peat cutting on the moors

There were many uses for peat.  In the late 1800s and early 1900s, peat was used mainly for making peat bricks to burn and animal litter, particularly for horses.  Eventually, other uses were found which included the production of an alcohol for motor cars, gas for fuel, ammonia water, creosote, methyl-alcohol and tar.  There was a mill with a tall chimney that could be seen for miles, this was known as the Paraffin Mill.  Four presses were installed in the mill for the experimental process of extracting paraffin from the peat.  This was found to be unsuccessful and the mill was abandoned in 1922.

Some of the houses built in 1898 to accommodate the Dutch workers still exist today.  A prime example is Peat Moss Terrace, also known as Dutch row.  The Van Houfs, Kempens, Roleys and Peter's lived there. 

Dutch peat workers outside Peat Moss Terrace or Dutch Row in the late 1800s

Retired peat workers of more recent times at Moss Terrace

There were houses at Whaley Balk, Durham's Gardens, between the moor edge and the pit yard.  Some of the dutch families lived there, the Verhees and the Smits lived in two semi-detached cottages and worked their small holdings, along with the Sharpes, the Bells and other families.  It is said that they all lived in harmony and were a very happy little colony.  There were never any gas or water laid on at these premises.  Mrs Verhees referred to her home and Durham's Gardens as 'her little bit of paradise'.  Mr and Mrs Verhees had twelve children; seven of them were born in the house at Durham's Gardens.

The Verhees and Smits family home on the edge of the moors

The Verhees' family home, originally called Moor Cottage, was built in 1866 by Makin Durham.  After Makin's death, the ownership of the house went to his company - The Yorkshire Land and Warping Company - it was then passed on to the British Peat Moss Litter Company, who worked the moors at that time until 1963, when they were taken over by Fisons. Mr Hubertus Verhees, the father of the family, died in 1951; the Verhees family moved out of the house into council accommodation in 1958.  The house was demolished in 1960.

There were very few houses and most of the shops were situated on the Old Goole Road, which is now called Marshland Road.  The first shop to open in Moorends was Mr Prior's grocery shop in 1910; there was also the first post office which was situated where Teesdale's bakers are today.

The railway, which was built through Moorends in the mid 1800s, passed through the north of Moorends, where until 1950, farmrs would load the trains with crops and cattle to be transported to either Hull or Doncaster, from the sidings on both sides of the lines.

There was a row of small cottages known as the Railway Cottages, which ran almost alongside of the railway sidings and faced to the rear of Moss Terrace, they were built in the mid 1800s, they no longer exist. Thorne Moor signal box stood to the right side of the crossing, travelling towards Rawcliffe Bridge, it was demolished fairly recently.

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