While the sinking of the first shaft was taking place, Moorends started to flourish.  Dwellings were built to house the hundreds of miners that were expected to move to the area from all over the country.

It is said that the original plan was to build Moorends nearer to Thorne, but the price of land and other pressures made this impossible.  The houses were built of materials and labour mostly from the local area.  Materials such as timber and metal were brought in by railway, running into sidings in the area where Moorends Hotel now stands.  When the village was first built, the 'rows' and 'groups' of houses were not named.  When eventually it was decided that this should come about, there were no places named 'street' in Moorends, all the addresses were roads, avenues, groves, gates and gardens.  The first of the 1217 houses to be built were on Wembley road, named after the 1924 British Empire Exhibition in London, and onwards from there.

Gainford Road was named after Lord Gainford, The Fairway after the 1928 St Leger winner, Barnsley Road, Kents Gardens and High Hazel Road were all named after the coal seams found below Moorends in the mine.  Some roads were named after nearby farms, either existing or extinct at that time; others were named after certain sections of the moors, ie Chadwick Moor.

Orchard Lane was built where there was once an orchard that belonged to either Blacker's or Grange Farms.  These houses were passed on to Thorne Rural District Council.  The tenants of these houses did not enjoy the same benefits as the tenants of pit houses, as electricity and water were not laid on here for several years.

The terraced houses with bay windows in Darlington Grove and on both sides of the Grove on Marshland Road, were built to rent by an absent landlord in the pre colliery era.  The council took them over around 1950 due to unpaid rates.  Apparently, the houses were in poor condition and had to be renovated.

Prior's Row or Prior's Terrace as it is now known, is thought to have been built around the time of the First World War; it consists of six red brick terraced houses, preceding Prior's shop which is adjoined to the terrace.  This was the first shop in the second recessed area on the left side of Marshland Road travelling north, where other shops were later built.  The terrace preceding Prior's row were built around the same time.

Prior's Row in 2008, see the original frontage of Prior's shop

Most of the houses were built on the colliery side of Marshland Road.  It seems that it was very fortunate that there were different routes to the colleiry as, occasionally, Chadwick Road, the end of Haig Road and the Fairway would regularly become flooded.

There were no problems in finding workers, word got around several counties.  After the 1914-18 war, unemlpoyment was very high; the need for coal had slowed down, therefore, many collieries in Britain were not working a full working week.  Pease and Partners had many interests, such as the manufacturing of steel and building steam engines and rail roads.  Full time jobs were hard to find in those days and many experienced miners found work at Thorne Colliery, together with steelworkers, dockers, joiners, mechanics, farmers and also men that hadn't worked for years.

The accommodation offered was very much sought after. The houses were solidly built, not all of the same size or design, containing a coal fired cooking range with a back boiler to heat the water and a copper for wash day, usually built across a corner of the kitchen, which was also coal fired.  Most bathrooms were downstairs containing a Hillyer tank that held both hot and cold water.  There was also an outside flush toilet in many of the houses.


There were some experimental houses built half way down Locarno Road, they were constructed mainly of steel.  Unfortunately, they were not a great success and were showing severe rust by 1934, by the 1970s they had been demolished.


The steel houses on Locarno Road, left - looking quite smart and new, right - showing vast deterioration in 1934

Mr and Mrs Abrahams came to live and work in Moorends in August 1932 during the depression.  They were allocated number 20 Locarno Road, which was a steel house.  Their daughtr Patricia was born while they lived there, in 1933.  She remembers a very happy childhood, also all the different accents of the children, their families coming from Durham, Nottingham, South Wales, Scotland and the rest of Yorkshire.  The children growing up in Moorends spoke with a special Yorkshire accent.

The water supply was piped into the houses from the colliery's water refining plant.  Unusual for this era was the extra luxury of electricity that was generated in the power house where the boiler plant was housed at the colliery.

Because of this and the benefit of the water refining plant, the pithead communal bath house was built in 1933; each miner being allocated a brass bath token on which his personal number was stamped.  The miners could buy pit soap and towels at a premuim rate.  The pit canteen was also introduced around the same time.

All the tenants of pit houses also enjoyed the benefit of electricity.  Every house had a coin meter, (sometimes near to pay day, when coins were in short supply, candlesand paraffin lamps were used) and eventually, electric street lighting was also supplied.  A decent living was to be made as miners also received a coal consignment of one ton every month; this was called'home coal'.

Each dwelling had it's own garden to the front and the rear.  Pease and Partners usually built what they called 'Garden Villages' around their mines.  Most miners cultivated their gardens, the rear of the house with soft fruit bushes and vegetables, usually the front with a lawn and flowers.  In the late 1920s the pit owners gave prizes for the best kept gardens.

The allotments, situated between the rec and the pit yard and spread towards the end of South Road, were greatly sought after; especially by miners with big families.  They were called Pig Hill allotments, as they were sited on the edge of the Pig Hill part of the moors; they could be reached by walking over the rec.  There were also two allotments on the ground at the side of the chapel on Garden Road.

Growing produce and keeping a certain amount of livestock, including racing pigeons, wasn't the only attraction.  The allotments also provided excercise and fresh air, not forgetting the camaraderie.

The colliery's manager, Mr Knapper, lived in West Road.  This rather splendid house was known as the 'Knapper's House' and it was knocked down in the early 1960s in order to build The Hermitage - the cul-de-sac of council houses and bungalows off West Road, after the vicarage.

Mr Knapper's House can be seen far right in the picture,

the wooden building preceding the house was the first church hall, replaced by the Old Peoples Centre

The colliery's under manager, Mr Bridge, lived on Gainford Road in the only detached house built in that area.  The house and gardens are very impressive and it is named Gainford House.

Gainford House

The house next door to Gainford House, which was on the corner of Barnsley Road and Gainford Road, was known as The Vicarage for a while because the first priests-in-charge of the Anglican Church lived there until the new vicarage was built in 1957.

Pit deputies houses were built on Barnsley Road and Gainford Road, the rears overlooking the rec.  These semi-detached houses were quite grand, being twice as spacious as others built around them, their gardens were accordingly sized.

The Avenue was another area for pit deputies and trade skilled miners; although the houses were on a smaller scale, the location was very pleasant.  The road was lined with grass verges and trees; the road led to Micklethwaite's Farm and the pithead could be seen in the distance.

The Avenue

The areas off Marshland Road to the west of the village, travelling north, were created by the tipping and spreading of household rubbish, mostly ashes.  This task was undertaken by Charlie Parkinson and Sam Atkins who were local farmers, using their horses and drays for the collections.  The areas that were created were Marsh Lane and the old fair ground, now known as Moorside Court.  

This picture of Marshland Road shows the space after the post office where the 'new era' council houses are now built, the old telegraph poles and street lights,the double decker bus and the red telephone box, note the bus stop at the side of the telephone box, all of the 1940s/50s era.

In 1931/32, Wilkinson Avenue was built by Ted Wilkinson; he had the large double fronted detached house on the right of Wilkinson Avenue built for himself and his family; the other properties were rented to tenants.  The houses on Marshland Road before and after the entrance to Wilkinson Avenue were built in the mid to late 1920s, the builder is unknown.  The last detached house on the left side going towards Thorne was built by Rhodes the builder in the early 1930s for his disabled son who was a tin smith.  It was later taken over by a stonemason and still serves that purpose today.

Towards the late 1950s, Thorne Council built a more modern type of house along Marshland Road and into Grange Road and West Road, also on Northgate.

A Tenant's Association was formed in the mid 1950s; the people who ran it were, Mr Reay, president,  Mr Sam Cairns, treasurer and Mr William Carr, secretary.

Later, in 1965/70 a new part of the village was built on the west side of Marshland Road. This consisted of the large Darlington estate of semi-detached 'Reema' type, pre fabricated houses, bungalows and flats.  This area was very attractive and modern, it was tucked away, behind a row of shops on the left side of Marshland Road. Later, a new estate of private houses and bungalows were built, adjoining Darlington Grove, leading towards Newholme Road. 

The two bungalows opposite the old library in The Circle were built in the early 1960s.  These were built in memory of J R Alwyn Machin, who was a Trade Union Leader, becoming Compensation Agent, then the President of the NUM - Yorkshire Area.  He was elected to President of the National Union of Mineworkers posthumously.

The two bungalows in The Circle

The two police houses were also built in the mid 1960s in West Road, opposite the Doctor's house.  In the 1930s/40s law and order was kept by 'Bobby' Bainbridge who lived in Wembley Road and 'Bobby' Milns, who lived in Bloomhill Close.

A caravan site was developed at the nearside of the railway in the late 1950s on Bloomhill Road.  The caravans were not very permanent and so it was decided, in the late 1980s, that as caravans were taken off the site, the more modern sectional homes would replace them, they would all have their own small plot of land and supply of electricty and water.

The Ferndale Estate was built in the late 1960s, early 1970s, on the land previously owned by the Diocese of York.

By the late 1970s, lots of tenants were the proud owners of their own property, having bought their houses either when the NCB offered them for sale in the early 1970s or taking advantage of the 'right to buy' plan, after the council took over in the mid 1970s.


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