Old Pontefract was to be found in the West Riding of Yorkshire until 1974 when it became part of the new county of West Yorkshire along with other towns and cities including Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds and Wakefield. Pontefract featured in sheets 234 and 249 of the Ordnance Survey 6″ inch series of the West Riding of Yorkshire. The table below gives a breakdown of the areas covered by the Pontefract area maps. Brief excerpts are also shown from the Kelly’s Directory of West Riding of Yorkshire 1881 to give a flavour and character of the area.
|North Pontefract||Yorkshire 234 SE||Castleford, Glass Houghton and North Pontefract|
|South Pontefract||Yorkshire 249 NE||Pontefract centre, Featherstone and Purston Jaglin|
PONTEFRACT, the “Tateshale” of Domesday Book, is a parliamentary and municipal borough, polling-place for the Eastern division of the Riding, market and union and county court town, and is the centre of the Pontefract highway district. There are three railway stations; those at Pontefract and Tanshelf, and a third at Baghill, on the new line from Swinton to Knottingley, and about a furlong from the Tanshelf station on the Wakefield, Pontefract and Goole branch of the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway. Pontefract is 173 miles from London, 3 south from Castleford and the Aire and Calder Canal, 13 from Leeds, 9 east from Wakefield, 14 from Doncaster, 43 from Hull, 28 from Harrogate and 20 from York, in the liberty of the honor of Pontefract, upper division of Osgoldcross wapentake Pontefract rural deanery, York archdeaconry and diocese and is situated on a beautiful eminence, not very distant from the confluence of the rivers Aire and Calder, but approached on every side by a somewhat considerable ascent. The streets are spacious and clean, and the houses neat and well built. The town is lighted with gas, well drained, and has a good supply of water
The town is noted for its extensive gardens and nurseries for the growth of liquorice, largely used in the manufacture of Pontefract liquorice cake. A great quantity vegetables are also also sent from this place to the markets of Leeds and Wakefield. Malting is extensively carried on here by Messrs. Moxon, Robson, Hurst, Barker, Smith, Swales and others. Here are maintained an iron-Foundry, a brewery, a sack and matting manufactory, tannery, machine works, and corn mills; bricks, terra-cotta and sanitary tubes are also made.