Waterton’s Walton – The Village Where Nature Confronted The Industrial Revolution

Featured

Charles Waterton by Charles Wilson Peale, 1824, National Gallery, London

Charles Waterton by Charles Wilson Peale, 1824, National Gallery, London By Stephencdickson – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35651312 Click: https://watertonswalton.wordpress.com/charles-waterton-by-charles-wilson-peale-1824-national-gallery-london/ to see changes made to original.

This website is about the village of Walton, near Wakefield in West Yorkshire. It aims to emphasize the uniqueness of Walton as a place from a historical perspective.  An important focal point in the history of Walton is that it was the home of the famous naturalist and explorer, Charles Waterton.

Waterton is a famous figure who was an inspiration to naturalist Charles Darwin who revolutionised science. On one occasion Darwin himself was Waterton’s guest at Walton Hall. Waterton is, in his own right, internationally significant in the history of science.

England’s most important historical attribute is that it was the world’s first industrialised society. Waterton helps place Walton right in the middle of the Industrial Revolution, a global historical turning point that began in the north of England and set off reverberations down the ages and across continents and impacts on daily life even today.

Waterton’s philosophy was a direct reaction to the negative impact of this revolution in human progress. It provided a message about how we can better manage this progress for the benefit of both humankind and the natural environment. It is therefore a message directly relevant to the challenges of our own time. Walton was one of the first places in the world where there were serious attempts to mitigate some of its negative consequences.

It was on his estate at Walton Hall that he created the world’s first nature reserve. This made Walton an important place in the history of environmentalism and as such it can be seriously argued that Walton was the village where nature and industry first met.

What happened in Walton in the early days of industry is something that has modern relevance. It is also something that could link the hard-working ordinary people of Walton’s industrial past to profound events that transformed our world. Due to its place in the industrial revolution Walton could exemplify the transition from an agricultural to an industrial society. This is of equal significance to the period when agriculture first emerged in the Fertile Crescent of the Near East which led to the development of the first cities. The transition from agriculture to industry is surely of equal interest as the transition from hunter gatherer to agriculture based societies.

It is the presence of Charles Waterton that helps differentiate Walton from other ex-mining villages and is something that makes the history of the village of much wider public interest.

 


Walton – The Village Where Nature Confronted The Industrial Revolution

 

Advertisements

Waterton’s Wall – Where Nature Met the Industrial Revolution

This is the second part of an exploration of the wall built by Charles Waterton to enclose the world’s first nature reserve.

While Part 1 introduced the nature reserve, Part 2 looks at where the wall ran parallel to the old Barnsley Canal. The idea of this video is to show a juxtaposition of nature and industry in the context of England as the world’s first industrial society. The idea is to emphasise the village of Walton’s broader historical significance as one of the first places where the impact of industry on the natural world was raised.


Walton – The Village Where Nature Confronted The Industrial Revolution

 

Historical Street Artifacts: George VI Post Box on Shay Lane

Sometimes you overlook items of historic interest as you walk down your local streets. These can be quite quirky and add texture, interest and historical depth to out built environment. I have previously written about Walton’s Historic Fingerpost sign, I am now going to write a bit about the George VI post box on Shay Lane near the entrance to The Balk.

Old-Post-Office-Post-Box-RED-2500

Technically this particular type of post box is referred to as Wall Boxes, as distinct from the more familiar Pillar Boxes. Both types of box, with their distinctive red colour and cast iron structure, are iconic items across the length and breadth of the country.

The words ‘NEXT COLLECTION’ below the slot and above the day indicator which may change when the post is collected. In the above photograph the day is Tuesday. Below that is a notice about the last collection time. Underneath that is the Royal Cipher of the monarch who was on the throne at the time the box was made and installed. In this case it is G IV R which stands for George IV Rex – Rex being the Latin for King in contrast to the R on E II R ciphers which stands for Regina (Queen). The George VI Royal Cipher has the Tudor Crown above it in contrast the later cipher of Elizabeth II which uses St Edward’s Crown.

These boxes are said to be more typical in rural as opposed to urban areas when pillar boxes are more common so that might explain why we have this one in Walton.

Walton Scarecrow Festival 2018

The scarecrow festival took place this weekend, Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th September. Below are some photos of some of this year’s entries. I will start with my favourite, which was a fox on Thornhill Croft:

Untitled

My second favourite was the owl on Oakenshaw Lane:

Untitled

My third favourite was Hotel Transylvanian at Priory Square:

Untitled

Here are some more of the entries:

Untitled Untitled

Untitled

[UPDATE: The following was this year’s winner:]
Untitled

Untitled Untitled

Untitled Untitled

Untitled Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled Untitled

Untitled Untitled

Untitled Untitled

Untitled