What's Batley Known For?
A market town situated in the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees, Batley lies within West Yorkshire, as part of the Heavy Woollen District. Originally recorded in the Domesday Book as ‘Bateleia’ when the manor was given to Ilbert de Lacy, and then later to the Battes, Batley comes from the Danish word meaning ‘home of bats’. Batley is also famous for being the home of Fox’s biscuits, the company originally started life as Michael Spedding’s confectionary shop during 1853, later becoming the Fox’s Biscuits we know and love the nation over.
The first church in Batley was constructed during the 11th century, with the current parish church residing today on the same foundations, originally built during the early 1400s. 16th century Batley saw coal mining become the predominant trade, with the White Lee coal mine operating in full force until 1973. By the 1740s, Methodism had been introduced, with the Mount Pleasant area being a dedicated Methodist area. By the 19th century, Batley’s predominant industry was the shoddy trade, with the recycling of woollen goods, grinding down old clothes, and re-spinning yarn being widely popular.
Today, Batley is home to many incredible landmarks and attractions, such as the Wilton Park butterfly house and observatory where the local astronomy society meets, and the Bagshaw Museum which sits in the home of the former ‘Shoddy Baron’, George Sheard, with local exhibits and an Ancient Egypt display. There is also the National Coal Mining Museum at Wakefield, which gives local miners the chance to guide groups down to the old underground shafts.