Cudworth Hotel with Slideshow.

The Cudworth Hotel: (The Dard’s)

I was surprised to learn that the magnificent building was in the process of being demolished.  I have visited the site on most days and taken numerous photographs of the progress of the demolition for future reference.  I have spoken to the architect in charge of the demolition Mr. Angus and he is in the dark as to the history of the hotel, what building firm constructed it and in what year.  I have noticed that the side and rear elevations and the impressive chimney stacks have been built using bricks stamped “Oakland Bros Cudworth”, they took over Cudworth bridge brickworks from the Mickethwaites company, the bricks are very hard, shiny and extremely hard wearing and are in as good a condition as the day they were laid, nearly one hundred years ago.  The brickworks were situated at the bottom end of Cudworth, off the new roundabout just past the railway bridge on the right.  The roof is covered with Westmorland green slate, with diminishing courses from ridge to eaves, the gutters and down pipes are all made out of cast iron, all the building materials have stood the test of time, nearly one hundred years!  Talking to a local ex bricklayer Mr. Steve Thomas, he says the front elevation was constructed of 3 inch handmade rustic bricks probably made at Nostell brickworks.


It appears the nickname “the Dard’s” came from the fact that the hotel was built around the time of the “Dardanelles Campaign” that took place from the 19th February 1915 to the 9th January 1916.  The Royal Navy took part in the operation to free up the Dardanelles straights, (a long narrow strip of water) which had been closed by the Ottomans for shipping, prior to the invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsular.  Turkey entered the First World War on the side of the Germans.  So the hotel must have been constructed around the time of the campaign, 1915/1916 hence the nickname ‘the Dard’s’.  When the Cudworth Hotel was first built, as a tribute to the soldiers, British and also ANZAC troops trapped on the beaches with no escape to the rear and the extreme bravery shown with many Victoria Cross medals won 38 with (six before breakfast) awarded on the 25th April 1915 to the Lancashire Fusiliers on W beach landings at Cape Helles.  The building was constructed with no rear door, but there were side doors and of course front doors.  Later on with modern fire regulations a rear door was added and also a fire escape stairs to the 2nd floor flat.  Two of the landlords I remember were Mr. Pygot and Mr. Johnny Brooks with his wife Babs.


Four Yorkshire Regiments fought at Gallipoli, they were the Alexandra Princess of Wales’s Own Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards), the East Yorkshire Regiment, the West Yorkshire Regiment and the York and Lancaster Regiment, all in the 11th Division and I have lost count of the number of men who fell serving in Yorkshire Regiments with some being from the Cudworth area.  As a matter of interest a new daffodil has been created to commemorate the sacrifice of all the men who fell at Gallipoli, 100 years ago next year, the casualty figures are staggering with British 205.000 (43.000 killed), and Anzac losses 33.000.  The daffodil has been 21 years in the making and is named “Gallipoli Dawn”; it is a must for any gardener.


The inside of the hotel was very opulent, the side and back walls of the main lounge and bar at the front were at one time covered in bevelled edged mirrors; it was a unique system, if you watched the artists performing on the stage in the side wall mirrors they disappeared into infinity along the mirrors.  On the floor in front of the bar were quarry tiles, then hardwood flooring lead you to the carpeted seating areas, some were raised up near the front and side bay windows.  The rear smaller snug bar had a snooker table and an open coal fireplace and upstairs there was a small bar lounge also with a coal fireplace.  Also there were bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs for the landlord and guests.  In the cellar there was a big range type fireplace for cooking meals and a long stone food preparation worktop, with cupboards etc and the old type wire fed bell communication system to the rooms above, (just like upstairs downstairs).  The decor and fittings in the front lounge was changed in the 60s into a concert room to meet modern trends and needs, mainly musical groups and also exotic dancers.  I remember a small pony that was stabled in the field behind the hotel; it used to perform tricks in the concert room.  The main front entrance had at one time a revolving door, as children from the King’s Road, Princess Street area, we used to sneak in and go round and round in the door, staggering out onto the pavement feeling dizzy!  Happy days especially if we were not caught in the act.


One of the scenes in the popular Yorkshire film “Kes” produced in 1969 was filmed on location at the “Dard’s”; it is the archives for posterity.  Brian Glor was the sports teacher Mr. Sugden in the film.  Who can forget him during the football match, when he was fantasising about himself as being Bobby Charlton.  When taking the penalty, he missed the first, “you moved” he said to the goal keeper Clegy, “that’s the way to take a penalty” was his reply when he scored at the second attempt!  The scene was filmed on a school sports field at Athersley, with a view of Carlton Church and Warncliffe Woodmoover 1 2 3 Colliery in the distance.  Also a TV play with the main theme relating to racing pigeons was partly filmed on location at the Dard’s.  Its title was “My Albert” and was about a group of miners who flew racing pigeons for short distances, they were known as milers. 


I noticed that the Westmorland green roof slates have been carefully stripped off and crated up for reuse.  The average price of an individual reclaimed green slate varies depending on size from £1.22 to £1.75 each, they sell at between £750 to £800 per tonne and £50 per square metre approx.  Not bad for a roofing material that is around 100 years old, they have a good life span and will look good on any building they are reused on.  I wondered if the building could have been listed, any member of the public can apply to “English Heritage” to do this; a building does not have to be 100 years old to be listed, buildings only 30 years old even 10 years old can be submitted if they are of interest.  Listed building can be altered, extended and sometimes even demolished.  Listing means that consent must be granted in order to carry out any work on a building in any form.  As the saying goes “it’s too late now”, the hotel has been raised to the ground and the small site is scheduled for 10 new houses to be built on it.  I would like to thank all the people who have provided me with information on the subject. 


I hope you have found the history of the Cudworth Hotel interesting, I am still trying to find out the name of the construction firm who built it.

Alan Curtis.

This story is on pages 16 & 17 of March 2014 Issue.

Photos of Cudworth Hotel - Demolished 2013