Tuesday, 7 May 2013

A weekend in the West Riding

I started a weekend watching rugby league in West Yorkshire last Saturday in Wakefield.

Wakefield's home ground Belle Vue is the backdrop for the 1963 film This Sporting Life starring Richard Harris as a coal miner who becomes a professional rugby league player. I can't say I really recognised it much as one end is now taken up by a block of executive boxes but the high terrace at the opposite end of the ground where I stood does have a big, low roof that means noise generated by the fans is trapped and amplified, something missing from more modern stadiums with standing areas.

After the match, I went to a couple of pubs in the Good Beer Guide. The Black Rock, a darkish Victorian boozer that serves a pretty decent pint of cask Tetley's, was full of older guys watching the World Snooker Championship on TV. At the other end of the pub spectrum, The Hop  is a light, modern building with a bare brick interior. Owned by Ossett Brewery, it had most of their cask beers on and was filling up with young people who'd come to see the band that was setting up.

Walking back to the hotel, I noticed a brewery I've not heard of before: Clark's, established in 1906 from what the sign on the brewery wall says. According to the GBG, they stopped brewing in the 60's before starting again in the early 80's. The brewery stands in the shadow of HMP Wakefield, a set-up familiar to Mancunians like myself who remember the Boddingtons and Strangeways towers facing each other.


  1. William Hartnell was the old rugby coach in This Sporting Life, and it was that performance that was instrumental in him being offered the role of Doctor Who.

    1. Arthur Lowe also appears as one of the club's directors - apparently he saw it as a welcome break from Coronation Street.