William Arthur Kendall
Including his nephew, Charles Kendall Hanson, who won the Military Cross and co-designed the Ossett War Memorial; his niece, Louisa Hanson, mentioned in despatches and the first Ossett woman to serve overseas in The Great War.
There are some Ossett family names which echo down the centuries; the Marsdens, Haighs, Inghams, Pickards and the Nettletons to name but a few.
Then there are those who also make a difference to Ossett’s history but whose names and contributions are, for one reason or another, barely noted, marked or remembered. William Arthur Kendall comes from one such family.
The Kendall family, William Kendall (1804-1891), his wife Ann (nee Holliday) and their two sons Stephen Kendall (1830-?) and William Holliday Kendall(1838-1913), came from North Yorkshire to live in Ossett and Horbury in the 1860’s. Because some of Stephen’s offspring were to make significant contributions to Ossett, and the country, our focus is upon a strand of this extended family viz; Stephen’s eldest son William Arthur Kendall (1857-1937), his sister Emma Hanson (nee Kendall) and two of her three children Charles Kendall Hanson (1893-1973) and Louisa Hanson (1887- 1981), who appear to have been abandoned by Emma’s husband, their father, in the 1890’s. Fortunately William Arthur Kendall was able to come to their rescue in the mid/late 1890’s. Of all his achievements this was surely the greatest.
The previous decade had been the most turbulent years of William Arthur’s life. He suffered many family tragedies, some unavoidable and others self inflicted, and at a time when his services as an architect were in great demand. William Arthur Kendall lived in Ossett for almost the whole of his 80 years. He deserves to be remembered for his unparalleled achievements in making Ossett the town we know today.
William Arthur Kendall, was born in Leadenham, Lincolnshire, in spring 1857 and baptised at Tadcaster in July 1858 where his grandfather, William Kendall (1804-1892), was schoolmaster. William Arthur’s parents, Stephen and Emma, and their seven surviving children moved to Ossett in the early 1860s and by 1871 the family was living at Little Townend. Ten years later, living on Dale Street with his widowed father and three sisters William Arthur had qualified as an Architect and had an office on Bank Street.
This was to be his time as he put his trade and design skills to work in Ossett in the 1880s & 1890s.
These are the buildings designed and supervised by William Arthur Kendall. This is his legacy to Ossett.
The Conservative Club New Street.(opened 1881)
The Temperance Hall Illingworth Street (opened 1888)
The Mechanics’ Institute & Technical School Station Road (opened 1890)
The Hannah Pickard Fountain Market Place (opening ceremony 1893)
The Liberal Club Station Road (opened 1893)
The Post Office and Chemist’s shop (Station Road junction with Prospect Road (opened 1894)
The Infectious Diseases Hospital Storrs Hill.(opened 1894 )
The Gables. Station Road terrace of six dwellings Station Road (1899-1900)
Southdale Council School Southdale Road (opened 1908)
What did late 19th century Ossett think of William Arthur Kendall’s architectural style?
Station Road was built in the late 1880s joining the Market Place to Park Square. In 1894 the Ossett Observer reported “Good stone buildings have arisen along both sides, and such is the impetus given to the adoption of a more ornamental style of architecture in the erection of new business premises that the appearance of the centre of the borough is altogether changed for the better.....”
On Tuesday 4th February 1919 a war weary Ossett held a second public meeting at the Town Hall to discuss how the town might remember its fallen heroes in The Great War 1914-1918. Several speakers outlined their ideas and more than 120 people attended this meeting which had been arranged following an earlier attempt on 23rd November 1918 when less than 20 attended.
William Arthur Kendall spoke passionately about the need to ensure that whatever was done should be done for the benefit of those who had suffered and their dependants. He proposed that land be acquired on which to erect 50 or 60 cottages in picturesque blocks, as a miniature garden village for the benefit of the victims of the war, with a club room.
Notwithstanding strong support for Mr. Kendall’s proposal a vote was taken and the proposal for a public park with a public building such as a library or art gallery was carried by 45 votes to 34. A committee was formed and nine years later the Ossett War Memorial was unveiled on the newly built Kingsway.
Whilst William Arthur’s proposal for homes for the dependants of heroes was not to be it was far from being the Kendall family’s last connection with an Ossett War Memorial.
The buildings he designed still stand as a tribute to the man who designed them but he should also be remembered for doing so much for his family at the time of their greatest need. In exchange for his love and kindness, his nephew and niece Charles and Louisa Hanson rewarded him and the country with actions against the enemy that warranted their awards of gallantry citations in The Great War 1914-1918. They too have cause to be remembered.
Above: The Gables, Station Road Ossett. Designed and built by William Arthur Kendall 1898-1899.
Charles Kendall Hanson (1893- 1973) was William Arthur Kendall’s nephew and, for all intents and purposes, his ward. Like his uncle, Charles became an architect but his career was interrupted when he was called to serve his country in 1916. He is one of only two Ossett men known to have been awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in The Great War 1914-1918.
In May 1921 Charles renounced and abandoned his birth name Hanson and was thereafter known as Charles Kendall perhaps to reflect how little regard he had for his absent father and how much he owed to his uncle, William Arthur.
Charles may have been present at the public meeting in the Town Hall in February 1919 when his uncle spoke so passionately about making housing provision for the dependents of the Ossett Fallen. Like his uncle he will have been disappointed with the outcome which was in favour of a public park. Neither proposal was subsequently implemented. By 1925 the Borough Council were seeking designs for a proposed Cenotaph. Further particulars could be obtained from the Borough Surveyor.
It is not known whether Charles sought further particulars from the Borough Surveyor but a fruitful partnership developed between the two men. Shortly thereafter the Ossett War Memorial was designed and supervised by the said Borough Surveyor, Mr. H. Holmes, M.Inst.C.E.I. and Mr. Charles Kendall M.C., A.R.I.B.A. (Architect) who were the Joint Architects for the project.
By 11 November 1928 the Ossett War Memorial was in place on the newly constructed Kingsway in readiness for the Address and Unveiling of the Memorial by the Right Honourable Lord Viscount Lascelles K.G., D.S.O.
Charles’ uncle would have been proud of his nephew and no doubt they spent evenings together at their home at 1,The Gables , Station Road discussing the finer points of the design. The uncle and nephew combination comprised men of immense character; the former a man who almost single handedly changed the streetscape of his town and the latter a man who had served gallantly in the Great War. How fitting then that these two men who had given so much to their town and country, should have played a major role in the consideration and making of the Ossett War Memorial.
Nurse Louisa Hanson (1887-1981) was William Arthur Kendall’s niece. Like her mother, brother and sister, Gladys, she was abandoned by her father sometime between 1893 and 1901. Louisa looked upon William Arthur as a father figure. She is believed to be the first Ossett woman to serve overseas in The Great War 1914-1918. On 24th December 1914 the "Ossett Observer" published "Our Roll of Honour List of Ossett and Horbury men who are serving their country." Despite the headline referring to the men serving their country, the listing includes the name of one woman; Nurse Louisa Hanson, The Gables, Station Road; Red Cross Society in France.
In June 1918, she was awarded The Royal Red Cross, 2nd Class and was subsequently decorated by the King at a Buckingham Palace Investiture on 25th June 1920. Her Medal Card records that she was also Mentioned in Despatches.
On the 27th October 1921, at Ossett Holy Trinity Church, Louisa married Thomas Allan Robertshaw, from Bradford. Rather fittingly the man who had been responsible for caring for her for most of her life, her Uncle William Arthur Kendall, signed the Register as her witness. Her father was not present.
More can be seen about the Kendall family back story and biographies for Charles Kendall and Louisa Hanson on ossett.net at links:
Above: Number 1 The Gables, Station Road. William Arthur Kendall’s home 1900 -1937 with the virtual Blue Plaque.