Cross Keys, Shepherd Hill, Flushdyke

Cross Keys

The The Cross Keys Public House lent its name to this somewhat semi-detached area of Flushdyke, at the top of Shepherd Hill and very close now to the M1 motorway. The Public House closed in 1932 and is now divided into two private houses. The Cross Keys dates back to 1821 when it was owned by local farmer John Wilby. The last licensee was Robert Popplewell, who took over in 1927. The pub sold beer from Bentley's Yorkshire Brewery, which was located at Woodlesford, Leeds.

On March 12th 1932, Superintendent Cooke objected to the licence of the Cross Keys Inn, a fully licensed house. It was owned then by Mr W. Oldroyd of Dewsbury, and was leased to Bentley’s Yorkshire Brewery. The licence dated back to 1869, since which time there have been 17 tenants, a number of which have left because the business didn’t pay. The objection was on the grounds that it was not needed, the district being thinly populated.

The tenant tried to eke out a living by carrying on a business as a haulage contractor. Inspector Cockroft had visited the house on nine occasions, eight of which there was not a single customer, and on the one visit there were four. The house was tied for beer and spirits, and the present licensee had been there since March 1927. It was a brick building, and in a very bad and neglected state of repair. The accommodation consisted of a passage, tap room, smoke room, kitchen, private sitting room and serving bar, with cellars underneath, four bedrooms, a bathroom and a clubroom upstairs. The outbuildings included a disused brewhouse, a wash-kitchen, stables (used by the tenant as a garage), cowshed and open cart shed. 17 acres of land were attached to the house, which were sub-let by the owner. All the rooms appeared to be damp, and the wallpaper was falling of in several places.

According to a statement supplied, sales for 1931 were 38 barrels of beer, 4 dozen bottles of beer, 13 pints of spirits, 9 bottles of wine and 100 dozen bottles of mineral water. The house had not paid since 1927, and but for the haulage business the tenant could not have carried on. In former days the house was largely used by horse traffic, but with the changed conditions the custom had dwindled. The tenant had tried hard to make it pay, by engaging singers, establishing a Buffalo Lodge and providing meals, but without success. The tenant had regretted taking the house, and had been warned not to do so by the previous tenant. The house was referred to the Compensation Authority on the grounds of redundancy.

The houses around The Cross Keys used to be on the main Wakefield - Dewsbury road, but after the M1 was constructed and the new feeder road was built, the area became a cul-de-sac and the road was blanked off beyond the old public house. Some of the houses shown on this sketch have been demolished and only a handful of properties now remain. The spire of North Ossett Parish, Holy Trinity Church can be seen in the background and the roof of Flushdyke Primary School is shown centre right.