South Yorkshire Times – Saturday 7 May 1949
Round Your Way – Darfield
I suppose nine out of ten natives of Darfield are conscious of its ties with the past. It is impossible to wander up Pinfold Lane from the main Barnsley-Doncaster Road, see that little school at the top of the hill, and, round the corner, the tower of its ancient church, and be insensitive to it.
“Of course,” said a woman who has lived there all her life,’ you’ll want to see our church; nearly a thousand years old. And our three halls—one of them has been turned into flats now. And you must see our cricket field. Visitors from all parts of South Yorkshire tell us we have one of the best views it is possible to find. In the olden days Darfield was a farming district, and the oldest families of Darfield are farming folk. Of course, many of the quaint old houses have been demolished now. I can remember at one old house they had to dig away the floor to move a grandfather clock; it was so tall.”
The development of mining has seen the development of Darfield Yet, she told me, there is actually no pit in Darfield itself. In her eyes there was pleasant reflection of past. “I can remember as a girl, when I took my County Minor oral. The examiner said, ‘Tell me something about your village of Darfield, and its industries—and I told him, first about farming, then about mining. The mining is under Darfield now: and I don’t know it! Of course, the recent years there has been a tremendous lot of building.”
Climb to Foulstone Modern School; look on this pleasant building, and over your shoulder at the old Darfield, and you will see where past and present and become one.
Travel along the main road from Doncaster and you will enter Darfield as you enter a railway station. For miles you run through open fields, then, neatly and suddenly, like the end of a railway platform, Darfield starts.
On the one hand, red gables, and parallel on the other, grey pebble dash. Trim privet hedges know that you from gardens running down the to the road, and as you slip down the hill, the white Station Inn stands in greeting, did deferentially to your left as an usher. Beyond Darfield Bridge there are tall, dark, stone houses that look as though they should belong to Pennine country, and on your left you get your first glimpse of the towered church, lifting its turrets from a mound of greenery. The bridge rumbles to a constant stream of traffic. This is the fringe of Darfield that touches the rest of the world
There was a metallic rattle, like the sound of many roller skates coming through the windows of the old Church school at the corner of Pinfold Lane and School Street. And I saw a row of womanly backs, busy at their job of making. A factory has been established here, and in the one-time playground I saw a lorry laden with rolls of carpet.
What a pleasant job Darfieiders make of their little gardens! All around you will find trim hedges, peeping above the tops of low walls. And can it be that Darfield housewives are more houseproud than I their neighbouring counterpart? I found it a village—township—call it what you will—of neat windows and trim curtains yellows, golds, creams and laces. Windowpanes shone and brasses twinkled. Time has not laid a too unkind a hand on Darfield. I could feel something of that pleasant reflection of the past in the eyes of my friend who had known it much longer than I.