On the right-hand corner of the Green and Featherstone Road was Featherstone Farm House. This was pulled down, and in 1873 a Mr. Alfred Welsh ( brother of Mr. W. Welsh of the Manor House ) had Featherstone Hall built as a private residence. This was walled in from the Green by a 16 ft. wall which had what appeared to be a series of unglazed frames around the top. This wall, together with a small lodge, was the work of one bricklayer, a Mr. Winter. It took him seven years and the total cost was £20,000.
Mr. Welsh got into financial trouble and, after changing hands several times, Featherstone Hall was sold in 1908 to Dr. Bailey and used as a private asylum. At that time caring for mental patients privately was a very lucrative business. Mrs. Mason, of Elmfield Road, was cook and she was a great friend of my wife’s mother, and many a basin of dripping, etc. came their way. Because of the unique pattern of the wall, it became known as “Welsh’s Folly”.
Mr A. Welsh died in 1930 aged 96. Featherstone Hall was pulled down in 1934 and the Dominion Cinema and adjoining shops built by A. & B. Hansons. The cinema was opened in 1935 by the late Gracie Fields. It was very much up-to-date, with a large organ.
Featherstone Road ( formerly Workhouse Lane ) took its name from Featherstone Farm ( Featherstone being an old Roman name. Turning into Featherstone Road on the right-hand side are eight flat-fronted , three storey houses built around 1880. The first was turned into a shop – Hulbert’s Cycle Shop, later motor parts and petrol. In another Cleo Lane ( the singer ) lived with her parents. The Working Mens’ Club occupied the last one – they now have new premises built at the rear with entrance in Featherstone Terrace. Next came five cottages with shop fronts added. First Durbins, Haberdashery: next two – Charles Moss, Butchers ( he was a Councillor and in 1927 – 28 – 29 was Chairman ): Durbins, Greengrocers and, on the corner Warrens ( later Summers ), Grocers.
This brings us up to Featherstone Terrace, built 1864-65 42 flat-fronted cottages. The rents for same, when built, was 4/6d ( 22 ½p ) per week. This became known locally as “Bug Alley”, but let me make it quite plain that this does not reflect on any of the families who lived there, and had to make the best of very small cottages. They have all been knocked down and the whole site is awaiting new development.
On the corner of Featherstone Terrace is the shop which was the first Post Office as we know it today. Opened in 1868 by Mr. Henry Hanson. Later it became a sweet and tobacco shop run by the Mills family.