Wood Street Memories

In the summer of 2013 Ossett Observer took a Pop Up Shop at Wood Street Market in Wakefield. We invited people to come and swap things they had made for something someone else had made. We asked folks to come and tell Mr Beaumont a story of their life in exchange for a piece of music, we asked Ukulele players to drop by and join in our occasional music making and we asked people to leave memories of Wood Street ‘Past and Present’ on our memory wall. We at Ossett Observer could not have anticipated the numbers of people that would flock across our threshold to make music, swap their creations or tell us a story. Nor could we have anticipated the friendships we would make or how much fun it would be.

In total we had 116 swaps at our Swap Shop and we collected over 50 personal memories of Wood Street,

Here are a few of them.


‘Buying my first home from an estate agent in Wood Street. 1989’

‘Eagle Press, from first college portfolio, to supplies for studio’

‘Woods Music Shop. Looking for guitar music before the internet made learning songs easy’

‘Beery nights in The Chancery, way too many of them’

‘My brother in law got a parking ticket and tried to steal a traffic warden’s hat in revenge. Sadly the hat wouldn’t come off, a chase ensued and he spent the afternoon in Marsh Way Car Park hiding’

‘Going to work at The Town Hall. In Room 1’

‘Taking my wedding photo into The Wakefield Express Office so it would appear in the paper. 1991’

‘A night in the cells’

‘Charles Waterton’s display of Walton Hall at the museum’

‘Collecting art stuff for my grandchild from Eagle Press’

‘I remember Eagle Press for all my school stuff, on one occasion walking into the glass door, it was very large, much to the amusement of my friends and staff.’

‘New Years Eve, sometime in the 1990s, cutting through Wood Street to get to Inns Of Court and making snowangels’

‘We miss Eagle Press, lots of PENS!!’

‘Rocking the night away in The Chance Pub’

‘Long hair, The ‘Chance’, Dj Rat, George Thoroughgood And Destroyers, FULL BLAST!’

‘I used to work in the cafe down the road’

‘Coming to Wood’s for all my exam music, and essential repairs’

‘Eagle Press and The Chancery, two of my favourite haunts’

‘Working at County Hall, Room 23. working an adding and calculating machine’ 1948

‘Eagle Press was the Go To place for life’s little essentials like stickers! my life was more colourful when it was adorned with stickers’

‘Wood Street Music’

‘Me and Ali, from Chance to Inns of Court’ 1981 – 1983

‘Wore the Mayor’s Hat when I was 7 because I was on the school council’

‘Going to Eagle Press for a book, then to Wood’s Music Shop for the latest sheet music’

‘Walking up Wood Street to college, every day for two years’

‘Pantone Markers and Rotring Pens bought in Eagle Press 1984’

‘Opium Perfume by Yves St Laurent, the smell of The Chance in 1981’

‘I used to work in this shop when it was CONNEXIONS, it seemed bigger’

‘Throwing up on the Town Hall Steps, sorry, I was 15’

‘What happened to Eagle Press? It was an ace shop, from me being 6 years old to college days’

‘I used to pinch art supplies from Artists House, I was young and foolish and poor then’

‘Ex boyfriend tried to abuct me, but I got out of the car on Wood Street, a lucky escape’

‘I bought my holiday destination maps from Eagle Press on Wood Street’

‘In memory of Jack. RIP. Mum x’

‘Cannon caterers, feeding the queen  on Maundy Thursday at The Town Hall’

‘Attending Beer Festivals at Wakefield Town Hall’

‘I used to work in this space’

‘Buying my first flute from Wood’s Music Shop’

‘walking up to school in my geeky uniform’ 1972 – 78

‘Wood Street at Christmas, all silver Sparkling in the mist’

‘Woods Music Shop, Piano Books’

‘Celebrating my dad’s last birthday at The Tapas Bar, all of us together, family’

‘Sitting in the doorway of Vickers Orris (orifice) drinkign babycham and singing and playing guitar with friends til 4am’

‘Music Saloon 1952-53’

‘I worked in this building for 15 years, for Careers and Connexions, strange to see it empty’

‘Being sold an endowment policy by a greedy estate agent on Wood Street’ 1989

‘Driving round and round and it being impossible to find a parking space’

‘Going to fun events at the museum’

‘Buying lots of chocolate from the newsagent on Wood Street’ 1983

‘Watching the Olympic Torch go by’ 2012

‘Presenting documents at Wood Street Police Station, irks me no end when police call you ‘mate’ ‘

Some people found it hard to express their memories in words so they left us a picture.

Others wanted to tell us something about Wood Street Market and the fun they had had there making new memories.

‘Carry On doing more stuff in empty shops on Wood Street’

‘We love Wood Street Market, more please’

‘Love the market, the swap shop is a brilliant idea’

‘It’s great to see the empty shops being used so creatively’

‘A lovely idea for all of us creatives’

‘I will remember fantastic Candy Floss from Jacqui 19.08.13’

‘Glad I woke up today and did  not miss the market’

‘Loveliness and some great Wakey Creativity’

‘Today I yarn bombed a tree, here on Wood Street’

‘Wood Street Market, a very new memory, a very happy work in progress’

‘Absolutely LOVE Wood Street Market, Brilliant!’

‘We LOVE Wood Street Market. Thank you!’


Despite the many memories of Wood Street, one place rose above the rest as somewhere that had inspired many in Wakefield to become artists, creative by profession or for pleasure and that was Eagle Press. Pens, Maps, Books, Paint, Protractors, Rubbers, Handmade Papers, Ink … anything you wanted you could get and many people wandered into our shop and asked ‘Where did it go?’, ‘What happened to it’, ‘There’s NOTHING like it anywhere today’ …

Well go it did, I don’t know whether it was sold, bought out, couldn’t compete with the onset of Staples, the internet and the march of time. But it was interesting to us how many folks that had shopped there or browsed there came to our Swap Shop with things they had made, that seeds planted in early life made folks creative and they still were. That the people who flocked to Eagle Press with it’s rows of Gouache and Acrylics, were also keen to see Wood Street revitalised, thriving and brightly coloured …  we think the Wood Street Market team did a grand job.

So … Until next time!







Absolutely loved the eagle press – pens, paints, books and model trains – and also the museum – the old stores, the prison tools, the stuffed birds, the explorers, the runes – fabulous! I understand that both are now gone. The “naughty girls home” along from Saint John’s Square, Clarke Hall and the ruined old manor house on the Calder are other haunts now missed. Bretton Hal I understand is still there and Sandal Castle.

Ossett Observer Admin

Hi Simon, your comments are lovely, thank you for taking the time to leave something here. Many of us who went to Eagle Press in our childhood and teens have gone onto become artists, writers, graphic designers, makers and appreciators of time spent learning a craft. We miss it greatly and I think you’re correct, that in other cities crucibles of knowledge and creativity are celebrated, we’re not so good at that in Wakey 🙂



In London and also New York City, the mystical and spiritual bookstores inspired generations and are often written about. I would accord a similar status to the Eagle Press and is world of ideas. Ideas not found out Woolworth’s, British Home Stores, Cravens, Bonbon and the like. From the “Bard of Wakefield” and the Mystery Plays, the city’s sons and daughters have been trained and sent far and wide.


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