Ravensthorpe, West Yorkshire

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Ravensthorpe is an area of Dewsbury, in West Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Ravensthorpe is on the western outskirts of Dewsbury and is part of the "Dewsbury West" ward in the district of Kirklees. The area has always been heavily industrial and was once bustling with textile mills. It is one of the most deprived areas of the country, as measured by super output [1].

History[edit]

Despite its apparence, Ravensthorpe is not in fact a Norse name, but was coined in the 19th century by a local clergyman and historian to fit in with other Norse-named settlements in the area. Ravensthorpe did not exist as a community until the middle of the 19th century when large numbers of houses were constructed alongside the new textile mills.

Before the building of textile mills in the 1870s the main economic activity in the area was the production of malt for the brewing industry and coke production based around the mine in the Shill Bank area.

Following the Second World War, large areas of Ravensthorpe were demolished as part of the slum clearance programme. A brief poem from the time read

Ravensthorpe, Ravensthorpe, what are they doing to you? They're knocking down the houses and building far too few.

There is a railway station in Ravensthorpe, opened in the 19th century, near the Thornhill Power Station. The station is on the Huddersfield Line and has a regular service to Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Leeds.

Recent times[edit]

From the 1960s onwards, immigrants moved into the area, especially from Pakistan. More recently, there has been a large immigration of Iraqi-Kurds, Hungarians and Romas (Gypsies) into the area. There have been riots in February 2008, Pakistani and White British males began rioting against the Kurdish community, and this was in retaliation to a group attack by Kurds on a local English man. In summer 2007 riots began between Asians and Gypsies, and the alleged cause for this riots was that gypsies were giving the area a bad reputation. After these riots, the population of Eastern Europeans have decreased significantly. To date, Pakistanis are still the majority ethnic group living in Ravensthorpe.

Early 2008 saw an exciting development in the town, in the shape of a new shopping park. Eight new retail units are planned in total and all are due to open in February/March 2008. Tenants on the park include retailers such as Morrisons, Instore, Home Bargains, Greggs and Subway. Ravensthorpe is known for its many takeaways and restaurants, and as such, there is always a lot of competition. Ravensthorpe is also home to the Dewsbury Bus Museum.