Westfield, Somerset

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Coordinates: 51°17′24″N 2°26′53″W / 51.29°N 2.448°W / 51.29; -2.448

Westfield
Westfield Shops, Wells Road, Radstock - geograph.org.uk - 431126.jpg
Fosseway shops in Westfield
Westfield is located in Somerset
Westfield
Westfield
 Westfield shown within Somerset
Population 5,854 [1]
OS grid reference ST6854
Unitary authority Bath and North East Somerset
Ceremonial county Somerset
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town RADSTOCK
Postcode district BA3
Dialling code 01761
Police Avon and Somerset
Fire Avon
Ambulance Great Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament North East Somerset
List of places
UK
England
Somerset

Westfield is a settlement lying on the Fosse Way between Radstock and Midsomer Norton in Somerset, England. In 2011 it was raised to the status of a civil parish.

It is 10.5 miles (16.9 km) south-west of Bath, 12 miles (19 km) north-east of Wells, 9 miles (14 km) north-west of Frome, and 17 miles (27 km) south-east of Bristol.

Its geographical location on the A367 from Bath has resulted in it being an important base for services for the population centres of the old Somerset Coalfield area, for which it hosts the police and fire stations, the local further education college and the annual winter carnival.

History[edit]

The Fosse Way Roman road originally ran through this area, between what is now Radstock and Midsomer Norton. Westfield is not mentioned in the Domesday Book.[2] By the early nineteenth century Westfield still consisted mostly of rural land and coal mining works, with little residential development. It was with the building of large numbers of terraced miners' cottages along the Fosse Way in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that the area developed into a more populous area in its own right, with Westfield starting to appear on maps [3] and being recognized as a settlement.[4] Modern housing estates were developed on land on both sides of the Fosse Way in the 1970s.[5]

Westfield now hosts the Midsomer Norton carnival every November, the only unofficial carnival on the Somerset circuit. The route was moved to Westfield when traffic improvements to Midsomer Norton High Street made the original route prohibitive for the large vehicles.

Westfield is the site of the 2011 Somerset hot air balloon crash in which two hot-air balloonists who had been attempting to make a high-altitude ascent were killed when their balloon crashed at the Pratten's Bowls Club. [6]

Industry[edit]

Westfield Trading Estate

As in the neighbouring towns and villages, coal mining was an important industry, with the largest mine at Norton Hill in Westfield.[7][8][9] In total there were three mines in Westfield, two at Norton Hill and a third at Wells Way.[5]

In 1839, the Wells Way pit was the scene of a disaster in which twelve miners died when the rope snapped when they were descending into the pit. A monument recording this event can be found in the cemetery of the Church of St John the Baptist, Midsomer Norton, with an inscription recording the popular belief that that rope was maliciously cut, although nobody was ever apprehended for the alleged act.[10]

The seams of coal were thin, and because of the geology they were not easy to work.[11] The Wells Way pit closed in 1920, and the Norton Hill pit in 1966.[12] Despite modernisation in the early 1960s, the pit lapsed into unprofitability due to local geological difficulties and manpower shortages.[13] The Norton Hill colliery at Westfield was owned by the Beauchamp family who owned many of the other collieries and related works on the Somerset Coalfield at various times. It was known as "Beauchamp's Goldmine", as it was the most productive mine in the whole coalfield.[14]

Westfield is the location of a former Clark's Shoes factory,[15][16] and the disused Westfield Quarry lies a short distance to the west of the main built-up area of the parish.[17]

The Westfield Trading Estate is home to many national and local businesses, including Dickies, Jones Convenience Stores and the Midsomer Norton, Radstock & District Journal.

Governance[edit]

Westfield forms part of the North East Somerset constituency, which elects a Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.[18] It is also part of the South West England constituency of the European Parliament.

Westfield was formerly part of the parish of Norton Radstock, along with Radstock and Midsomer Norton until May 2011, when it became a parish in its own right.[19] However, The name Westfield was used for a ward of the former Wansdyke District Council, abolished in 1996. In 1988 it was described as "a distinct district on the outer edge of Norton-Radstock".[15]

Almost all significant local government functions are carried out by Bath and North East Somerset, a unitary authority, but Westfield also has its own parish council, with mostly consultative functions. The parish council is based in the Oval Office in St Peter's Business Park in Westfield.[20]

Geography[edit]

Waterside Valley, Westfield

The northern parish boundary with Midsomer Norton is formed by the disused Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway line that ran between Midsomer Norton South and Bath Green Park stations. This was converted in 2011 into the Five Arches Greenway cycle path that connects Radstock with Norton Hill School, in partnership with Sustrans.[21]

Most of the parish consists of residential and industrial development, but at the southern end of the parish below Westfield Trading Estate lies Waterside Valley, where a stream runs through an area of farmland, scrub and an overgrown coal tip north-west of the village of Haydon.[22]

Education[edit]

There are two first schools in Westfield, Westfield Primary School and, for pupils with complex learning difficulties, Fosseway School.[23] Just outside the Westfield parish boundary lies St Benedict's primary school, actually part of Somerset.

There are no secondary schools within Westfield, but it is served by Norton Hill School and Somervale School in Midsomer Norton and by Writhlington School in Radstock.

Westfield has a further education college, Norton Radstock College, which also serves Midsomer Norton, Radstock, Keynsham and surrounding districts. The college has 1,000 full-time students and 5,000 part-time students and has expanded steadily since it opened in the 1940s to serve the Somerset coalfields.[24] The college provides a range of vocational programmes.[25]

Religious sites[edit]

Westfield Chapel

The first Methodist hall in Westfield was built in 1869. It is now used as the Sunday school. The present church building opened in 1898.[26]

St Hugh's Roman Catholic Church on Wells Hill is housed in the former Purnell's printing works. The church acquired the building after the First World War.[27]

St Peter's Church of England parish church was built in 1988.[26]

Notable buildings[edit]

Westfield House, on the Wells Road, was built around 1830 and has been designated as a Grade II listed building.[28]

Sport[edit]

Westfield F.C. were founded in 1976 and play in the Somerset County Football League.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Westfield Parish". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  2. ^ http://www.domesdaybook.co.uk/places.html
  3. ^ http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/maps/index.jsp?layer=europe&xMin=3162711.68299&yMin=2792312.07826&xMax=3165511.68299&yMax=2795112.07826
  4. ^ 'Norton-Radstock' in Encyclopaedia Britannica: a new survey of universal knowledge (Volume 16, 1961), p. 543: "NORTON-RADSTOCK, an urban district (1933) comprising Midsomer Norton, Radstock, Westfield, Writhlington, Haydon and Clandown".
  5. ^ a b http://www.westfield-pc.gov.uk/Core/Westfield-Parish-Council/Pages/Default.aspx
  6. ^ Two killed in hot air balloon crash in Somerset, BBC News, 1 January 2011
  7. ^ "List of Mines in Great Britain and the Isle of Man, 1908". Coal Mining Resource Centre. Retrieved 2006-11-12. 
  8. ^ "Peak District Mines Historical Society Ltd". Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  9. ^ "Camerton". Flickr. Retrieved 2006-11-12. 
  10. ^ http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~engcots/MidsomerNortonPhotos.html
  11. ^ Whitlock, Ralph (1975). Somerset. B.T. Batsford. p. 69. ISBN 0-7134-2905-4. 
  12. ^ Collier, Peter (1986). Coliers Way — The Somerset Coalfield. Ex Libris Press. p. 33. ISBN 0-948578-05-X. 
  13. ^ Down and Warrington, C.G. and A.G. (1972). The History of the Somerset Coalfield. David and Charles. p. 222. ISBN 0-7153-5406-X. 
  14. ^ http://www.highlittletonhistory.org.uk/mining.html
  15. ^ a b New statesman society (Volume 1, Issues 13-21, 1988): On Wansdyke, Dave Chalk represents Westfield, a distinct district on the outer edge of Norton-Radstock containing a mixture of private and council housing, an industrial estate and the Clarks shoe factory..."
  16. ^ The parish at westfield-pc.gov.uk
  17. ^ Robert Maurice Owens & Michael G. Bassett, Catalogue of type, figured and cited fossils in the National Museum of Wales (National Museum of Wales, 1995), p. 139
  18. ^ "Somerset North East: New Boundaries Calculation". Electoral Calculus: General Election Prediction. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  19. ^ Norton Radstock Town Council meets for last time at bbc.co.uk, accessed 9 September 2011
  20. ^ http://www.westfield-pc.gov.uk/Core/Westfield-Parish-Council/Pages/Local_Information_1.aspx
  21. ^ http://www.sustrans.org.uk/what-we-do/connect2/schemes/south-west/five-arches-midsomer-norton-connect2-to-radstock
  22. ^ http://www.geolocation.ws/map/51.275362,-2.456862/14/en#51.2804,-2.459,17
  23. ^ "Schools and Colleges". Norton Radstock Town Council. Retrieved 31 January 2010. 
  24. ^ "Norton Radstock College". The Independent. 2009-06-22. Retrieved 11 September 2009. 
  25. ^ "Profile of Norton Radstock College". uk universities.net. Retrieved 11 September 2009. 
  26. ^ a b "History of Westfield Methodist Church". North East Somerset and Bath Methodist Circuit. Retrieved 9 September 2011. 
  27. ^ http://www.radstockchurches.org.uk/sthughsrc.php
  28. ^ "Westfield House". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 9 September 2011. 

External links[edit]