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It consists of late Victorian housing, which varies between long terraces, semi-detached and detached housing. The mills on the banks of the Calder supplied employment to Savile Town for several decades; these were mostly woollen, and some cotton. As the mills closed, the area became run-down. Recent regeneration has seen most of the units now reoccupied; Clinton Cards, is based in the area.
The area is named for Thomas Savile, who once owned the townships of Dewsbury and Thornhill. He also gave his name to the bridge that leads to the town centre and founded Wakefield Cathedral and Queen Elizabeth Grammar School. There are several roads in Dewsbury, Ossett and Wakefield that have "Savile" in their names. There were once two collieries named "Savile" - one on Owl Lane at the Dewsbury-Ossett border, and one near Methley. Prior to 1910, Savile Town was part of the Thornhill Urban District. In 1910, the district was abolished, and the area became part of the town of Dewsbury.
Savile Town is perhaps most famous for its role in the British Muslim community. The area is "some 97-100% Asian Muslim" and is home to the Markazi mosque, which is run by Tablighi Jamaat.
The mosque has caused mixed reactions. Some claim the mosque has added to racial segregation in Dewsbury, and its attached school, the Institute of Islamic Education, received low pass rates for several years. It received a 2007 pass rate of 23% following major improvements after a damning Ofsted report.
A number of high-profile Islamist extremists came from Savile Town. Three of the four suicide bombers who carried out the 7 July 2005 London bombings including their leader, Mohammad Sidique Khan lived here. It was also the home of Britain's youngest convicted Islamist extremist, Hamaad Munshi, and Britain's youngest suicide bomber, Talha Asmal.
Rageh Omaar's Channel 4 Dispatches documentary "Immigration: The Inconvenient Truth, Part 2" (2008) used eyewitness accounts to suggest that at least in the eyes of residents the area does not feel safe, although it was sometimes unclear whether the witnesses were referring to Savile Town or to nearby Ravensthorpe. There is a Shariah arbitration court in nearby Thornhill Lees, which deals with family issues.
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