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Wellgate

Part of Wellgate including Clifton Bank make up the Rotherham Conservation area as the powers that be consider there are some buildings important to the history of Rotherham situated here.

Agreed there are some nice houses on Clifton Bank. However the last time I strolled up there for a good look around I had a nosy, as one does, at the planning permissions strapped to the lamp standards. It seemed to me that the development of a large plot of land at the top into garages was hardly sympathetic to a conservation area, but then who am I to wonder about such things. About the same time I walked down Wellgate, casting about for particular gems of architecture or remnants of old buildings, I really found nothing that seemed worthy of recording. Modern shop frontages have in many cases destroyed what might have been pleasant if unremarkable edifices.

Wellgate runs generally south-easterly from the crossroads with High Street, Doncaster Gate and College Street out of town to join up with Broom Road. It was earlier called Brookgate for one of the streams that provided Rotherham with water flowed along here. I believe that the present name derives from St. Ann's Well which was situated on the street.

I walked up Wellgate in early November 2011; the first time in along time. The Rotherham plague of closed businesses and shuttered shops seemed to have decimated this street, although there are still a few very nice shops up here.

At the corner of High Street and Wellgate is the Royal Bank of Scotland. The building was erected in 1892 and rejoiced in several other names before it became RBS, the only one I remember being William and Glyns.

The Royal Bank of Scotland - Wellgate side
The Royal Bank of Scotland - Wellgate side

The Temperance Hall was originally a Primitive Methodist chapel built in 1851. It became the Temperance Hall in 1895 when the chapel moved next door. At that time it was obvious that the Temperance Society considered Rotherham was in dire need of somewhere events could take place without the demon alcohol.

The Temperance Hall
The Temperance Hall

Further down Wellgate on the other side the Temperance Society had built in 1877 the Workman's' Coffee and Cocoa house. The Coffee House was demolished in 1892 to make way for a bank (the one above I believe), but the Temperance Hall is still there. There are a couple of shops on the frontage and I believe that the rest of the building is now offices.

The Masonic Hall is right next to the Temperance Hall on Wellgate. I have no idea when it was built but the entrance was moved from Wellgate to Wellgate Mount at some time. I have never been inside so I can't comment on the interior but the exterior gets my vote for "Ugliest Building in Rotherham". And that's taking into account all the modern concrete canyons.

The Masonic Hall
The Masonic Hall

I presume the Masons still meet there and I have found that dancing classes are held there too, but otherwise I don't think it is much used.

Back in the 19th Century Rotherham Town Planners obviously had some rather odd ideas about the joining up of roads. On the east side of Wellgate are the roads Wellgate Mount, Clifton Bank, Albion Road leading to William Street and Sherwood Crescent. These are all dead ends that don't join up with the highway along by Clifton Park. Clifton Bank climbs steeply up the hill eastwards, has some very nice old houses and is part of the Rotherham Conservation Area. The other roads are largely areas of terraced housing.

On the west side of Wellgate the footpath Quarry Hill climbs steeply up by the Hare and Hounds towards Moorgate. There are two roads, Mansfield Road and Hollowgate. An hollowgate is a very old trackway which has been hollowed out by many years of feet, hooves and cart tracks. There are also old footpaths Spinners Walk and the Narrow Twitchells.

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