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South Elmsall is a small town and civil parish to the east of Hemsworthmarker in the City of Wakefieldmarker in West Yorkshire, Englandmarker. It is on the B6422 and B6474 (which leads to North Elmsallmarker and Uptonmarker). It neighbours South Kirkbymarker, and the two towns are often grouped together as one town. It is difficult to know where one stops and the other begins. The town is close to the southern boundary of West Yorkshire, and is from the Metropolitan Borough of Doncastermarker in South Yorkshiremarker. The A638 Doncaster to Wakefield road runs close to the north of the town, which leads to junction 38 of the A1marker to the south-east. It now has its own bypass which links the A1 to the Hemsworth Bypass providing excellent transport links towards Barnsley and South Yorkshire. The town has a population of 6,107.

South Elmsall is served by rail, the nearest station being South Elmsall railway stationmarker.

Coal mining

The town is most famous for its coal-mining past; it was the site of Frickley Collierymarker, which was one of the largest in the whole country and a key source of union radicalism. During the UK Miners' Strike , there were numerous disturbances in the area. It was one of the last pits to return to work after the strike, seeing as it was picketed by a group of hardliners from Kent who continued to picket Frickley after the NUM had called off the strike. The Frickley miners refused to cross the hardliners' picket.

The colliery was closed on 26 November, 1993 - following closures of nearby pits like Ferrymoor-Riddings (1985), Kinsley (1986), South Kirkby (1988) and Grimethorpemarker (1992). The area around Hemsworthmarker was long one of the most depressed areas of the whole European Union, although fortunes have improved recently.

The town hosts a number of key landmarks that have a place in the wider history of the labour movement in the UK. In addition to the coal mine, the Miner's Institute served as a nerve centre during the strikes of the 1970s and 1980s. The Moorthorpe Empire WMC played a key role in the exchange of ideas, the maintenance of morale and the harnessing of community spirit during 1984. During this period, the Empire became a place for the celebration of unshackled unionism, internationalism, feminism, and even a sympathy for non-violent Irish republicanism.

Several clubs in the area still bear the colliery's name. There is Frickley Colliery Brass Band, a famous football team named Frickley Athletic and a cricket club named "Frickley". Frickley Athletic F.C. now play in the UniBond Premier Division and nearly gained promotion in 2006.

Frickley Country Park

Wakefield MDC in conjunction with local town councils have organized the landscaping of the former Frickley Colliery site into a country park. A large amount of money from the National Coalfield Proramme has enabled this work to go ahead. This park officially opened in September 2009. The site will offer walks and play areas for local inhabitants as well as space for new housing developments when the current economic downturn begins to lift.

Local economy

The market is a central feature of the village; it is currently undergoing renovations. The market plays host to approximately 105 trading stalls which is remarkable for a provincial market. It has a railway stationmarker on the Wakefield line. Towards South Kirkby is Moorthorpe railway stationmarker on the line to Sheffield and Rotherham.

There is also the High Street (Barnsley Road) which includes many common high street names such as The Post Office, Superdrug, Hallmark Cards, Boots Group, Blockbusters, Greggs, Heron, Farmfoods, Sainsburys and also many other individual shops such as The Paint Pot, The Jewellery Centre, Les & June Price Carpets & Furnishings, Allstar Teamwear, Dennis Price carpets, Pebbles schoolwear, Mode Clothing, Parade clothing among many others. The discount supermarket chain Netto has its British headquarters on Elmsall Way in the village on the Dale Lane Industrial Estate. There is a Co-op on Barnsleymarker Road in Moorthorpe.

Also present on the Dale Lane industrial estate are 4 Next Distribution warehouses (Stadium Way One, Stadium Way Two, Elmsall Way and Elmsall Drive), Superdrug, Del Monte and Finlays. The estate itself reflects the changing fortunes of the area being one of the key expansion areas since the closure of the local collieries.


The local secondary school is Minsthorpe Community Collegemarker which has a sixth-form and also covers South Kirkby and Upton. In 2008 Minsthorpe Community Collegemarker gained its best ever results at all levels - KS3/GCSE/A-Level, the college GCSE results are higher than the local and national averages. People who have an association with Minsthorpe include playwright John Godber, actors Adrian Hood and Chris Walker, comedy hypnotist John Caulton and footballer Glynn White. There are also several primary schools in the South Elmsall area: Carlton, Moorthorpe, Ash Grove and St Joseph's. There are many more in the neighbouring towns of South Kirkby and Upton.

Town Twinnings


The principal places of Christian worship include:
  • Barnsley Road Methodist Church* (Pontefract and Normanton Circuit/Leeds District),
  • Trinity Methodist Church* (Pontefract and Normanton Circuit/Leeds District),
  • St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church* (Diocese of Leeds)
  • South Elmsall Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin* (liberal/catholic) (Diocese of Wakefield),
  • St Luke's (Pentecostal),
  • The Oasis (Pentecostal),
  • Jerusalem South Elmsall Christian fellowship (Independent Christian Fellowship).

  • *Member of SESKUB Churches Together (SESKUB = South Elmsall, South Kirkby, Upton and Badsworth)

Non-Christian places of religious/spiritual interest:
  • South Elmsall Spiritualist Church

Traditional Church Music

South Elmsall Parish Church (St Mary the Virgin) is home to one of the few remaining all-male parish church choirs in the north of England, and is directed by Dr Bernard Knowles. Dr Knowles has been organist and choirmaster at St Mary's since 1958. The Choir is affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music and choristers regularly take part in training events held mostly at cathedrals up and down the country. Several members of the choir also sing with the RSCM's Northern Cathedral Singers. The Choir sings Evensong at St Mary's every Sunday evening at 6.30pm. Dr Knowles was awarded an MBE in 2008 for his outstanding contribution to Church Music and community life. Tony Moore is assistant organist at St Mary's.


AS well as being the home of the formentioned Frickley Athletic Football club, it is also the home of South Elmsall United Club which develops youth football in the area.South Elmsall is also the home of Minsthorpe Marlins Swimming club which is affiliated to the Doncaster Darts.


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