The Black Swan, formerly the Black Swan Hotel and Black Swan Inn, is a public house located at 1 Castleford Road. Based on newspaper records, the pub is at least as old as the 1840s, thought the former White Swan is reputed to be older. In the 19th century the Black Swan was frequently used as a public meeting place, hosing estate auctions and inquests into recent deaths.


The earliest named record of a landlord in newspapers is Mr. William Woodhead, identified in a November 1861 issue of the Leeds Times where the marriage of his eldest daughter, Elizabeth Anne, was announced,[1] and remained landlord in 1865 when his third and fifth daughters Harriet and Caroline were also married off.[2] William died at some point after this, and his wife "M.B. Woodhead" took over as landlady until her death from heart disease in November 1884.[3] Another of their daughter's, Sarah, ran the bar until her death in May 1895,[4] with her husband William Henry Thompson taking over.[5]

In the 1890s, a series of inquests were held in the Black Swan, generally led by Major Taylor, the coroner for Wakefield. One example of which took place on 15 November 1894, held over the death of 77-year old Joseph Laverick, who fell down a flight of stairs and died two days prior.[6]

The crossroad outside the pub posed a problem for cars in the early 1900s. On November 8, 1905 a car driving Mr. L. Hodges, manager of H. Briggs, Son, and Co., Whitwood Collieries, collided with an electrical standard right outside the pub while making a turn at the crossing. This may be the first recorded automobile accident in Normanton. On 14 August 1909 a cab carrying a wedding party overturned on its way to the parish.[7] In 1951 a milk van collided with a bus; the milk van driver, Harry Armstrong, had to be dragged out a blacksmith and was quickly taken to hospital to treat his leg injuries.[8]

During the First World War the pub was run by Edwin Gilderdale, who lived there with his wife Florence (d.1951).[9] He died as landlord on 16 December 1920.[10] It appears to have subsequently been run by Job Butler, who retired for some years before dying in 1933 aged 70.[11] Into the 1940s it was run by his son William Senior, who lived there with his wife Mary Ellen. It is known they were grandparents at this point and still running the pub, as made evident in the obituary entry for their grandson James Anthony Butler (through their daughter Florence and Arthur Butler, possibly a son of Job), who died in 1942 aged 16 months.

List of landlordsEdit

  • Mr. William Woodhead (bef.1861-bef.1884)
  • Mrs. M.B. Woodhead (bef.1884-1884)
  • Sarah Thompson nee Woodhead (1884-1895)
  • William Henry Thompson (1892-?)
  • Edwin Gilderdale (?-1920)
  • Job Butler (bef.1933)
  • William Senior Gilderdale (1940s)


  1. Leeds Times - Saturday 17 August 1861.
  2. Leeds Times - Saturday 15 July 1865.
  3. Leeds Times - Saturday 15 November 1884.
  4. Yorkshire Evening Post - Wednesday 22 May 1895.
  5. Leeds Times - Saturday 13 August 1892.
  6. Yorkshire Evening Post - Thursday 15 November 1894
  7. Leeds Mercury - Monday 16 August 1909.
  8. Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 29 January 1951.
  9. Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 07 September 1951.
  10. Leeds Mercury - Saturday 16 April 1921.
  11. Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Thursday 22 June 1933.
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