The A643 starts at Junction 23 of the M62, runs parallel with it for a few miles and then descends into Brighouse. When it was opened, in 1809, it was officially the Outlane and Rastrick Branch of the Huddersfield and New Hey Turnpike Trust. Three of the original four mileposts still stand on its 4½-mile length. The other was lost when the M62 was built.
Passing the Wappy Springs Inn, near Outlane, in late 2018, Jan Scrine noticed that the three miles from Rastrick post, and the wall against which it had stood, were gone – replaced by the entrance to a new industrial development. Enquiries were made to Kirklees Council, and it was found that the site’s planning applications had indicated the milepost was to be returned when the work was completed. It had, however, vanished.
[Although the post stood in what was originally Stainland in Calderdale a small part of this was transferred to Huddersfield in 1937 and is now in Kirklees.]
The story of the erection of over 600 mileposts by the new West Riding County Council in the 1890s is told elsewhere on these pages: cast at the foundry of Brayshaw & Booth at Liversedge , and erected by G & F Stead, stonemasons of Mirfield, over half survive, some lovingly preserved, others in a sorry state.
Local councillors were contacted and the developers agreed to fund a replica milepost, following the Milestone Society’s guidance notes. Stan Driver, the former Senior Conservation Officer at the Council, supplied extremely detailed information on size and composition. This was based on a similar milepost nearby, as well as his experience of replacing a series of Brayshaw & Booth mileposts in 2004. And the Senior Highways Design Engineer took a real interest in the project.
The Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax was tasked with the job. They prepared a wooden pattern and from this a mould made of Furan Resin Sand which came from China. This is a kind of self-hardening sand; after the coating is burned, the surface of the sand mould becomes extremely hard. A model was prepared and then the final cast was made and painted. The white coating was sprayed on using an AE52 paint system, a two pack polyurethane finish designed to have excellent durability and abrasion resistance – the technical instructions state that ‘Substrates must be thoroughly cleaned, dry and free from contaminants, corrosion and grease prior to coating’. The black lettering was AE53, ‘A high solids Polyurethane Compliant Finish for general purpose use with good salt spray resistance’, applied by roller. The casting bears the name of the foundry and the date 2019.
The cost of the casting project was £4160 including VAT; the developers are to be congratulated for their willingness to expend this amount to restore the milepost. Thanks are also due to the highways engineers, councillors and local Milestone Society members for their good-humoured persistence in following the matter to its happy conclusion.
A backing stone was obtained and in March 2021 the milepost was installed near to its original location by the Kirklees Highways team – a job well done! And the Brayshaw & Booth mould will also be available for any such future projects…
This is an abbreviated version of the full case study that appears, with illustrations, at: milestonesociety.co.uk/caring-for-or-repairing-milestones/a-2019-restoration-case-study
JHS / August 2021