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Ossett

From Academic Kids

Ossett [pronounced "Oss-it"] is a popular commuter town in the county of West Yorkshire, England. It is located half-way between Dewsbury, to the west, and the city of Wakefield, to the east.

The town was once a thriving centre of the "shoddy" industry; the recycling of woollen garments. There were also three collieries around the town, one at Healey, one at Roundwood and one on the Dewsbury/Kirklees border on Owl Lane. The latter - the Savile & Shawcross colliery, which employed around 5000 men - was the only pit remaining at the time of the UK miners' strike (1984-1985) and was closed in 1985, following the end of the strike.

The town has a current population of about 30,000 people. Its proximity to the M1 has led Ossett to become more affluent in recent years, attracting both industry and resident commuters to Leeds. House prices increased from around 50,000 in 1998 to around 130,000 in 2003 - one of the largest increases in the country.

The novelist Stan Barstow, the author of A Kind of Loving, was born at Ossett. Benjamin Ingham, one of the founders of Methodism also came from the town. Team 17 are based here and their most famous game - "Worms" - contained a Hell level with a sign saying, "Welcome to Ossett". (This has given the impression that the town is a unpleasant area. It is, in fact, more affluent than other towns in West Yorkshire, such as nearby Dewsbury.) The novelist David Peace originates from Ossett and has set many of his books around West and South Yorkshire, but never in the town itself; he now lives in Japan.

Ossett has many Primary Schools however, it now has only one High School, Ossett School.

Ossett is currently famous for its fish and chips. The village of Gawthorpe to the north - which was originally a separate entity, but has become almost like a suburb of the town - is known for its water tower and also holds an annual coal-carrying competition and a May Pole parade. There is an "Ossett Brewery" in the Healey area of the town and the "Ossett Beer Festival" takes place annually, in the adjoining "Brewers' Pride" pub.

Politically, Ossett is part of the Normanton constituency, which is represented by Ed Balls, who was formerly chief economic adviser. The seat has been represented by Labour since 1885: longer than any other British constituency. In local elections, Ossett tends to be keenly contested between Labour and the LibDems, but has an extremely low Tory vote, representing its industrial heritage more than anything. The British National Party reached a high of 18.5% in 2003.


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