Category Archives: M62

Why is there a house in the middle of the M62?


Legend has it that the owner of the house, a man called Ken Wild, refused to sell his land when the plans were approved for the road

For years people have been scratching their heads about exactly why there is a house right in the middle of the M62 .

But now, a new documentary has shed light on the real reason behind the mysterious location.

The motorway was built on the moors above Huddersfield in the 1960s as engineers constructed it around Stott Hall Farm.

Legend has it that the owner of the house, a man called Ken Wild, refused to sell his land when the plans were approved for the road.

Ken, who owned it at the time, lived there with wife Beth and dozens of sheep, reported the Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

The myth is that he refused to budge and so forced the motorway contractors to build around him.

But now a 1983 documentary released online shows it’s just that … a myth.

Journalist Mark Waugh also tackled the myth in 2013 producing the video slideshow at the top of this article in a bid to set the record straight.

The house in the middle of the M62
The ITV film – which was under the banner of Clegg’s People – is just one of hundreds of nostalgic films now on the web – and many have been unseen since they were first shown.

They have been released by the British Film Institute (BFI) and form part of its Britain On Film collection.

The 26-minute documentary is fascinating – perhaps simply for the fact that the amount of vehicles using the motorway at that time was clearly far fewer than today.

And farmer Wild – far from being the wild rebel you may think he was – comes across as a smiley, relaxed chap who speaks with a Lancashire accent.

And he reveals the motorway had to be built around the farmhouse because a geological fault beneath it would have been a massive task to overcome.

The M62

As journalist Michael Clegg states: “A geological fault beneath the farmhouse meant it was more practical for engineers to leave it rather than blast through and destroy it.”

And he added: “Outside the noise is relentless but inside it’s as peaceful and cosy as any farmhouse.”

Ken’s father bought the farmhouse in 1934 and Ken and Beth were glad they were able to remain, be it with thousands of vehicles passing by every day.

Not that it really bothered them.

But quietly-spoken Beth said it didn’t help with the cleaning.

“If it’s dry it’s always dusty,” she said. “If it’s wet spray goes on the windows.”

And they stocked up for the harsh winters.

Read more: Unofficial Parklife campsite DITCHED after organisers fail to get permission to set up on football pitch

Ken revealed this typically meant a side of beef, half a dozen lambs and a pig.

A traditional sheep farmer, he had four working border collie sheepdogs, wore a tweed jacket and trousers while working on the moor and carried a large crook to catch the sheep.

The couple had seen a few accidents in their time, including fatals involving vehicles crashing in the 15 acres plot in the middle of the motorway.

But the nearest they came to disaster was 4.20am one morning when a 32ft lorry ended up overturned in their yard.

“The driver climbed out through the windscreen,” said Beth.

“He wasn’t hurt at all.”

And the benefits of living where they did?

“It’s having no neighbours,” said Beth.

 

Kimberley Pollard grew up in the middle of the motorway.

And the 23-year-old reveals a list of things you might not imagine about life in between the east and westbound carriageways on the bleakest stretch of the M62 .

Kimberley Pollard, 23, spent a happy childhood at the house in the middle of the motorway – feeding lambs, and playing in the fields as bemused drivers passed by on the M62.

Her granddad was Ken Wild, the man who’s gone down in history as a stubborn Yorkshireman who refused to move when the motorway was built.

Now we know that’s not the real story – and there are plenty of other things you might not know about one of the most famous houses in the UK!

“I used to stay in a big bedroom on the westbound carriageway side. It had a four poster bed – you could get lost in it. There was triple glazing which kept out lots of noise. You’d sometimes wake up if someone beeped their car horn in the middle of the night, but the sound of the motorway used to send me to sleep.

I used to help him feed the lambs who had lost their mothers, and watch the shearing. I used to have pet guinea pigs at my home in Rishworth and we ran out of hay. My granddad took me up to Top Moss – the little barn type place on the left of the eastbound carriageway opposite the farm, where he kept hay and various farm essentials.

“He took me up on the back of his quad and I was terrified! I was determined to walk back down so he followed very slowly and carefully on the bike with a huge bail of hay! I’d love to be able to go on the quad bikes with my granddad now.

“My granddad’s second wife, Beth, was always cooking and baking. She used to let me play in the fields around the house and watch the traffic go past, and see people’s confused faces!”

It’s better to take your chances with the motorway than tackle a ram in mating season

“When they were building the motorway my mum used to go through the underpass to get to school. My granddad put the rams into the underpass and closes the gates. Mum and her friend were too scared to go through the underpass because they were terrified of the rams – so they decided to run over the motorway instead!

“My granddad won a trophy for the best hill-bred ram. They were terrifying.”

You can post a letter there without knowing the address

Kimberley Pollard
From left, Kimberley’s mum Ann Pollard (then Wild) on the left, Ken Wild and Alan Wild at the farm

“Once a little girl sent a letter addressed to ‘the house in the middle of the motorway’ and it got there. It said, ‘I have seen you on my way home and I have always wondered who lives there.’ I think my granddad wrote back – and even invited her and her family to come up and stroke the lambs.”

You get used to unexpected visitors

“If people broke down they’d climb over the fence from the hard shoulder – but this was when the motorway was a bit quieter!

“Quite a few people used to come in and have a cup of tea and phone the break down people.

“Granddad and his wife at the time, Beth, were very welcoming.”

Childish pranks can have unprecedented outcomes

“They used to let me put wood on the fire but one time when they weren’t looking, I put some plastic on and it slowed down the traffic on the westbound carriageway going towards Manchester. There was a bit of a traffic jam!”

“I was five or six, so it was about the year 2000. I got in a bit of trouble but I can see the funny side now!”

It might be a famous landmark but to its residents, it’s just home

“It was just a normal life for me. I was more interested in looking after the baby lambs!”

“To me it was just a place I spent time growing up – it was just my granddad’s house. It never struck me as being unusual because I grew up there.

“Inside it was quite old fashioned with large rooms. The living room had wooden beams and family photos and lots of certificates, rosettes and trophies. It was a typical farmhouse. It had stone floors and dark furniture.

“There was a big open fire and all the rooms were fairly large. You had to mind your head walking through every room, which my dad found out pretty quickly!

People will make up stories about you

“The story is my granddad was a stubborn old Yorkshireman who refused to move – but he’s actually from Lancashire! He had a broad Yorkshire accent from living up here for so long.

“He was far too subdued for that – and he wouldn’t have had a choice in the matter because the farm was rented from Yorkshire Water.

“I was 11 when he passed away. He’s buried at overlooking Dean Head Reservoir at Scammonden. His grave is in the middle of nowhere. The headstone is a rock with an inscription written by one of his friends. It says “Born a farmer with an eye for stock, granted his wish to be with his flock’.

“We put flowers down and covered it up to stop sheep eating them!”

You might end up with a new pet now and again

Kimberley Pollard
Kimberley’s late great uncle Donald (Ken’s brother in law – married to his sister Marjorie) Ken, and Kimberley as a baby

“My mum ended up adopting a dog that had been dumped on the motorway. Someone threw her out of a car. Mum persuaded granddad to keep her. She was a mongrel and they called her Candy. She wasn’t hurt but was very frightened.”

You’ll probably end up on TV

“Where the Heart Is was filmed there, and Sarah Lancashire used granddad’s bedroom as a dressing room.

“Granddad spent ages making the outside look beautiful – but the TV crews came up and planted loads of reeds and made it look a dump!

“They didn’t use the inside for the programme. The set they used was really dingy and mucky, and I thought everyone was going to think the house was awful inside!

“Grandma was interviewed about the house for a BBC documentary. I was sat with my parents watching it, and my dad spotted himself queueing up for his wages! My dad worked on the motorway but the documentary was made before he’d even met my mum!”

Christmas Day might be quiet on the motorway but it’s all systems go on the farm

Kimberley Pollard
Ann and Alan Wild at the farm, before the motorway was built

“Mostly Christmas was short and sweet because work never ended on the farm! Lots of family to go and see on my dad’s side too. One year we went for Christmas and it snowed badly. We needed to get home and got stuck in the car with all the presents. We had to call my granddad for help to come and tow us out on the quad bike! So, eventful!”