Last Coals to Leeds
May 1968 was a significant month in the history of the Middleton Railway, as it saw the closure of Middleton Broom Pit, after more than 200 years of mining coal and transporting it into the centre of Leeds. To mark the 50th anniversary of this closure, the railway will be running a special event on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th September 2018, but activities surrounding this event will not just run for that one weekend. Rather, it will be the focus of a much larger project, which is aimed at providing a proper commemoration of this change in the industry that had been key to this area of Leeds.
A separate page gives more details of this special event, but this page describes the rest of the project that surrounds it. This project has been funded by Leeds City Council through its Community Wellbeing Fund.
In addition to the event, there are four main strands to the project, as follows.
- Producing booklets to describe the history of coal mining in the area, and going into local primary schools to distribute these and to explain this history to the pupils.
- Assembling an exhibition of photographs recording the history of the pit, and arranging for this to be displayed at various local venues.
- Collecting memories of the pit from those who worked there, or who lived in the area.
- Creating and installing a memorial plaque.
These are being produced by the team that has written "Bert's Tales of Middleton", but with additional people contributing. They are in similar style, and there are two versions of them.
- One version is aimed at primary school pupils. This has now been printed, and was launched at an event for the schools on 14th September. Following this launch, copies of this version will be distributed to the pupils at all of the local primary schools.
- The other version is aimed at the wider community. It is due to go to print soon.
Councillors (Paul Truswell and Judith Blake), school staff, and children from Hunslet Carr and Windmill primary schools, at the launch of the booklets for primary schools on 14th September.
Picture courtesy of South Leeds Life, and © South Leeds Life 2018.
The Photographic Exhibition
This draws heavily on available archive photographs and related material, including items from the railway's own archives. The exhibition will be displayed in the railway's Engine House over the weekend of the special event at the end of September, and then from 2nd October until at least 18th October it will be at the St Georges Centre Community Hub, Middleton. Following that it will be at the John Charles Centre for Sport, and then at other locations to be announced.
Did you work at Middleton Broom Colliery? Or do you have a relative who did so? Can you share memories of the colliery with us?
The Memorial Plaque
The plaque is a memorial that is dedicated to those who had worked at Middleton Broom Pit from opening to closure, and in particular to those who had lost their lives working at the Pit. The obvious place to install it would have been on the platform at Park Halt, since this is on the edge of what used to be the site of the colliery yard. Unfortunately, boards which have been installed there have suffered from vandalism to an extent that suggests that this would not be a good location, and so the plaque has been installed instead at the north end of the Moor Road site, where the railway line once continued into Leeds.
The plaque was unveiled on Friday 21st September 2018, and a separate page gives more details of it an of the unveiling ceremony.
Pages about other projects:
- Raising Steam in No. 6;
- Project Phoenix;
- Building a Running Shed;
- Overhauling "Brookes No. 1";
- Conserving "Picton".
Other pages provide more information about: