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 ran a special event on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th September 2018, but activities surrounding this event did not just run for that one weekend. Rather, it was the focus of a much larger project, which was 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, and this page describes the rest of the project that surrounds it. This project was funded by Leeds City Council through its Community Wellbeing Fund.
In addition to the event, there were four main strands to the project, as follows.
- Producing books 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 were produced by the team that had written Bert's Tales of Middleton, but with additional people contributing. There were two versions of them.
- One version was aimed at primary school pupils, and was in similar style to Bert's Tales of Middleton. This was launched at an event for the schools on 14th September. Following this launch, copies of this version were distributed to the pupils at all of the local primary schools.
- The other version was much more substantial, and was aimed at the wider community. After a lot of delays it is now on sale in our shop: see this page for more details.
Councillors (Paul Truswell and Judith Blake), school staff, and children from Hunslet Carr and Windmill primary schools, at the launch of the books for primary schools on 14th September 2018.
Picture courtesy of South Leeds Life, and © South Leeds Life 2018.
Councillors (Mohammed Iqbal and Judith Blake) and our chairman Charles Milner (the author), at the launch of Colliery Community Railway (the book for adults), on 17th September 2019.
Picture © Tony Cowling 2019.
The Photographic Exhibition
This draws heavily on available archive photographs and related material, including items from the railway's own archives. The exhibition was displayed in the railway's Engine House over the weekend of the special event at the end of September, and then during October it was at the St Georges Centre Community Hub, Middleton, and then at the John Charles Centre for Sport. It then returned to the Engine House, and currently is on display there, but may be lent out to other locations in the future.
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?
While the project was running we had set up a special email address, so that if anyone reading this page was willing to share memories,they could email us with their contact details, so that we could compile these memories for future generations to enjoy. We have now closed down that special email address, but we would still be interested to hear from anybody with memories to share.
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 have been a good location, and so the plaque was 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 of our web site will provide more information about: