Middleton Memories – A Dog’s Dinner ?

Whoever it was who said “ there’s no such thing as a free lunch “ was definitely wrong one afternoon in Middleton way back in the early 1950’s writes Hazel Mulroy.

I was only small and mum pushed me in my posh Silver Cross pram ( British racing green colour with a silver crest on the sides) to the shops at Middleton Circus at the top of Middleton Park Avenue. Our dog Prince, a German Shepherd,came too.

Mum went into the shop (Maypole or Meadows ?) which was a butchers on one side and a grocers on the other and joined the butchers queue keeping a close eye on me outside. Prince was my guard dog hitched to the pram by his choker chain. Unfortunately, the sight of all the meat in the shop window became too tempting and Prince slipped his chain and bounded into the shop, thrust his head into the window and pinching a joint of meat was off like a bullet in the direction of the park. Mum immediately dashed out after him grabbing my pram handle and gave chase running across Middleton Park Road, bumping over the tram tracks ( good job the pram was coach built and had good suspension) to the grass near the Middleton Arms.

Prince was proudly sat with his prize between his front paws and his tail thumping vigorously on the ground. Without hesitating mum scooped the joint of beef ( dad’s favourite) into her shopping bag and walked briskly home towards Town Street.

After a good rinse in the sink the meat was soon sizzling away in the oven and dad came home from work to an unexpected mid-week roast.

Prince had his fair share too but of course mum had to find somewhere else to shop !

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Balkcliffe Lane

On the well-known map ‘Township of Middleton’ in the 1700’s, Balkcliff Lane is shown running south behind Middleton Lodge (the old Golf House) and then joining onto the west end of Town Street at Nabs End.

Over the years this ancient pack horse trail has undergone many changes. To the west is an area called Hilly Baycliff, now part of the South Leeds Golf Club. By the 1900’s the lane was called Baycliffe Lane and the west end of Town Street has disappeared. A modern finger post in the park points to Blackcliff Lane – obviously a typo error. The staff in the park call the lane ‘Monks Path’, reference to the story of monks from Kirkstall Abbey supposedly mining the local coal. The biggest change was in the 1920’s when the tramway and then the Ring Road cut the lane in two. Later on the building of the Westwood Estate erased the southern portion as well as the cottages at Nabs End.

The only portion of the lane that can be seen today, of this once important route of commerce from Beeston, is the stretch from the southern end of Gypsy Lane running west towards the Ring Road and then running parallel to it, beside the Ring Road and the new access path to the Cycle Hub. Nothing remains of Nabs End apart from a section of old wall along Bodmin Approach (Dangerous Hill).

Paul Hebden (January 2018)

Middleton Memories – A Tale of Two Jeeps

I was born in Middleton in 1953 and was brought up in the Old Village directly opposite Manor Farm ( when it was still a working farm of approximately 100 acres of land and  not the housing estate it is today )
My Dad was a motor mechanic and spent most of his spare time in his garage (which had an air raid siren fitted to deter burglars ) repairing, re-modelling or making things from scratch.
Dad got his first army jeep in the late 1950’s. He bought a clapped out motor bike for £3.10 shillings (which he could ill afford) from a farm at the bottom of Middleton Park Avenue and partly rode it, but mainly pushed it, home to our bungalow in Town Street. After doing it up he swapped it for an American World War II Willys jeep. We named it TROGG and both my Dad and Trogg soon became minor celebrities around Miggy.
The first time he picked up my older brother in Trogg, from Middleton C of E school, a crowd of boys gathered round. One envious lad remarked “ That’s nowt, my dad’s gettin a Tank tommorer “
We would often get kids climbing over our gate and hanging round our garden hoping for a ride or offering to wash it.
Miggy woods was on our doorstep so anyone and every-one including the dog would pile into the jeep and we’d set off through the park. Once passed the lake and the old cafe Dad would suddenly veer off the road and go up towards the clearings or down onto the tram tracks with us kids bouncing about laughing and cheering in the back. Happy days!
Dad would also drive us to see Grandma who lived on the other side of the tram track in Acre Crescent and sometimes we’d go bumping over “nutty slack field” near the Conservative Club. Mum also remembers him going to Post Hill near Pudsey where motor bike scrambling was very popular. This was a long and very steep 1 in 3 gradient hill !
The second Willys jeep was rescued from a farmyard in St Helens, Merseyside, where it was being used as a chicken coop . This would have been in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. It was a non runner so Dad borrowed a tow truck from where he worked at Wallace Arnolds on Hunslet Road and towed it home. He paid £18, haggling the price down from £25
It was stripped down, a new engine fitted with the help of my eldest brother (Mum got the worst job of scraping out piles of chicken droppings ) and after a lot of hard work and determination Trogg 2 was finally roadworthy.
We had lots more off-roading adventures with Dad driving around Middleton and the woods, along canal towpaths, around disused airfields & many more places that were supposedly “out of bounds” for motor vehicles.
I often wonder what became of my Dads’ jeeps. Were they scrapped many years ago or is one of them in a field somewhere being used as a hen house ?

Hazel Mulroy
(nee Westerman)

 

Pit or Colliery Checks, tokens or tallies

Before the advent of time clocks or electronic swipe cards, Pit Checks were used for checking miners in and out of the mine. They were produced in a variety of materials and different designs but typically of brass and embossed with a number and name of the coal mine. They are very collectable items of mining memorabilia today and there are several websites where you can buy them. The picture below gives examples of Pit Checks from Yorkshire mines and elsewhere.

The precise method of use of the pit check system varied between mines / coalfields but a typical example was the lamp check / token. The miner / collier would be issued with a token which he would hand to the (miners) lamp room attendant at the start of each shift in exchange for a safety lamp bearing the same identification number as that on the collier’s personal check. At the end of his shift the collier would retrieve his pit check from a tally board in the lamp room or, alternatively directly from the lamp room attendant, in exchange for the safe return of his lamp (which indicated he was no longer down the mine).

They were in common use in most coalfields by the early 1900s and were mandatory by 1913 so they must have been used at Middleton Colliery / Broom Pit. Has anyone ever seen or have one in their possession?? The History Group would like to see what they were like and the pattern stamped on them. None so far have been found.

Paul Hebden, April 2017

Disappearing Middleton – St Mary’s Church of England School, Town Street.

JULY 2017 – More St Mary’s school photos have been added ! Please scroll down…….

Thanks to all who have helped put names to faces so far. Still a few more to go !
Please reply if you recognise anyone else ……

img015Above photo 1953
Back Row (l – r)
Teacher Miss Johnson / Alan Jones / Mervin ? / Steve Hodgson / David Gilchrist / ? / ?
Dennis Cochrane / Keith Barnett / ? / Teacher Miss Crosland (Mrs Crawford now)
Middle Row (l – r)
? / Margaret Verity / Angela Taylor / Joyce Glen / Jane Anne Hart (father was landlord of Miggy Arms) / Andrea Place / ? / ?
Front Row (l – r)
Robin Silverwood / Pamela Birke / ? / ? / ? / Patricia Clarkson ? / ? / Margaret Dwyer / ?
Sitting  cross-legged  on the mat (l – r)
? / Malcolm Barnet ?  / Barry Baldwin / Andrew Divine (moved to Australia) / David Atkinson ?

Thanks to Alan Jones and Robin Silverwood for trying to put names to these faces in the above photo.
It would be nice to identify the rest before it’s too late. All these pupils will now be in their late 60’s / early 70’s. Robin believes teacher Mrs Crawford still lives in Middleton so must in her late 80’s early 90’s.

Update 03/2018 – Audrey Crawford (teacher Miss Crossland) has been in touch to say she started her first teaching post at Middleton C of E School in Sept. 1952. She was born and lived at Quarry Cottage, Oid Run Road and her father Henry was chief electrician at the old Middleton Broom Colliery. She married at Middleton St. Mary’s Church in July 1955, taught at Middleton for one more year before obtaining a transfer to a school nearer her new home in Cookridge. She is now aged 86 living in Adel and retired in 1989 from her post as Headteacher at Old Farnley Primary School.
The above photo is dated 1955 (names required)
Date and names required for this photo above.
Date and names also required for photo above.

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Above, some children showing off their hand puppets……….still to be dated and pupils identified

1956

The above class photo is 1956 (with thanks to Steve Hodgson)
Back Row – ? ? ? Pamela Bell, Stephen Smith, Charles (?), ? ? ?
3rd Row – ? ? ? Gary Westerman ? ? ? ?
2nd Row – Brian Sewell (drum), Noreen Dixon, Linda Baker, ? ? ? Hazel Scott, ? Cynthia Naylor, Steve Hodgson
Front Row – ? ? ? ? ? ? ? David Chapman, ?

Barry Baldwin brought in the above photo, date c. 1956
Back row – Margaret Verity, ?, ?, ?, Joyce Glen, ?, ?, ?, Kath Adamson, ?, ?
Third row – ?, ?, ?, Pat Clarkson, ?, ?, Ann Payne?, ? Dwyer, ?, ?, Kathleen Bullough
Second row – ?, Alan Naylor, David Atkinson, Brian Barnett, ?, Denis Cockerham, ?, Eddie Johnston, Andy Devinc, Barry Baldwin, Dean ?
Front row – Clifford Haigh, Rodney Haigh, Yvonne Lockwood, ?, Caroline Dawes, ?, ?, ?, Denis Rott & Steward Wood.
(some names/positions to be confirmed)

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The above photo is 1958 (with thanks to Hazel Mulroy nee. Westerman)
Front Row – Andrew Dawes (2nd from right)
First Row (sitting) from L – R
5th- Vivien Lee, 7th- Lorraine Juice, 9th- Susan Mattock, 10th- Anne Sowden
Second Row (standing) from L – R
2nd- Julie Hale, 3rd- Janet Wild, 4th- Denise Watson, 9th- Hazel Westerman,
10th- Andrea Lawrence, 13th- Carol Hallam

Football Team photo 1958 (thanks again to Barry Baldwin)
Teachers – Mr Mitchell & Mr Holmes
Back row – Rodney Haigh, ? Horne, Jim Clarkson, Dennis Bott, Barry Baldwin
First row – Brian Clayton, Trevor Leathley, Eddie Johnston, ? Pickersgill, R Plant
Front – Robin Silverwood & ?

1959
The above photo is 1959 (again with thanks to Steve Hodgson)
Bk Row – Keith Kirby, ? Steve Hodgson, ? Garry Westerman, ? Stephen Smith, Graham Parish, ?
3rd Row – ? Hazel Scott, ? ? Patricia Glover, ? ? ? Susan Pearson
2nd Row – ? ? ? ? Noreen Dixon, ? ? Cynthia Naylor, ? ? ?
Front Row (cross legged) -David Chapman, Peter Grey, Brian Ramsden, ? John Barrowclough, ? ? Charles (?)
with Head Teacher Mr Holmes (?)

p1110126-2The above photo c. 1963 (again with thanks to Hazel Mulroy nee. Westerman)
Front Row from L – R
1st- Christine Johnson, 2nd- Kathy Gibb (butcher’s daughter), 3rd- Verna Jackson, 4th- Deborah Corrick, 5th- Jocelyn Taylor, 6th- Denise Hallam, 7th- Carol Hallam, 9th- Marjorie Walker, 10th- Vivien Lee, 11th- Elaine Adams
Middle Row L – R
2nd- Paul White, 3rd- John Kellas Kelly, Julie Hale, Hazel Westerman, Andrea Lawrence, Anne Smales, 9th- Philip Robinson (Grocer’s son), 11th- Anthony Jowett Armstrong.
Back row L – R
2nd- Andrew Dawes (Baker’s son), 3rd- Stanley Dearlove, 5th- Andrew Franks,
6th- Martin Dobson, 8th- Jeffrey Tomlinson & far right, Teacher Mr Mitchell

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The above Photo still to be dated and pupils identified.
The large building in the background is Holmes Ville & Holmeswell Houses (still standing) and to the right, the end of the old cottages since demolished and rebuilt as part of what’s now Newhall Gardens. We will try and put some names to the pupils in the photos over the coming months but if you recognise anybody in the photos above please let us know. Any help with this would be much appreciated.

Corner of the playground as it appears today (March 2017)

And one more………

The following photo was taken in 1968 on the occasion of ‘Victorian Open Day’, celebrating the school’s 135th anniversary. There were displays and exhibits in the classrooms about Middleton’s history. The school first opened in 1833 and was licensed for teaching in 1847. ( with thanks to Paul Hebden).

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A Walk round Middleton

Paul Hebden, one of the core group members of the Middleton Life History Group (MLHG), has put together a short circular tour around Middleton pointing out some of the landmarks and history of Middleton.
The walk starts from the Water Tower built in 1924, and moves east along the Ring Roa1d towards the shopping centre and the new ASDA.
The first point of interest is the road to your right – Bodmin Approach.  The local children used to call this Dangerous Hill   because of the old road sign. This at one time would have been part of the old route from Middleton to Morley, a continuation of Town Street. Middleton meaning the middle town,  in this case between Rothwell and Morley.
On this part of the walk you are following the remains of the Tram track which has left the park just before the Water Tower and can be plainly seen as a wide strip of grass to y2our left. Routes 12 (anticlockwise) and 26 (clockwise) formed the Middleton Circular. They were amongst the few lines to start and finish in the city centre, its terminus was Swinegate. Some of the trams used on this route were specially designed four axle
trams known as the Middleton bogies. Painted in a Blue and White livery they soon became known as the ‘Middleton Bluebirds’. As can still be seen, a large part of this route ran on reserved track (separated from road traffic) in places parallel to the Middleton railway and then through Middleton woods. The tram network in Leeds closed in 1959.
At the ci3rcus on the left can be seen the new Aldi. This replaced the Middleton Arms that opened in 1925 and boasted of a ballroom and tennis courts. This iconic building was demolished in 2013. Behind Aldi is St Philips Church and school opened in 1996 This replaced a Victorian
church and was moved stone by stone from Wellington Street Leeds to Middleton in the 1930s but was originally built in 1847.
The Middleton Arms was originally the northern most edge of the new Middleton estate that was built after the First World War as houses in Holbeck and Hunslet were clea4red and Middleton was seen as a garden suburb. The main part of the estate lies to the south.

Continue with the tram track to your left until you see the parade of shops on the left. This area is the Lingwells ( from the word Lingones) remembering Middleton’s Roman heritage. The first building is the Middleton Co-op built 1924 now converted into flats. Behind this building is the Parochial Hall built in 1935 at a cost of £3000 belonging to St Marys church.5

Pass the Conservative Club opened in 1936 on your right, behind this building was the Miners Welfare ground. Children from St Marys School would use this for their sports activities. Over the road on the left can be seen Hopewell View and its row of old cottages. This is the southern part of old Middleton Village.

This part of the walk ends at the District shopping centre, the new Asda and the old Middleton Bus Garage.
Cross over the road, walk north down Sharp Lane and join Town Street,
6                                                                                              This triangular area, the junction between Town Street and Sharp Lane, was known as Lingwell Syke. Where the dental surgery and private houses now stand there were cottages marking the Toll Bar which divided Middleton from the surrounding villages.

Walk up Town St, back towards the Water 7Tower. On your right is New Hall. All that is left of the New Hall is the name given to this post war housing estate on the right. At one time it was one of the three large houses which stood in Middleton, the others were Middleton Hall on Town Street and Middleton Lodge in the Park. One of its owners was William Gasgoigne  the inventor of the Micrometer who was killed in 1644 fighting for Charles the first.8

 Winding Gear. This was where full coal waggons from the Middleton mines were  lowered down to Middleton Broom on a counter balance system pulling empty waggons up the incline. Past the row of three old cottages on your right is the site of the old horizontal wind9ing wheel and brake. This  incline was called Rope Hill. Today the modern steps follow this route –  Rope Hill

10

Coal Staithes were on the opposite side of Town Street and coal from Middleton was stored here before crossing the road and on to the incline and then into Leeds. The row of houses now on this site are named Staithe Gardens and 11Staithe Avenue.

On your left just past the row of shops is Chapel Hill. The first Methodist chapel on this site was built in 1860 followed in 1876 by the Sunday School.  This building  became too small and was pulled down and rebuilt in 1896. Miners from the colliery dug the foundations and dressed the bricks in their own time.
The Chapel closed in September 2014.

Back on To12wn Street is the old St Marys Church of England School built in 1833 by the Rev R H Brandling and was his own property. Eventually the building and the Estate were bought by The Middleton Colliery Company and leased to the Church, eventually being bought by Leeds City Council. In 1970 the school moved to new buldings in Moor Flatts Road. The old building has been
extended and converted into flats.13

 Manor Farm. One of the last farms to be developed This stood on Town Street  and was a stone built farmhouse with 1000 acres of land. Now the Manor Farm E state.14

 Stone Sleepers  Many of the stone walls in this area are capped with stone sleepers from the Middleton Railway.  Some can be seen to have two holes made in the top to hold the rails.

 Maude Hall was originally a cottage and stables  and was purchased by the Churc15h Council and converted into a Parish Hall. The money for the Hall
was donated by Miss Maude who lived in Middleton Lodge, so it was named the Maude Memorial Hall or the Maude Hall as most people still call it. Children from St Marys C of E school had lessons there as well as school dinners. It has now been converted into a private house.

Behind the Maude Hall is the old vicarage. This replaced the original vicarage built at the same time as the church but demolished in the 1960s. This is now a private house

St Marys Church was built in 1846 by the miners of Middleton (a weeks work  or donate a weeks pay). Origina16lly built with a spire this was removed in 1939 due to mining subsidence which still affects the church today. See the west wall.

 

17
War memorial.  This was erected in 1920 to commemorate the fallen in the First World War. It was paid for by public subscription.

 

18 Gate House (lodge) The tall stone gatehouse at the side of the church, now a private house, was part of the Middleton Hall estate.  The path to the right of the lodge is called The Drift (possibly after a nearby mine shaft) and was once a carriageway into the park.

Middleton Hall. This Georgian mansion stood on
Town Street where Brand19ling Court is now. It was  once the home of the Brandling family until 1754 and then occupied by John Blenkinsop from 1808 until 1831. John Blenkinsop was the inventor of the rack and pinion railway in 1811. In 1945 the Polish Free Forces were lodged in huts in the grounds of the Hall. The Hall burnt down in 1962 when being used by the council.

 

  20   Miss Maudes Way  At the start of the park stone walls is an overgrown locked metal gate. This led to a path into the park before the main gates were built. On the site to the right was once the Estate  coachmans house .

 

 

The main gates to 21the park which have been recently rebuilt, were originally installed when the Estate was bought by Wades charity and leased to the council in 1920. Local children have designed the mosaics on the stone pillars.

 

22

Middleton Park Leeds City Council and Friends Of Middleton Park (FOMP) have produced four excellent leaflets (obtainable from the Lakeside Centre) of trails around the park

 

We continue our route on to…………..

 

23

Top of the Town Cottages
These cottages were built in the 1700’s on the other side of Town Street from West Farm. These have remained mainly unchanged.

At the top end of the park was another Lodge of which nothing remains apart from a very grainy photograph.

 

Continue along to the Water Tower and the end of our tour.
Hope you’ve enjoyed it – for real or ‘virtual’.
(This is an ongoing project and we hope to produce a further walk(s) with points of interest in the future).

PH 8/6/15

 

Italians in Middleton

Italian prisoners of war were brought to Middleton early 1945 writes Gloria Martinicca. The majority of Prisoners were taken to Post Hill in Bramley, Leeds.  They couldn’t accommodate all of them at Post Hill so the remainder were billeted in Middleton Park.

There doesn’t seem to be any records of this; I have tried the Internet and the Leeds museum where only the Post Hill base is listed. However, I have some first hand knowledge of this as my Father was one of those prisoners. I was told my Dad was billeted in the Middleton Hall there where I also understand some of them were in huts. His name was Crocifisso Salvatori Martinicca. My father told people here he was called Enrico (as in Carouso) because people could say that but he became known as Eric!!! Every one called him Eric even one of his dearest friends Louigi Colletta, (Middleton’s Ice Cream man).  Continue reading