South Leeds Life has received the following email from an ex-Miggy resident – Kathleen Bok – now living in Canada appealing for information on the history of the area.
I recently read with interest a good deal of the history of Middleton. Hope you are able to pass this information on to the very capable historians you had to see if they can trace the trail through Middleton. When was it built ? What
goods were being carried by the mules? Where did the trail originate and what was its destination?
When I left Middleton to live in Canada in 1960 , I remember the trail running behind the first dozen houses on Middleton Ring Rd, between Town St, going north towards Beeston.
The path was paved with well worn slabs of stone and had overgrown small trees at each side.
This stretch of the path was called ‘Balk Cliff Lane’. At the end of the above mentioned houses it crossed the Ring Rd, travelled loosely along the tram track, and then it could be seen again descending downwards into what was the beginning of Gypsy Lane.
It was in Middleton Park woodland, below the old tram tracks, and still was lined with small trees.
There was a pond at the bottom of this incline. I had been told that the trail ran south eastward from Balk Cliff Lane, below what was Thwaite’s farm, on the edge of the woodland and possibly towards Ardsley.
Back about 1950 an old timer said that the stone slab trail had been used by mules to carry woolen goods. It must have cost a lot to build and maintain. Who would have owned it? Were there extensive , connected trails of this nature pre – Industrial revolution? Has this bit of Middleton’s history disappeared completely?
Hope your historians can help solve this mystery.
Someone who must have known this path well is a Mr. Jimmy Snape who still lives in one of the above Ring Rd. houses and has done since before 1940.
Hoping that you are able to delve into this part of Middleton’s history,
Kathleen Bok (nee Hobson) Born and lived on Town Street near the
Water Tower for many years.