Become a local history reporter in Middleton with new Middleton Life project

Middleton park
Middleton Park is just one area the new Middleton Life project will focus on

A group of Middleton residents are set to become local history reporters and investigate the past of their community.

Led by volunteers from the local community, the Middleton Life project has received £49,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The project will empower residents to tell the history of the area and people’s life stories. 

It will engage people in exploring the history of Middleton, focussing on family life, working conditions and the significant changes in health and medical care at a number of key points in history.

The community-based reporters will post their findings here on South Leeds Life and also help produce a special heritage edition of South Leeds Life community magazine, which has a print run of over 2,500 copies. They’ll also put together a permanent exhibition celebrating Middleton’s history at the new £1.6 million Tenants Hall Enterprise Centre, which opened in Middleton last November. And they’ll help put together a special film about what they’ve discovered.

Residents who have an interest in local history are invited to attend an open meeting on Wednesday, February 1, noon-2pm, at Tenants Hall to find out more about the project and sign up. Refreshments will be provided.

 Fiona Spiers, Head of HLF Yorkshire and the Humber, said:

 “Heritage is not all castles, museums and old buildings. Memories, stories and reminiscences are a very popular way of learning about our past. The Middleton Life project will allow local people to investigate and share their experiences with the wider community.”

The project is being run by Middleton-based charity Health for All.

Middleton Life project spokesman John Baron said:

“This exciting project offers the chance to increase local residents’ and community groups’ access to Middleton’s heritage and help foster community spirit.

“We hope the people who take part in Middleton Life will gain new skills and confidence.”

Middleton has a very rich local history, including early coal mining and the Middleton Railway. The world’s oldest continuously working railway, founded in 1758, was once used for transporting coal and still carries passengers between Hunslet and a halt on the edge of the ancient woodlands.

Two areas of Middleton Park have been designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument due to the presence of these historic coal mining remains.

If you’re interested in taking part in the project, contact John Baron at Health For All on 0113 2706903 or email