Pupils discover Middleton’s mining heritage

Marianne James has sent us this guest post about a special heritage project for primary school pupils in Middleton Park:

Around 250 pupils from nine classes from six Middleton primary schools learned, over a period of four weeks, about archaeology and the mining history of Middleton Park through a series of interactive classroom based lessons on archaeology, coal mining and child mine workers, with a session in the park in which they undertook an archaeological field survey of mining remains there.             

Throughout the project pupils developed an increased sense of pride and belonging, developed confidences and new skills which will positively shape their future. It also helped them understand the wider value of the park, and to increase their desire to maintain it for future generations.

Graeme Ashton, Middleton Park Estate Officer, Leeds City Council, said:

“I think the project has been extremely valuable in engaging young people to learn about the history and importance of their local park (and area). The feedback I’ve seen has been extremely positive from pupils and teachers. It will have future positive impacts for local young people, the community and the park itself.”

A sample of the children’s work books, art work and literature will be displayed in the Lakeside Centre in Middleton Park in January 2013 to celebrate the work of the pupils, and as an interpretation aid for the general public.

The project was funded by the Heritage Lottery fund, Wade’s Charity and Leeds City Council, and was jointly delivered by Archaeological Services WYAS and the West Yorkshire Joint Services Education and Promotions Team, with the assistance of volunteers from the Friends of Middleton Park who shared their practical experience of undertaking a survey of the park in 2007 and their valuable knowledge of the history of mining in the park

For further information on events taking place at the park, please contact Graeme Ashton on 0113 3957400 or email graeme.ashton@leeds.gov.uk.

If you would like further information on the project please contact Marianne James on 0113 393 9824 or mjames@wyjs.org.uk.