Middleton Park is currently being transformed thanks to a £2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and matched funding. In December visitors will be able to enjoy a cup of tea in the café which is located in the brand new pavilion which faces the lake.
On week 3 of the Community Correspondents course we went to the park and practised our photography. John Baron, course leader, gave us a list of words and tasked us with taking photos which connected with his list.
I couldn’t miss the ‘woodland’. The ‘trees’ were stunning with their autumn colours. It was also easy to find the ‘lake’ and watch the ducks swimming up and down and to find the ‘playground’. Even on a cold November day there were some great ‘views’ partcularly looking over the golf course and north to the city centre.
I did have difficulty finding photos to illustrate ‘heritage’ and the ‘history’ of the park. Apparently, in the early thirteenth century the boundary between Middleton and Beeston became a matter of great dispute until it was settled in 1209 by mortal combat between William Grammary and Adam de Beeston. This resulted in the construction of a boundary bank and ditch, part of which can still be seen in the woods today.
Coal mining took place as early as the Middle Ages . Deep mining arrived with the advent of steam engines to pump water out of the mines and keep the workings dry. In 1808 the mine employed 90 hewers and 60 putters. Broom Pit was the deepest (810 feet) and longest lasting of the Middleton colleries with 900 men employed there in 1940. Operations at the pit ended in 1968 as the productivity declined.
The Middleton Railway founded in 1758 is the oldest continuously working railway in Britain to be established by an Act of Parliament. Today there’s about a mile of operational track, running from the Middleton Railway’s headquarters at Moor Road to Park Halt, which gives access to the park.
One of the Friends of Middleton Park is on the course and she told us that as part of the transformation of the park there will be improved signs and interpretative panels explaining more of the history of the park. So I hope I will find the tram tracks on a future visit!
This article was written by Steve Williamson using our Community Reporters website at www.communityreporters.sllife.leeds11.com