Railway in New Farnley

Railways, trams, buses, etc.
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Postby BIG N » Thu 28 May, 2009 3:09 am

railnut wrote:
Also the reason why this pub is called the Railway when it never was near one.

Are you 100% sure on that one ? The old Pudsey loop is no more than a couple of hundred yards from that pub I believe
Chris W
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Postby Chris W » Sat 30 May, 2009 10:07 pm

BIG N wrote:

Someone said that their parents street cut through the old earth works of this possible railway in New Farnley and it was quite impressive to see, which street is this please and can you get a close inspection of the embankment without trespassing on peoples property, I would love to take a look if poss.

Did this line cross Lawns Ln on a bridge or a level crossing, was the Rd dipped to the level of the railway or was it taken below the line ??

Hi Big N,

You can still see the remains of the track embankment quite easily. If you can find the Fish & Chip shop in new Farnley Village there is a public footpath at the side of it which leads to and crosses over the old railway.

The track passed over Lawns Lane at the side of Barkers Well Farm as a level crossing. You can still see the dip in the road today opposite the farm entrance cattle grid.

I have uncovered an old map of the area before the housing estates were built in the seventies showing a small part of the line in the top left corner!
__TFMF_xa5nrr552hvbntums4oc1fjj_5e45bc18-8622-4662-98ea-71db6b374862_0_main.jpg (34.6 KiB) Viewed 1201 times
Farnley born & bred
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Postby pashy2 » Sun 31 May, 2009 7:43 am

Hi Big N,

I was born in and spent my early years at Cow Close Grove,Lower Wortley. About 20 metres to the west of the street was a tunnel which cut through the "rally bankin". It was between D&R and Farnley forge.
It was the vehicular and pedestrian access to the forge and fireclay works plus other lesser known industries operating up there including dieworks and glue makers.

That industrial estate was a young lad's paradise for dangerous games.We climbed on deadly structures, waded through poisonous ponds,rode on the fireclay bogies and jumped off the huge shale and waste dumps.The workers never said a word and nobody was ever hurt.

There was an old bridle path linking New Blackpool and Farnley and to the the west of this were good to climb high slightly inclined sandstone walls. As kids we knew them as the Roman Walls but I believe they were tipping ramps.
We had a great time playing on the railway ( all steam then).
Past D&R near the Kirkdales was another deathtrap playground called the Henebique.It was a huge area full rusting cranes,old industial plant and wrecked rusting buses. It was totally unsecured
and always swarming with rival boys gangs.Once again no-one was ever hurt.

Through the aforementioned tunnel was a good sledging field known as the Daisy field fronting onto Whitehall Rd.I suppose all these open areas of my youth have long since been developed.

Isn't it easy to link the threads on SL ? I could have gone to back to backs with shared bogs, street bon fires, good sledging and misspent youth.

See you Loiners later

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Postby Curlew » Mon 14 Dec, 2009 10:04 pm

Chris W wrote:
Does anybody have any information of a railway branch that ran into New Farnley, Leeds?

If you search for New Farnley in Google Earth and look to the left of the result, you can see a curved earthwork marked in the fields heading towards the housing estate.

I remember as a kid playing on the embankment and what remained of a track bed behind the housing estate. I also saw a picture in an old local history book that showed a loco passing over Lawns Lane at the other end of the housing estate.

Could the railway have been associated with Farnley Fireclay? I have attached a pic from Google Earth to show where I mean.

I recognise that I enter the debate on this question somewhat late. However, as someone who spent his childhood and youth in New Farnley in the 1940's and 50's, you may find my contribution of some use.

The remains to which you refer are those of a mineral railway track that carried the raw materials, (coal, iron-ore and clay) to the Farnley Iron Company and Fireclay Works during the Industrial Revolution. The Company was founded in 1844 by the four Armitage brothers, sons of Edward Armitage of Farnley Hall.

From your siting near to Well Holme Farm, the track curved in a S.W. direction past the brick structures which were air-shafts for underground workings and through the field to the west of Low Moor Side Lane and the site of the now demolished Long Row (originally miners' terraced cottages) to Sowden Pit. This pit was situated to the west of Low Moor Side Lane, close to the junction with Walsh Lane. From Sowden, the railway continued in a S.S.E. direction, crossing Low Moor Side Lane and through the field to the S.W. of Walsh Lane to meet and cross Whitehall Road at a point between what is now the Jewish Cemetery and the adjacent semi-detached houses, (the gateways still remain) Here, the railway headed in a S.E. direction down what is still called the 'wagon line' to a point just before it met the footpath from Wentworth Farm across the fields to Gildersome. Here it forked, with one element heading S. to Farnley Briggs Pit, (A large pit owned by Farnley Iron Co. In 1896, 125 colliers worked here extracting ironstone and manufacturing quality coal). The other section of track continued S.E. to the pits located close to Gelderd Road at St. Bernard's Mills. These were Farnley Simpson Pit, ( another large Farnley Iron Co.-owned pit, employing 96 men in 1896 on the extraction of manufacturing grade coal and ironstone), and Farnley Wood Lift Pit (coal and ironstone). Nearby was Raffles Pit at Beeston Royds and across Gelderd Road, situated close to Rooms Lane was Philadelphia Pit (In 1896 owned by W.Woodhead and Son, Farnley, Leeds, employing 55 men, it produced both household and manufacturing coal).

Other pits in the area were:

Cud Hill, Moortop, owned by the Farnley Iron Co., employing 87 workers in 1896 and producing manufacturing coal and coking coal.

Dixon, Farnley, owned by the Farnley Iron Co. employing 47 in1896 and mining both household coal and manufacturing coal.

Ashfield Dayhole,* Farnley, owned by Farnley Iron Co. employed 10 men underground in 1896. Minerals worked: manufacturing coal and fireclay.

White's Dayhole,* Farnley, owned by Farnley Iron Co. and employing 113 workers (96 underground) extracting fireclay.

*( A dayhole, known colloquially as 't'dayoil' was an adit mine with a horizontal entrance - built into a hillside)

Other pits in the area were:
Tenter Croft, Wortley
Wortley Busk.
Wortley Royds
All owned by The Leeds Fireclay Co.
Wortley Manor, owned by W. Ingham and Sons, Wortley.
Grave Colliery (near Harper Farm, Farnley), owned by W.G. Woodhead and Son, Farnley.
Spring Gardens, Drighlington, owned by Fearnley Garforth, Drig.
Gildersome Pit, Bradford, owned by W. and J.Towler.

Two further pits owned by The Leeds Fireclay Co were in Halifax:

Breakneck, Shibden Hall, Halifax.
Well Royd, Shibden Hall, Halifax.

Returning to your siting close to Well Holme Farm, the railroad tracked N.E. to Barker's Well, where it crossed Lawns Lane and headed due E. before turning S.E. into the Farnley Iron Co. and Fireclay Co. site to a point below Lodge Hill. From here, there appear to have been a complex series of points-systems enabling rail access to almost all the buildings in the yard and even taking trucks within the buildings. In addition there was a link via the Whitehall Road Bridge to main line.

As far as I know, none of the mineral railway's road-crossings at Lawns Lane, Low Moor Side Lane or even Whitehall Road were provided with gates to stop road traffic. This sounds highly dangerous by today's standards, but it is important to remember that before 1911, the large majority of vehicles using the roads around New Farnley would be horse-drawn (the maiden run of the first 29-seater Rail-less Electric Car in Britain, travelling from Aire Street in Leeds to Farnley Moor Top did not occur until 1911, continuing to service the route until 1928 when motorbuses were introduced.)

At its peak, the Farnley Iron Company and Fireclay Works employed in the region of 2000 workers (miners, ironworkers and furnacemen, brickmakers, glazers and kilnfirers, timber sawyers, blacksmiths, engine drivers etc.)

As a village, New Farnley owes its existence to the exploitation of the minerals running beneath it. The hurriedly-built terraced houses of Long Row, Playground, Furnace Row, Forge Row and West End were purpose built (using bricks manufactured at the Fireclay Works) between about 1850-55 to house the Company's workers and their families, many of whom had migrated from the area around the Low Moor Iron Co. at Low Moor, Bradford.

In addition to the exploitation of the mineral wealth of the area, we should not forget that it was only through the exploitation of the combined labour of hundreds of New Farnley workers that the Armitage family were able to enjoy their opulent lifestyle.

I am currently researching the lives and works of two New Farnley coalminers, both of whom lived in Long Row and worked for the Farnley Iron Company.
They are Joseph Wade, (1843-1904), miner, ironworker and orchestral violinmaker, who lived at 1 Long Row, New Farnley.
Rufus Hanson (1846-!900) miner, portrait artist and pioneer commercial photographer, whose home and studio were at 44 and 45 Long Row, New Farnley.
If anyone has connections to, information on, or work produced by either of these 'Victorian Sons' of New Farnley, ( eg a violin made by Joseph Wade, or a painting or photographs by Rufus Hanson), I would be very pleased to hear from you.    

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Postby electricaldave » Tue 15 Dec, 2009 1:36 pm

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Postby LeeJ » Tue 15 Dec, 2009 3:24 pm

I can probably add to this as I have worked at Lettershop Group for 15 years now. We have photos of the land before and during the building of our offices, as the diggers excavated the land and filled in a tunnel that ran under neath. We also funded the removal of the bridge to I think. I can certainly try to find out owt I can.
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Postby anthonydna » Tue 15 Dec, 2009 4:22 pm

"As a village, New Farnley owes its existence to the exploitation of the minerals running beneath it. The hurriedly-built terraced houses of Long Row, Playground, Furnace Row, Forge Row and West End were purpose built (using bricks manufactured at the Fireclay Works) between about 1850-55 to house the Company's workers and their families, many of whom had migrated from the area around the Low Moor Iron Co. at Low Moor, Bradford."

My grandfather Jack Downs family relocated from Low Moor to New Farnley to work in the Forge. He lived at Intake Farm on Moor Top until he died a few years back.    
Chris W
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Postby Chris W » Tue 15 Dec, 2009 7:10 pm

Hi Curlew,

Thanks for the info there. Very interesting read.

I have discovered a map of New Farnley 1847 - 1891 showing the railway system here (you may have to enlarge the map).


Do you remember the school building which stood at the back of the modern day community centre? I have been trying to trace some photos, but they seem scarce!
Farnley born & bred

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Postby Trojan » Tue 15 Dec, 2009 9:26 pm

Didn't Fireclay have kilns down Meadow Lane?
Industria Omnia Vincit
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Postby Omegaman » Tue 15 Dec, 2009 10:29 pm

Hi Everybody!

I've been a long time lurker on here and this thread has finally got the better of me! This discussion is fascinating and the memories are flooding back.
Having grown up in Lower Wortley in the late 60's - 70's, these areas are where I played as a kid. My family all worked in and around this area too.
Hopefully if my poor memory allows, I'll add what I can to this very interesting discussion.

A few things that may be yield relevant information.

My Father worked at Dunlop & Ranken in the late 60's.
My Mother and Uncle both worked on the Fireclay.
I worked at what was W. H. Todd scrapyard (Later Dragon Bridge Recovery) in '79-80.

I also have some information regarding Post Hill that may be of interest and will add that to the post in the relevant section.

Time to get my poor old brain into gear and get writing!!

Keep up the good work people!

Back soon.....

If it aint broke.........Break it!

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