Historical Dates

A long time ago. The Brigantes.

71AD Romans in the area. Suggestion that two minor Roman roads met at Woodlesford.

655 Battle of Whinmoor. Pagan Penda from Mercca may have crossed River Aire at Woodlesford.

1066 Ilbert de Lacy awarded the land in and around Woodlesford by William The Conqueror.

1086 Four Rothwell men recorded in Domesday Book.

1170 Samson de Wridlesford. Lord of the Manor.

1380 Approx. John of Gaunt killed last wild boar in England on Rothwell Haigh, the King’s hunting park.

1500s Mill at Fleet, expanded in late 18th century. Derelict from 1920s after a fire.

1600s and before, coal mined on Lowther estate (1656). William Lowther bought land after making money as a merchant in Hamburg. Coal also at Middleton and probably on Rothwell Haigh. Bell pits.

1690 Swillington House built.

1704 Aire and Calder Navigation opened to Leeds. Cryer Cut built a few years later. Lowther was one of the Undertakers (shareholders).

1712 Abraham Fenton had a pit at Temple Newsam, expanded to Rothwell Haigh.  Abraham’s relative Kirkby Fenton inherited the collieries and lived at Leventhorpe House in the 1830s. It was designed by architect John Carr for Richard Green and built in 1774. Much later it was occupied by John Towlerton Leather who built the Sheffield Dale Dyke dam that failed. He owned land between Alma Street and the canal.

1717 Steam “fire engine” at Rothwell Haigh mine. Deeper coal seams exploited.

1700s Stone quarries at Oulton and Woodlesford. Stone exported via the Navigation. Church bells imported.

1730 Swillington House rebuilt by William Lowther.

1730s Paper Mill at Woodlesford. Lowther ownership.

1758 Middleton wagon way to Leeds.

1764 First coal at Great Preston colliery.

1768 William Evers, wire worker of Swillington Bridge, makes and sells machines for threshing corn and dressing flour.

1782 Boulton and Watt beam engines at Rothwell Haigh.

1789 Incline at Rothwell Haigh to Fenton wharf on canal.

1789 Wakefield to Aberford turnpike. John Smeaton (1724 – 1792) possibly designed a new Swillington Bridge in conjunction with building of the turnpike.

1780s Leeds merchant and banker John Blayds buys up land. Childless he wills it to John Calverley whose family had been based at West Hall near Newmarket.

1808 Bentley opens maltings at Woodlesford.

1812 Steam on Middleton line.

1819 Woodlesford Pottery. Also Swillington Bridge pottery, possibly much earlier.

1820 Charlesworths take over the Rothwell pits, leased from Lords Stourton and Norfolk.

1824 Survey for a Leeds to Hull line by George Stephenson and Joseph Locke.

1828 Henry Bentley opens brewery at Woodlesford.

1829 Oulton church built by John Blayds who changed his name from Calverley.

1834 Leeds and Selby line opened. Marsh Lane station.

1835 George Stephenson and Frederick Swanwick survey the route of North Midland Railway.

1835 Woodlesford Cut to Methley opens after surveys by John Smeaton and Thomas Telford. Favel and Dyson contractors.

1835 September, North Midland prospectus issued and meeting at Scarborough’s Hotel in Leeds attended by Stephenson.

1836 July. North Midland Bill passed. Opposition by Aire and Calder Navigation.

1837 and 1838 Building work on south of line at Clay Cross etc.

1838 Woodlesford contract probably let. John Ratcliffe Chapman contractor.

1839 July. Deviation route between Rothwell Haigh and Leeds passed taking line away from original route close to canal.

1840 11 May. Southern section to Rotherham (and Sheffield) opened.

1840 30 June. Grand opening. Leeds Hunslet Lane to Derby, also York and North Midland. Two engines from Leeds at 8am. Stopped Woodlesford about 8.15. Trains combined at Oakenshaw. Went to Derby. Then back to Leeds Music Hall. Sheffield party then went back to Sheffield. 

1840 George Hudson diverts all York to Leeds traffic via Methley and Woodlesford, until at least 1850 but possibly much later (1869?).

1840 October. Manchester and Leeds trains run from Hunslet Lane through Woodlesford to Hebden Bridge. Then after Summit tunnel finished in 1841 all Manchester to Leeds via Woodlesford until 1848 when Huddersfield to Leeds direct route via Morley opened.

1840 Jackson’s Siding near Fleet Mills.

1841 Woodlesford station building probably built. Architect Francis Thompson.

1844 Excursion to Hull picks up at Woodlesford. Fare 2s.

1846 Leeds and Bradford Railway. Triangle at Whitehall. Hunslet Lane closed to passengers, open to freight until 1972. Temporary Wellington station for Midland.

1849 GNR runs over L&Y from Doncaster to Methley and through Woodlesford to Leeds. (Methley branch of Wakefield, Pontefract and Goole Railway). Dispute at Methley. Midland men lift the rails, but soon settled. Trains to Kings Cross in 1852.

1850 Wellington proper opened. Expanded 1872. Queen’s Hotel 1863. More expansion 1918. Rebuilt to Art Deco style 1937.

1854 Leeds Central opened for Leeds and Thirsk via Harrogate. Then GNR and L & Y. (Closed last day of April 1967).

1857 GNR stops using Midland after direct route from Doncaster via Wakefield Westgate opened.

1865 Woodlesford station master’s house built.

1865 Methley Joint Railway opened.

1867 Fanny Pit (Midland Pit) opened.

1868 Prince of Wales visited. (Edward VII).

1869 Leeds New Station, LNWR and NER after completion of link to Marsh Street.

1869 Foundation stone for Woodlesford church.

1872 Additional Powers Act. Midland designed new station for Woodlesford but never built. Siding to Bentley’s built after dispute with Ann Massey over compulsory purchase of her house. Also expansion of Waterloo Colliery Sidings. 4 tracks to Leeds. 

1875 Approx. Signal box at end of Woodlesford Up platform built.

1876 Settle and Carlisle opened.

1879 Oddie’s paper mill to be let. Becomes Seanor’s firelighter works.

1880 Bentley’s becomes a limited company. Charlesworths on board. Waterloo and Woodlesford Colliery Company Ltd. is liquidated. Nibble and Clink pit closes. 

1883 Plan to connect Rothwell by rail through Woodlesford with Hull and Barnsley line at Drax. There would have been a station near the quarry off Aberford Road and a connection with the Midland to the south of Woodlesford.

1891 EWYU opens into Rothwell from GNR at Lofthouse.

1892 Work on sidings at Woodlesford.

1893 George Armitage buys Henry Langstaff’s bluestone quarry at Oulton.

1895 EWYU extended to Stourton and junction with Midland Railway.  

1906 Approx. Armitage’s build brickworks next to quarry with rail link across Eshald Lane to canal and railway. 

1904 Passenger service from Rothwell to Leeds via Stourton on EWYU Railway but stopped after few months because of trams. A plan to extend the tramway to Oulton and Methley was never carried out.

1910 Carriage over run at Woodlesford.

1911 Spur to Water Haigh colliery at Woodlesford opened. Paddy Train for miners from Leeds.

1916 More work on sidings at station and Bridge 238 (Aberford Road) rebuilt.

1919 Woodlesford Picture House opens.

1927 Thames Clyde express starts running through Woodlesford. Also Devonian, Cornishman, Thames Forth.

1938 Oil depot at Fleet opened by Texaco.

1948 Skelton Grange Power Station opens and coal arrives via Waterloo Sidings. Part of Woodlesford station master responsibilities.

1960s Stone quarries and brickworks closed. Brickworks moved to Swillington.

1958 D.M.U. train service via Barnsley.

1962 Work on new marshalling yard at Stourton but then abandoned.

1964 Woodlesford goods yard closed.

1964 Derailment of sleeper express at Wakefield Road Bridge. Started at Rothwell Haigh. Caused by empty milk tanker marshalled next to the diesel loco. 

1967 Leeds Central closed. All trains at Leeds City. End of 1967 service via Cudworth to Sheffield ends. Was operated by steam until 1967.

1970 Pay Trains introduced. Woodlesford becomes an unstaffed halt.

1970 Water Haigh closed.

1972 Woodlesford signal box closed.

1972 Fire destroyed Waterloo signal box. Rebuilt and closed 1981.

1972 Brewery stops producing beer.

1972 Approx. All Midland line expresses rerouted via Wakefield Westgate.

1983 Fanny Pit closed.

1984 Brewery closed.

2010 Steam returns on the Scarborough Spa Express.