Joe Ward

The abandoned and flooded Armitage stone quarry. The spire of Oulton church can be seen on the horizon.

Joe Ward was born in Woodlesford in 1936 but grew up at Robin Hood where his father, also Joseph, worked for George Armitage and Sons for over 50 years. Joe was an Armitage apprentice himself for 6 years in the 1950s, based at Thorpe, and has memories of visiting the Woodlesford and Oulton quarries and brickworks to carry out maintenance work.

He recalls blocks of stone which were blasted out and cut into grindstones by large saws in the stone shed which still stands opposite Woodlesford Co-op.

His job involved fixing the stationary diesel and electric engines which powered the belt driven machinery in both the brickworks and the sawmill. Joe later moved to work for the Hargreaves haulage firm in Rothwell. 

Joe Ward remembers George Armitage and Sons

Brick making at Woodlesford

After stone getting stopped the quarry filled up with water and was used as a dump for old tyres and paint. The spire of Oulton church is in the background.
Traction engine enthusiast Derek Rayner kept his steam roller in the old sawmill after the quarry closed.