Woodlesford – The Story of a Station

Woodlesford station opened in 1840 as part of the North Midland Railway, one of the first long distance railways in the country. Running between Derby and Leeds the line was designed and engineered by George and Robert Stephenson and built by navvies working for a number of contractors.

In 1844 it was absorbed into the Midland Railway which at “The Grouping” in 1923 became a constituent of the London Midland and Scottish Railway. On the creation of the nationalised British Railways in 1948 Woodlesford was in the London Midland Region. In 1950 it was transferred into the North Eastern Region.

Throughout the early part of the 20th century the station had a thriving goods business including coal trains from the nearby Water Haigh colliery. Stone and bricks were also sent all over the country from George Armitage’s quarry and brickworks which had their own sidings. Raw materials for Bentley’s Yorkshire Breweries arrived by train and their beer was dispatched all over the north of England. There was also freight and parcels traffic for the Rothwell district and homing pigeons were sent by fanciers far and wide for training and competitions. This website tells the history of the station and the industries and people it served in the township of Oulton-with-Woodlesford.

The image at the top of the page of 8F 48283 coasting through Woodlesford with the Heysham to Healey Mills oil working was taken in the summer of 1967. Copyright Bob Hunter.

Homes for Heroes. The original houses, now demolished, on Green Lea built by the Hunslet Rural District Council after the First World War. This photo, looking east, is from a postcard sent from Woodlesford in 1923. The rest of the street, towards Highfield Mount in the distance, was completed by the Rothwell Urban District Council in 1939.
A group of people gathered outside the post office on Station Lane before the First World War.
A view of Water Haigh colliery from Fleet Lane as it was being demolished in 1972. Photo by Jim Hardwick, courtesy of the Rothwell and District Historical Society.