Friends of Middleton Park

Friends of Middleton Park

Latest News

19-Oct-2011: Changes in the Park...

It seems ages since we heard that the Council had been successful in a Lottery bid for the park. We had thought work would start earlier in the year, but it appears that the Lakeside Centre will be demolished sometime next month, November.

Work should then start on the building of the new replacement centre. It is expected that the new building will be ready by August 2012. It is hoped that some form of temporary accommodation will be found, so that there will be "Summer in the Park" events can happen in 2012.

To find out more, come along to the Friends Open Public Meeting on Tuesday 14th November. See the Events for details.

21-Mar-2009: Stocks installed in Park...

The New Stocks near the carpark

On Saturday, 21st March, a Friend's working party erected the new Stocks, near the car park. It is hoped to have the following text inscribed on a stone near the stocks:

"Around the year 1205 in the reign of King John, there was a dispute about the boundary between the manors of Middleton and Beeston. At one point William de Grammary, Lord of the manor of Middleton, imprisoned the forester of Adam de Beeston, Lord of the manor of Beeston, in the Stocks."

"The boundary was finally agreed and a large ditch was dug along its length. 800 years later, this ditch can still be seen in Beeston wood at the northern side of the park."

"The Friends of Middleton Park have erected these Stocks as a reminder of the history of your park and also to comply with a statute of 1405, that has never been repealed, that every manor should have a Stocks."

Here are some pictures of the working group in action...

FOMP working party installed the Stocks FOMP working party installed the Stocks
FOMP working party installed the Stocks FOMP working party installed the Stocks
FOMP working party installed the Stocks FOMP working party installed the Stocks
FOMP working party installed the Stocks FOMP working party installed the Stocks

13-Nov-2008: Mining Survey wins Highly Commended...

British Archaeological Awards Highly Commended Certificate

The FoMP Archaeological Survey was one of 5 finalists nominated for the best amateur or independent project in this year's British Archaeological Awards. The winners were announced at The Awards at the British Museum on Monday, 10th November 2008.

Several members of the project were there to learn that while the project did not win the title, we are all proud that we were awarded a Highly Commended! From the press release...

"The BEST AMATEUR or INDEPENDENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL PROJECT is better known as the Pitt Rivers Award. Since the beginning of the Awards, it has been sponsored by the Robert Kiln Charitable Trust. The judging panel offer three Highly Commended certificates."

"The first is for a ten year field walking project by a small but very enthusiastic amateur group produced highly significant results for a low lying area close to the Thames never previously studied. For impressive discoveries of multi-period sites and artefacts admirably published in both paper and on CD, Datchet Village Society is Highly Commended."

"The second Highly Commended project is a community project conducted under testing conditions effected the comprehensive archaeological survey of an extensive early coal mining landscape. The result was a major re-assessment of the known archaeology of the area. For the Middleton Park Community Archaeological Project, Friends of Middleton Park are Highly Commended."

"The final Highly Commended certificate is for an extremely competent, well organised and fascinating excavation of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Street House, Yorkshire, involving local residents and archaeological society members that lead to prompt publication."

"The Graham Webster Laurels is for the amateur project which contributes most to education in archaeology goes to a major long term project by a well known and well respected amateur group. As well as being a very successful training excavation of an important 1st and 2nd century site the project has expanded to incorporate an educational project using the site and material obtained from it to involve local schools, colleges and other archaeology groups. In addition, an HLF grant has enabled the group to recruit a part-time educational officer. For a project that is in the best tradition of large scale amateur endeavours the Graham Webster Laurels are deservedly awarded to Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society for the Blacklands Project."

British Archaeological Awards Highly Commended Plate

"The Pitt-Rivers Award for the Best Amateur or Independent Project goes to another first class and fascinating long-term project by a well-established group with a good track record. The work involved the comprehensive archaeological survey of over 400 square kilometres of Upper Tweeddale and the selective excavation of sites threatened by fluctuating reservoir water levels and forests and was carried out entirely by volunteers. The objectives of the project were clear cut, the work was performed to a commendably high standard and, crucially, publication was timely, thorough and made readily available through an excellent web site. The panel was very happy to give the Pitt-Rivers Award for 2008 to Biggar Museum Archaeology Group."

17-Oct-2008: Middleton Park Lottery Bid Success...

The People's Programme Heritage Lottery Fund have announced today that the Leeds City Council's bid for £1.4m for Middleton Park, has been successful.

The scheme, which has been supported by the Friends of Middleton Park and Wade's Charity, aims to encourage a greater and more diverse range of people to visit the park. The Lottery money will be used to create a new visitor centre and café, linking with Middleton Parks award winning mining survey work. Other areas of the park, including the children's play facilities and paths, will also be improved.

"I am very pleased that the hard work that everybody has put in has been successful." said Nick Rose, Chair of Friends of Middleton Park, "Wade's Charity, who lease Middleton Park to the Council, are to be congratulated on their initiative in agreeing to source the 25% of the funding that is required as part of this scheme."

"It is excellent news that the partnership, with Leeds City Council providing the necessary expertise, has been successful. In particular I would mention the chairman of Wade's trustees, Martin Dodgson, who has been very pro-active in this, together with his fellow trustee Peter Marshall, and Andrew Middlemiss of Leeds City Council who acted as the guiding hand."

"I think the friends of Middleton Park can also pat themselves on the back because it is their initiative in seeking a Your Heritage grant from the lottery to carry out the archaeological survey of the park over the last 2 years that has raised its profile and brought its importance to the notice of the Heritage Lottery Fund. Martin Roe, of Meerstone Archaeological Consultancy who oversaw this project, deserves our thanks in this respect."

"Whilst the news is good, there is still a long way to go. Detailed work and costing of the proposals will now go ahead but it is unlikely that any work will take place before 2010."

"I hope this work will meet the aspirations of the residents of Middleton and South Leeds but they must never take the area for granted. There is an accessible 500+ acres of nature reserve and historic landscape on the doorstep which needs to be cherished by everybody."

The news was welcomed by Middleton Park's three Labour Councillors. Councillor Judith Blake said: "My colleagues and I are delighted that the Lottery bid for money for improvements to Middleton Park has been given the go-ahead. The plans form an essential part of the proposals to regenerate this part of the city."

"I think this is a wonderful example of partnership working, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Friends of Middleton Park and Wade's Charity for all their help and hard work over the last five years. Without them none of this would have been possible."

"We look forward to seeing the park returned to its former glory and hope that these improvements will attract even more people to this beautiful part of South Leeds."

03-Aug-2008: FoMP Launch Public Survey about Middleton Park...

The Friends have decided to run a survey to find out what the people of Leeds think of the park and to understand what people want to see and be able to do in the park in the future.

This follows a bid for more than £1.6 million pounds from the Heritage Lottery Fund to improve access and facilities. The Friends want to take the opportunity to ask local residents, and park users from further a-field, what facilities they would like to see and be able to use in the park, and what action needs to be taken to increase peoples' enjoyment of the park. The Friends are looking for any comments, ideas, complaints and suggestions that people may have, which would help us to further structure and determine the improvements already agreed as part of the original lottery bid.

Alan Shaw of the Friends commented "We feel that this is a real opportunity for people to have their say about what they would like to see in what is a very interesting site".

The Friends would like to encourage all those with an interest to fill in the survey. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete and copies are available through FoMP, or at The Friends' regular Afternoon Teas in the Park sessions - every Sunday, 2pm - 4pm, until the end of September.

The survey can be completed online at At the web site:

  • Click on Yorks and Humber ...
  • Click on West Yorkshire ...
  • Click on Leeds City Council ...
  • Fill in your contact information or select anonymous then click next...
  • Click on Park or Open Space ...
  • Locate Middleton Park in the drop down list and then click next page.

It is really very straightforward and easy to use after that with a submit button at the end.

16-Jul-2008: FoMP Publish book about Coal Mining in Middleton Park...

Launched to coincide with National Archaeology Week 2008 (July 12th-20th) the Friends of Middleton Park (FoMP) is delighted to announce the publication of a new book, which highlights the park as an area of major historic significance.

Coal Mining in Middleton Park: An Archaeological Investigation by the Middleton Park Community Archaeological Survey Project details the findings of the lottery-funded, community project, and demonstrates that Middleton Park is one of the best preserved and most important historic coal-mining landscapes in West Yorkshire.

The project, carried out by volunteers under the watch of a professional expert in industrial archaeology, spent two winters mapping the presence and type of mine-shafts and industrial features across Middleton Park.

It found a wide range of features associated with different styles of coal mining from the 17th to the 19th Century, with over 270 shaft mounds ranging from small areas of shallow mining to deep shafts operated by horse and steam powered engines.

In addition, more than two kilometres of waggonway within the park has been identified, which were developed from 1758 to take coal from Middleton to Leeds. These played an important part the development of railways across the world and most of routes recorded were previously unknown.

This project was funded by the National Lottery

Book details
ISBN 978-0-9559477-0-4
Format A4, 50pp, 26 Full colour figures
Retail price £9.95 plus p&p

Order direct from the Friends of Middleton Park, Tenants Hall, Acre Close, Middleton, Leeds, LS10 4HX.

For further details contact:

mobile 07914 729051 or email:

27-Mar-2008: Latest News on the Middleton Park Lottery Bid...

The consultants, Bureau Veritas, have proposed the following improvements to the park to be included in the Lottery Bid:

  • Improving the Main entrance with new gates and railings,
  • Work to upgrade the historic entrance off Town Street,
  • New signs and park furniture,
  • Improving the main access road,
  • Works to the lake and hall pond,
  • Doubling the size of the lakeside centre to form cafe/meeting area,
  • Works to the woodland which will include trails to show the mining heritage and a replica Horse Gin, of a type used in accessing the old workings,
  • The Rose garden will be redesigned and the site of Middleton Lodge outlined as part of the landscaping,
  • Work will also be done to various boundaries and entrances to improve them, such as the railway halt and Middleton Grove entrance by the John Charles centre.

This work has been costed out at £1.625 million, and Leeds City Council Executive Board and the Trustees of Wade's Charity have approved the financing of such a bid. This is to be submitted by March 31st.

11-Jan-2008: Hilary Benn agrees to be patron of Friends of Middleton Park

Hilary Benn M.P., Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, has agreed to become the first patron of Friends of Middleton Park. The steering group felt that having a well known patron would help raise the profile of FoMP and the park. We hope to have an inauguration event sometime in the near future.

11-Jan-2008: Archaeology Project Display in Middleton Library, St. George's Centre

A summary of the first year's work on the Archaeological Survey in Middleton Park, is now on display in Middleton library, St. George's Centre. The display will be in the library until Tuesday 29th January. After that the display will be in Belle Isle library.

A second version of the display will be placed into Hunslet library on the 15/16th January.

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