In my continuing search of the countries industrial heritage I made the short journey to Leeds today to explore the Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills. It is a museum of industrial heritage located in Armley, West Leeds, West Yorkshire and it includes collections of textile machinery, railway equipment and heavy engineering amongst others.
The Grade II* listed building housing the museum was once the world’s largest woollen mill. The current structures were built in 1805 by Benjamin Gott and closed as a commercial mill in 1969.
They were taken over by Leeds City Council and reopened as a museum of industrial heritage in 1982. It is located between the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the River Aire and accessed from Canal Road or Milford Place.
At the museum you can explore the industries that have shaped the modern city of Leeds – from textiles to steam engine production, printing to engineering.
If you are fascinated by working machinery and heavy engineering then this is a must place to visit. To see the machinery that people worked on in the woolen mills and children as young as eight years of age who were required to work from 6.00am to 8.00pm, suffering horrendous beatings if they fell asleep (I think an outing here for some of the university “snowflakes” would be very beneficial as a dose of reality).
They currently have an exhibition about the role of women during WW1 who made the shells and bullets to supply the troops at the front. They worked in very dangerous conditions, particularly the use of chemicals which turned their hair yellow (similar experience to my mother who made bombs in WW2).
Sometimes disaster struck and there were fatalities, but the work went on non-stop. Below are some of the posters on display which reflect the importance of the job done by the women, but which is still largely unknown and under – appreciated.
One has to take the last poster with a pinch of salt because here we are in 2017 (almost) and the fight is still going on for equality in many places of work.
But it is vital that the work of these brave women is remembered and recognised……….wouldn’t it be nice is Leeds City Council commissioned a statue to be erected in the centre of Leeds to honour these brave women?
Photographs (c) Kindadukish 2016