Middleton Life local history

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Middleton Life is an exciting project involving South Leeds Life which has seen a group of Middleton residents become local history reporters and investigate the past of their community.

The hard work of members of the Middleton Life project was celebrated at a special event at Tenants Hall Enterprise Centre on Thursday, July 12, 2012 when exhibition panels they helped put together were unveiled, alongside the premiere of a 20-minute film about Middleton’s history.

Local residents are cordially invited to pop into Tenants Hall Enterprise Centre to see the exhibition, which consists of panels, a special stained glass window, wall hanging and old photos.

Led by volunteers from the local community, Middleton Life received £49,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The project, run by Health For All, aimed to empower residents to tell the history of the area and people’s life stories.

It has focused on four key areas of Middleton’s history – family life, working conditions and the significant changes in health and medical care at a number of key points in history.

Not only have they put together panels celebrating Middleton’s history at the new £1.6 million Tenants Hall, they’ve interviewed their fellow residents about their memories and captured them for a special film, which we’ve split into six sections.

Here’s all six parts:

The community-based reporters have also written a special Middleton heritage edition of South Leeds Life community magazine. You can read or print a copy below:

With support from Cockburn School, some membershave also researched and put together a small stained glass window, and pupils at nearby Middleton Primary School are designing a special Middleton tapestry. Both are displayed at Tenants Hall.

As part of the background research for the project, members have also been on trips to Middleton Woods with The Friends of Middleton Park and Middleton Railway to explore the area’s rich mining and industrial heritage, to Thackray Museum and the National Coalmining Museum.

Fiona Spiers, Head of HLF Yorkshire and the Humber, said:

“The Middleton Life project has provided wonderful opportunities for local people to get actively involved in heritage, engage with their community and learn new skills. By looking back at the changes in Middleton, volunteers have developed a deeper understanding about their local area which will be shared with the wider community through the interpretation panels and South Leeds Life magazine.”

One of the community reporters, Martin Bartholomew, from Middleton, said:

“We’ve had a really interesting time, researching Middleton’s history, interesting trips out and interviewing our fellow residents and collating their memories. I’ve learnt a lot about our community I didn’t know before.”

John Baron, of the Middleton Life Project, said:

“It’s been great the way the community has come together – and really fun unpeeling the incredibly rich history and heritage that Middleton hosts. Organisations like Friends of Middleton Park have given up their time to help the project and we’re very grateful.”

You can find a feed of all Middleton Life posts on South Leeds Life here.

Members of Middleton Life have enjoyed themselves so much that they’re looking to continue as a local history group – we’ll keep you updated of their progress.

For further information contact John Baron at Health For All on 0113 270 6903 or email john.baron@health forall.org.uk.

21 thoughts on “Middleton Life local history

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  21. I’ve just come back home (Newcastle) from Middleton today after visiting my Mother’s grave at St Mary’s church. It’s such a shame I didn’t know about this going on as I have some interesting stuff, mainly to do with The Crossland family I could have contributed.

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