Pool Bank Quarries

A Brief History

  • 1674 Poole Manor Court Rolls reveal stone removed from Pool Common.
  • 1774 Award Map shows quarry off Old Pool Bank
  • c. 1808 Turner produces a large pencil drawing of upper quarry (in Tate Gallery)
  • 1849 Tythe map shows the above quarry is unoccupied
  • 1847 O.S. map indicates three sandstone quarries on Pool Bank
  • 1846 James Bray owner
  • 1867 Bill & Tommy Law owners.
  • 1872 Sale of Pool Bank land by Aysgouth Fawkes
  • 1878 Benjamin Whitaker & Sons Ltd purchase part of Pool Bank Quarries
  • 1911 Stone seen to be called Bramley Fall Stone
  • 1917 Quarries close. Plant and machinery sold.
  • 1923 Quarry operates again. Whitaker’s change name to B. Whitaker & Son (1923) Ltd.
  • c. 1939 Pool Bank Quarries close.
  • 1957 First notice for the filling in of the southern quarry was made by Leeds Corporation.

The exact date when these quarries began to be excavated is not known but Poole Manor Court Rolls reveal that in 1674 William Mirfeild was fined 15/- for digging out stone from Pool Common to build a house in Leathley without permission from Everyld Thornhill, Lady of the Manor of “Poole & Kirskill”. The Award map of 1774 shows the quarry off Old Pool Bank. It also names the road known now as Old Pool Bank as Bradford Road and Sandy Lobby as Baxtongate Road. The Tythe map of 1849 states “Old Quarry is unoccupied”. By 1847 the O.S. map indicates three areas having sandstone quarries on Pool Bank. The quarry to the south of the A660 expanded after the sale of land by Aysgouth Fawkes on 30th Aug. 1872. The sale notes stated, “This lot contains, moreover, important Beds of Free stone”. The Fawkes family stipulated that any quarry workings were to remain out of sight of Farnley Hall, and Caley Hall their properties.. The combined quarries became known as Pool Bank Quarries. Around 1808 Turner made a pencil drawing of the southern quarry showing workmen in operation.

Wharfedale Viaduct – c. 1846

The quarry operating from the south side of the A660 was owned by James Bray. He was contractor to the building of the Arthington Viaduct and owner of Pool Bank quarry in 1846. James Bray provided stone for the interior of Bramhope tunnel and the building of Arthington Viaduct, known then as “Wharfdale Viaduct”. This was in readiness for the opening in 1849 of the Leeds and Thirsk Railway Line. It had been estimated that in excess of 50,000 tons of stone would be used. The 21 arches to each span 60 feet with the length of the viaduct to be 1510 feet. The foundation stone was laid on 31st March 1846 by Henry Cooper Marshall, Chairman of the Leeds and Thirsk Railway. Construction workers were paid between 20s. and 24s. a week with miners earning 6s. a day. (see “Pool-in-Wharfedale railway)

Quarrying for the stone was not without its problems. In 1852 James Bray became involved in what was to be a nine year dispute concerning the condition of the stretch of road outside the Pool Bank quarry resulting in a threat of court proceedings. The trustees of the Leeds-Otley Turnpike Trust Road (A660), built in 1841, claimed that quarrying activities and repeated crossing of the road from the quarry to spoil heaps, on the northern downhill side of the road, had caused slippage on a section of the new road and a “ full scale avalanche was imminent”. An agreement was reached on 11th October 1859 with the Trustees of the road paying Bray £8 per year for the upkeep of the road. However this settlement was short lived. The dispute continued and it was not until 1861 that the road was repaired to the satisfaction of the Trustees.

In 1867 Billy Law and his son, Tommie, were owners of the quarry. In 1881, William Law owned 34 acres of farm land and stone, employing 19 men and 4 boys, at this time working the quarry alongside Whitakers, until, according to house deeds, in 1889 an addition to the quarry was purchased by Whitakers from William Law. According to A Short History of Pool-in-Wharfedalel written in 1929 by the Rev. G.H. Mercer, vicar of the village, there were many stories told of Billy and Tommie Law, Horner Bradley and other quarrymen and how the villagers feared them. In 1924, at the age of 15, Ernest Longfield became an apprentice mason with Benjamin Whitaker and Sons Ltd. at the Pool Bank Quarries. Memories of the Law’s were still strong as during his interview with Otley museum in 1981, his comments were, “Older quarrymen said William Law was a real old character by all accounts”.

Part of the quarry was purchased by Benjamin Whitaker & Sons Ltd for £57,000 in 1878. Eventually they owned all the quarries and operated a brick works within the upper quarry on Pool Bank, which was in use in 1900.

In an account of his life in Pool Bank Quarries, held in Otley Museum, Ernest Longfield. Although hard, gritty and porous when newly quarried it increased in strength as time went on, making it almost granite like in endurance.

Stone from the quarry was used in many places, the most memorable was during the re-building of the Houses of Parliament after a fire in 1834. Others included Leeds Town Hall and Parish Church; Otley Civic Centre; Hull Docks; Hull and Barnsley railways; Tilbury Docks, Pool Bridge; Swinsty and Fewston reservoirs; extension of Marine Drive at Scarborough; the Weirmouth Bridge at Sunderland, the chimney at High Royds Hospital; inside the Bramhope Tunnel; Arthington Viaduct; Bar House Row; Far Row and many local houses.

In 1894 seventy-four stones each 7ft 6 inches square and 3 ft thick were sent to Liverpool for the building of a large goods warehouse also 12,000 tons of stone, each stone weighing 13 tons, for Midland railway warehouse in Sheffield. 12/14,000 tons were sent away mostly for the Manchester Ship Canal and Tyne Dock. (Machinery Market 1894. Copy oin Archives )According to The Cambridge University Press in their issue of 1911 on “Building Stones” it states, “Bramley Fall Stone – Millstone Grit from Pool Bank Quarries, Near Otley presented by B. Whitaker & Sons, Horsforth Leeds.”

There are many finely worked old head stones in the graveyard of St. Wilfrid’s church, no doubt carved by skilled masons from the quarry.

The Transportation of Stone

In the early 1800’s immense quantities of Bramley Fall stone was being conveyed to the London area using the rivers Aire and Calder.

On 26th March 1879 the North Eastern Railway agreed to provide a loading stage and crane at Pool-in-Wharfedale railway station to enable Benjamin Whitaker & Sons Ltd of Horsforth to load stone directly at the station. It was opened the following year.

Bogey line abutments in old quarry

The quarry was just under a mile from the railway station and some 300 feet above the railway line. From the quarry to the station was an incline of 650 yards. This incline was negotiated by using gravity; allowing loaded wagons, or bogies, on their way down to pull empty bogies up, normally one at a time, occasionally two or three. Where possible the emptied bogies would be returned loaded with coal to fire the brick works or machinery required at the quarry. This balanced the weight making it easier to control the heavy stone laden bogey going down hill. The operation was controlled by a cable brake drum north of Far Row cottages. In these early days, before a bridge was built over the main A660 it was crossed by the bogey line but at such an angle that a turntable was needed. This was situated to the south of the road near the Bar House. The track then ran parallel with the road to climb into the quarry.

A good day meant twenty trips but it was usually ten. A large piece of stone would be anchored onto a flatbed bogey. “Some of the masons dressed the stone at the station in a masons hut. The stone was loaded into trucks at Pool Station using hand cranes”.- Ernest Longfield. Around 1890 Whitakers improved the route of the track. At the same time a wrought iron girder bridge was built, which spanned the Otley/Leeds road, so connecting the two quarries. Its twenty ton weight was supported by stone built abutments with a centralised pier. These abutments can still be seen either side of the road. Sentinal steam carts, or lorries, were used for Yorkshire deliveries. They had solid tyres, double steering wheels, and were capable of carrying up to five tons at a time.

Quarry Train “Lea”

By 1895 the first steam locomotive “Lea”was a 0-4-OST built by Barclay & Co of Kilmarnock in 1880. It had a maroon livery fully lined out in black. When the boiler tubes began giving trouble it was replaced in 1910 by “Whitaker”.

Quarry Train Whitaker”

“Whitaker” built by W.G. Bagnall of Stafford in 1891, was working on the top section of the quarry. It is described as being an O-4-0 Inverted Saddle Tank type. When it first arrived it was taken up the wrong way round and had to be manually turned to face the correct way. When this exhausting business was over, the boiler was filled with water from barrels brought on drays from the quarry. The train was kept in a small shed in the quarry. Mr Mills is shown seated on the tank at the front of the loco. The driver is holding a “sprag”. This was a short piece of metal or wood used to wedge the spokes of the wagon wheels to stop them moving.

No doubt the more nationwide use of cheaper cement and the onset of WW1 made it difficult for Whitakers to stay in business and local deeds show that around this time many loans were made to the quarry. Pool Bank Quarries closed, with a sale of “Valuable Plant, Machinery, Tools and Effects” being held on 11th Dec. 1917. In December 1917 a sale of Pool Quarry plant and machinery, etc. was held as the quarry closed, until reopening after going into liquidation in 1923.

The engine, “Lea” went via dealer J.F. Wake, to the Mousehold Light Railway, serving a munitions factory near Norwich. By 1919 it had moved to Barnbow Ordnance Factory near Leeds when it was advertised for sale in 1922. .Sentinal steam carts, or lorries, were used for Yorkshire deliveries. They had solid tyres, double steering wheels, and were capable of carrying up to five tons at a time.

The quarry re-opened under the name, B. Whitaker & Son (1923) Ltd.remaining in operation between both World Wars. After finally closing, in May 1941 the A660 road was closed for four hours whilst the bridge over the road, known as “the slide”, was dismantled for scrap. This was used to help in the Second World War effort.

The arrows indicate the Pool Bank Quarry stone dressing shed on Pool-in-Wharfedale Railway Station
The “Slide” over the A660

The more or less level stretch from Far Row to the Quarry was worked by horses until 1895, a distance of about half a mile. The map of 1847 shows a wooded area at the top of Old Pool Bank (road), opposite the bungalows, which still takes the name of Horse Pasture Plantation. Was this where the horses were taken at the end of their working day in the quarry?

A Hard & Dangerous Life

In his diary John Dickinson records, “Wednesday January 5.1881. Off to Pool by 8. Registered two deaths and one birth. The people down at Pool are chiefly poor working people who are dependent on the paper mill and stone quarry and those trades are very bad just now” (“Timble Man – Diary of a Dalesman” by Ronald Harker, Hendon Publishing.)

On the 28th Jan and 11th Feb 1881 the Wharfedale & Airedale Observer reported that Messrs. Whitaker & Son had secured a contract for supplying the stone required in the making of the proposed Hull and Barnsley railway. This contract was understood to provide constant employment for some time to come for about two hundred men at both the Pool and Horsforth quarries.

The stone had a 60% silica content and there was a danger of silicosis. Edward Huddleston, born in 1870, married Helen (Nelly) Slingsby from Gainsborough in 1891. He and his family lived in Pool-in-Wharfedale and for a while he was a postman before joining the quarry. However he contracted silicosis and died at the young age of 34. Nelly then had the threat of her six children being taken from her as it was considered she would be unable to support them. She and her children moved to Guiseley where she washed for two football teams, sold home made lemonade and did any job she could to provide from them. She had bad memories of Pool and never returned nor would she talk about her life there. –, grand-daughter.

In 1924 the rate of pay for a stone mason for a 49 hour week was 12/6d with a 2/6d increase each birthday. Unlike other quarrymen, a mason would not be laid off for bad weather and would be paid for holidays. An apprentice mason was paid 2/6d a week. 49 hours were worked during the summer and 46 hours in winter.

There were tramp quarryman who worked in pairs. New men arriving would be told if there was a vacancy. However if there were no jobs available, the rest of the quarrymen would have a “whip round” to help them on their way. When they were employed they were paid each night. Holmes Whiteley, born in 1888 recalls, “These quarrymen had to work hard, it was a rough job both in the quarry and the brick yard. They were paid a little more than most other trades but the extra was more than offset by them having to stand down during frosty weather. One winter they were off work owing to frost, for thirteen weeks. It was then a gentleman from Park House provided many of them with soup.” Park House was a grand Georgian house in Pool, originally named Plainville, demolished in 2002 by the then owner.

When Ernest Longfield arrived at the quarry in 1924 there were approximately fifty men employed, mostly from Pool, Old Pool Bank and Otley. He tells us how the rock was cut.

In the first instance, Pool Bank had very deep posts. They call ‘em posts – proper name – that’s the depth of the rock: some were as deep as this room. The getters would set off, because as I explained they didn’t do any blasting, and they set off making great big races in the rock with special picks. They’d work on planks like a kind of scaffold making a race right across the rock face. They’d have larger wedges on this first getting position, and they’d make these wedge holes so these wedges used to drive in and bite.

There was also some right fine grass that only grows round the quarry. I used to have to go and gather it, put it in these wedge holes before they lay the wedge in and it helps it to bite – it’s the same thing as oiling bike chains. Then they used to hammer away hours and hours, braying at these big wedges. Two men ’d ‘av a go and then another two would go you see. You’d get this big lift off and then they’d go round to the back where the bearing was, the digging, and jack it over with hand wedges and hand jacks, then eventually to get it free.

The *Derrick Crane was built on a banking that was on the quarry hill. The operator would be situated here and he could get his derrick jib right over to this rock face – and all below of course was a big drop.

Eventually they’d bring it bit by bit using paddies and hooks and slings and bray in these wedges more and more and bring this rock right down into the bottom. When they’d got it into the bottom, they’d cut again into smaller sections by means of wedges and picks called “a bottomer” that bottoms a hole out for them, so that you can put the wedges in. Then it would be lifted by the same Derrick crane onto the hilltop, the man-made area where they did all the shaping. That’s where the **Scrappler came in, got it into handy sizes – some blocks were bigger than others, some could go on the fame saw and some would go on the planing machines.”

* The bases for the Derrick crane’s three legs, some twenty yards apart, can still be seen in a garden at High Ridings, Old Pool Bank.

**A scrappler, a semi-skilled worker, used an 18” long pick with a point on either end. He would swing at the rock constantly for hour after hour forming lines and eventually making a uniform block shape. A good scrappler would make the finished rock look almost like corduroy trousers.

Bogey wheel and tools found in the old quarry

Around 1920 Steve and Peter Wilkinson’s grandfather, Ernest, was in no doubt that he just escaped being killed by a large fall of stone as he left the quarry face to have a drink.

Bracken was collected from the Chevin to be used as a cushion to prevent shattering of the stone whilst it was being quarried. No blasting was done as this caused fissures in the stone, “everything was done by hand, therefore it required tough men.” – Ernest Longfield.

On Feb. 10th 1882 the Wharfedale and Airedale Observer records,

“A remarkable stone. No small amount of interest has been excited by an unusually large stone unearthed at the Pool Bank Quarry belonging to Mr. Wm. Law. The width of the stone is 60ft, its breadth is 44ft. and its depth no less than 30ft, without a crack or flaw. An enormous magnitude of this remarkable stone.

A great number of stone merchants and others in the trade have, during the past few days been to look at it and all declare that they have never before seen a stone of such gigantic proportions. It is calculated that the stone will weigh 6,000 tons. We understand however that the stone is now being actively broken up and large blocks sent off to be used in the making of the docks at Hull.”

The words “Mr. Denton Pool” is written on the front cover of a small Hire Purchase book found in 1999 under boards of a staircase in a cottage on Sandy Lobby. It is understood to have belonged to Ned Denton who worked the turntable situated near the Chain Bar in the old Pool Bank quarry. The book, with calendars for 1887 and 1888 lists goods which had been bought to set up home. These included: Sewing Machine £1.15s.0d.; Couch £1.5s.0d; Four chairs 18s.0d; Oil cloth 6s.6d.; Boots 2s.9d.

Mr Denton hp booklet

A weekly payment of 2s.6d. (14p) was made. (copy in Pool Archives”)

The following extract from Wharfedale & Airedale Observe gives and indication of the dangers of the quarry.

1st Oct.1880 “Accident at Benjamin Whitaker and Sons, quarry. Wagon came down at a furious rate when the belt was not attached correctly. Several masons and railway servants were at work and were naturally alarmed. Fortunately no one was hurt.”

Holmes Whiteley, born in 1888, describes how accidents happened. “Most of the stones were huge blocks to be used in sea wall and engine bed work, sometimes they had accidents when lowering onto these bogies. Often the full bogey would jump the lines and over would go the load, the stone rolling down the hill side.”

And again an extract from the Daily News 7th April 1899:

Pool Boy’s Terrible End in the Machinery. Full report under “Pool-in-Wharfedale Railway”.

Holmes Whiteley born in 1888 in his “Recollection of my Native Village” recalls,

“I remember one of my school pals getting killed by the machinery at the station. He had taken his father’s tea and was playing about when one of the belts caught him.”

And again an extract from the Daily News 7th April 1899:

Pool Boy’s Terrible End in the Machinery. Horace Waugh, a bright, laughing schoolboy, living at the pretty little village of Pool the 12 year old son of a stone mason, named Emmanuel Waugh, was yesterday afternoon the victim of a sad accident. Waugh is employed at Messrs. Whitaker’s yard, immediately opposite Pool station, where he has charge of a stone-planing machine, which is worked by a portable engine.”

His son had visited his father and apparently accidentally leaned on the machine and was caught up in the great cog wheel, badly injuring him. “A messenger who went to Arthington Station to obtain help of the ambulance corps, was fortunate enough to meet a porter going from his work who had been through a course of ambulance instruction.

The Arthington Station Master with two porters, came upon a pilot engine with ambulance appliances with which little Waugh’s injuries were properly bandaged. The boy was then removed to the station and attended to in the waiting-room until the arrival of the 6.30 train, in which he was conveyed to Leeds where he was taken to the Infirmary. His injuries, however, were of such a nature that he could not be expected to recover and he died about 7 this morning.”

The bogey line from the quarry to the railway station ran at the back of Bryn Afon, (Bank House) the home of Miss Whitehead. She had seen him only a few minutes earlier laughing as he went down the line.

Holmes Whiteley born in 1888 in his “Recollection of my Native Village” recalls,

The Leeds Mercury, November 1884. “Accident to a Quarryman. A quarryman named John Hawkridge (49) of Bar House, Pool Bank, near Leeds, is an inmate of the Leeds Infirmary. He was admitted yesterday suffering from a severe scalp wound and a fracture of the left arm, both of which injuries he sustained whilst working in a quarry for Mr. Samuel Whitaker of Horsforth. A number of heavy detached pieces of quarry stone resting lightly on the soil on the brink of the quarry rolled down upon him whilst he was stooping, the pieces having apparently become dislodged by the rain.” He later died of his injuries.

A newspaper of 1890 reports “An accident occurred on Tuesday morning at Pool Bank Quarries. One of the quarrymen named Rodwell Hill was working against a huge crane when this, by some means or other, fell. Hill was knocked down by the fall of the crane and received shocking internal injuries”.

The 1911 census shows there was a cobblers shop which memories recall was primarily making clogs for quarry workers. This was owned by Mr Grange.

During WW2 finding work as a blacksmith became very difficult. Mr. Gill, whose two sons still live in the quarry workers cottages on Quarry Road, Old Pool Bank, came from Leeds and found work at the quarry. Among his many jobs was sharpening axes, pick heads and chisels of various types.

Names of people known to have worked at Pool Bank Quarry: 1841 Joseph Emmet, & Benjamin Greaves. 1871 Abraham & Mark Huddleston, Robert & John Ridealgh;

1886 Benjamin Greaves, a stonemason; c. 1887 Ned Denton, turntable operator; Edward Huddleston; 1899 Emmanuel Waugh, stonemason employed at Pool Station; Bradleys; Almonds; Rhodes. 1891 Frederick Davy of Pool. Between 1910-1912 Joseph Morris-Chippendale of Old Pool Bank. 1920 Ernest Longfield, stonemason; Johnsons; Charlie Gall & Ernest Wilkinson, Pool; Joe Roundhill, W.H. Martin; Townsend. Many more quarry workers are shown on the 1891 census, in fact all but one was a quarryman living at Old Pool Bank.

The Brick Works and Quarry Workers’ Housing

View of Quarry showing brick works

A local newspaper advert. in 1866 asks for tenders to erect at Pool a “Hoffman’s Patent Brick Kiln, with Chimney, etc.” During the building of Arthington Viaduct and Bramhope tunnel in 1845 preparation for making bricks at the rate of 50,000 a week during the winter and twice that number in the summer season was planned. At that time Pool Quarry was owned by James Bray builder of the viaduct and Bramhope Tunnel.

Old Whitaker’s brick from brickworks

A 22 chamber brick kiln was certainly being operated by Whitakers c.1900 within Pool Bank Quarry making use of the clay and a sandy substance which had previously been removed to get at the quarry stone.

Holmes Whiteley recalls “they were not considered a very good brick but had a large sale for underground work and out of sight walls. The price was eighteen shillings per thousand at the quarry, two shillings extra if taken to the railway station.”

Around 1930 some houses on Park Mount and Park Terrace at Old Pool Bank, were provided by Whitakers for the brick workers and their families. Deeds for these houses state a right of way must be allowed to maintain the water pipes and tramway, no quarrying or manufacturing of bricks to take place.

Around 1880 a house called Glen Royd was built below Cragg View on Leeds Road A660. Frank Whitaker, a member of the quarry owning family, lived there in 1909. It was demolished c.1960 apparently due to subsidence.

Many houses were built for the quarry workers. The census of 1891 shows all but one of these cottages were occupied by quarry men. On Quarry Road, the main service road off Leeds Road, on the left of which was the quarry masters house, whilst opposite were three cottages (now as one). Memories also recall a cobblers wooden hut stood at the bottom of Quarry Road where workers would take their clogs to be made and repaired. Groves Terrace, originally wooden bungalows, were demolished in 1939 and rebuilt as seen today.

Other cottages built for quarry workers were Cragg View, Leeds Road built c.1880, Bar House Row, built c.1879 using stone from Fairy Dell quarried from the bottom part of Old Pool Bank Quarry. Far Row was built c.1876 also Valley View. Sandy Lobby c. 1887, the end house overlooking the valley was for the quarry foreman. The deeds of some cottages on Sandy Lobby state that the road should only be used for quarry traffic. As late as 1950 there was a gate leading into the quarry from Sandy Lobby.

To-day’s view of Far Row –original quarry workers’ cottages within the old Pool Bank quarry

In 1907 when Allison Tankard planned the building of Wharfe View in Pool-in-Wharfedale village, his intention was that he would let the houses to quarry workers and make a weekly rental charge of 3s.6d.

The Old Quarry Workers’ Cabin becomes a Chapel

Sunday School outside the Chapel in 1930.

A stone cabin was on Cabin Road situated to the west of Far Row within the old quarry, the foundations of which can still be seen. This had been used by the quarry workers for meals. During the 1880’s, when no longer needed, and with the agreement of B. Whitaker & Sons Ltd, it was used as a Wesleyan Chapel, also by the Church of England, Plymouth Brethren and the Salvation Army, later doubling up as a village hall for the residents of Old Pool Bank. Chapel services, Parish Council meetings, polling and, during WW2, the issue of ration books and gas masks, all taking place there. After the building of a new village memorial hall at Old Pool Bank officially opening in 1952, it became unused and demolished in 1956. The Whitakers were all prominent workers for the Church donating land for building Woodside Methodist Church.

Extract from Wharfedale and Airedale Observer. “8th Feb. 1894. “Pool Bank Wesleyan Tea and Meeting. The Wesleyans at Pool Bank held a tea and meeting on Wednesday evening last in the “cabin” which is used by them as a meeting room. The number present in the evening being so large as to render the place uncomfortable thus demonstrating the need of a larger place of worship.”

The following accounts of the Chapel renovation and enlargement were found in the Wharfedale and Airedale Observer:

“19th Oct. 1894 Pool Bank Wesleyan Methodist Society; reopening of the “Cabin”. A much needed improvement at the cabin on Pool Bank where the Wesleyan Methodists have, for a considerable time held services, have been completed. The building has been enlarged, the walls plastered and colour washed, the ceiling raised, boarded and varnished and the building now has a very comfortable and pleasing appearance. On Saturday a public tea was held and a large number partook of the excellent repast provided.

A public meeting was subsequently held, presided by B. Whitaker of Horsforth. He announced that the firm of Messrs. B. Whitaker and Sons Ltd would send a donation of £10 towards the cost of renovation and continued by stating that he himself would give a further sum of £5, with certain conditions. “We are notified that the conditions named have since been complied with. The total cost of the alterations amounting to £73.2.7d. leaving a small sum of £18.9.10d. owing, which is a satisfactory state of affairs.”

Sale of Pool Quarry

The Disused Quarries find other Uses

After the closure of the quarry and brick works the area was used in various ways during WW2. Broken bricks from the brick works, which had been disposed of in a pit, were removed and used as hardcore for the base of the Avro factory being built at Yeadon. The sides of the quarry were some 300 ft. high and Mrs. Doreen Singleton, whose father worked at the brick works, recalls Canadian soldiers from Farnley Camp trained there . They used the quarry face for climbing and absailing.

Extracts from “Home Guard in Pool” by Kendal Newby reads:-

“I also recall being taken up Pool Bank to the old quarry. In the quarry a barricade of tin sheets had to be erected and set up with the officers in charge. We stood behind the tin sheets, then in our turn, we went up to the officer in charge. He gave us our instructions. We were there to learn how to throw hand grenades.

They were Mills hand grenades, so we went one by one up to the tin shields where we were shown the grenades, which are pear shaped with a lever held down by a pin, which when pulled out, released the pressure on the lever, so when you threw the grenade the lever came off and you had just five or six seconds to duck before the grenade went off. I can’t remember how far mine went but shouts of “Duck” rang out as the grenade went off. It was all taken very seriously.” The slogan was “Look, chuck, duck!”.

The future infill of the Pool Bank Quarry site south of the A660 by Leeds Corporation was first mentioned in the minutes of the Pool Bank Residents Association in 1957. It was later completely filled with household waste and has now returned to be part of Pool Bank.

The remains of Old Pool Bank quarry workings make an interesting and picturesque walk with wonderful views over Wharfedale from the elevated area named “Spion Kop”. There is a fine fossilised tree trunk, fossilised root called a “stigmari” and many more small examples of branches of a tree, thought to be a Lepidodendron. They are fossilised remains of an ancient forest approximately 280 million years old. The trees resembled gigantic Christmas trees. These can be found amongst the spoil heaps just below Far Row cottages. During a survey made by the architectural historian, Peter Thornborrow in 2005, a suggestion was made that because of the many fossils found in the old quarry it could be designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Fossilised tree root – Stigmaria

In September 2009 the majority of the village of Pool-in-Wharfedale, including the sie of the old Pool Bank quarry was officially designated a Conservation Area by Leeds City Council.

Map of Pool Bank Quarries in the late 1920’s.
“View in Pool Quarries, showing Some of theMachinery and Face of the Rock” Machinery Market 1894