Mark’s History: How Bramley’s McLaren Fields got its name

mclaren grave
Photo: Mark Stevenson

The street McLaren Fields in Bramley is not so called because of the rugby ground that once stood there where Bramley Rugby Football Club once played, writes Mark Stevenson.

It’s because of after years of asking Edith McLaren, she finally let Bramley Rugby Club have the land they had been after on the condition they named any development on the land after her.

Although she did make them wait until she died in 1958 when she bequeathed the field to the club.

The McLaren family gravestone. Photo: Mark Stevenson

Edith’s father in law was John McLaren. John did not have much of a connection with West Leeds other than the fact that he was to become Chairman of the Board of Management of the first National Ordnance Factories.

Two of which were in West Leeds. National Ordnance Factory 4 was in Armley. The other National Ordnance Factory 5 in Newlay.

John’s son Henry has more of a connection than his father as he actually lived in West Leeds at Rossefield (spelt Rossfield on his gravestone), which was a big house with a large garden and land adjoining it (the land the Rugby Club wanted).

Rossefield Parade, Bramley. Photo: Mark Stevenson

Rossefield Parade now stands on the site of Rossefield House and the surrounding streets may well be named after it.

John’s company J and H McLaren at the Midland Engine Works on Jack Lane in Hunslet were one of the great engineering companies of Leeds. John was knighted for his company’s efforts during World War 1 and Henry also distinguished himself during the war. Henry went on to become a Director of his father’s company. 

McLaren’s built Britain’s first diesel powered road roller in 1927 using their own engine. Also, they are said to have invented the traction-centre engine for driving steam-powered fairground roundabouts.

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  1. I love the History from Mark and others. I remember the Rugby Club. In fact we had our wedding reception there after the marriage in St Peters Church. That was back in the 1980’s.


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