The second part of our history walk around Rodley, compiled by MARK STEVENSON. Yesterday saw a walk down historic Rodley Town Street, today we go back down the canal…
If you find the Rodley Barge Pub just off of Town Street and walk down Canal Road you will eventually come to Rodley Bridge on your right. The bridge is a swing bridge and there has been a bridge here since the late 1700’s.
It is not a high bridge but it is worth taking in the view and it also gives you a chance to get your bearings.
If you walk across the bridge and turn right and always keep the canal on your right you can’t go wrong.
If you look across to the barges you can see a ghost sign on the wall of the Wharfe that reads ‘Walrus’. I always imagine this as the Captain of a Barge claiming his parking place as it was a busy area for barges back in the day.
The first building you will notice is Wharfe Cottage which is listed and dates back to the 1700’s as does every building on this walk.
In 1911 it was a shop run by a Lillie Gott. Her family had lived there for the best part of a hundred years. Apparently, she was a woman ‘not to be messed with’.
Next is the Barge Pub which is also listed. It was built in the late 1700’s and originally called the Three Horse Shoes. Like many other pubs of this age, it was used as a morgue until someone claimed the body. Many bodies were found in the canal and the nearby river. It would be interesting to know which room they used.
There is now a gap between the Barge Pub and the next building but this was not always the case. It was once a house, Blacksmiths and a Wharfe.
The next building along is again a late 1700’s listed building which is thought to have been a warehouse and offices for the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Company.
As you may have guessed the late 1700’s was a bit of a boom time for building in Rodley. All to do with the arrival of the canal. This long low listed building with the crosses on was in the 1840’s a Malt Kiln, owned by a Sarah Mathers.
The next five houses were occupied by a John Dawson and others on land owned by a John Wheater.
The sixth house up from the long low building (Malt Kiln) which sticks out a little bit from the rest was a Beer House occupied by Elizabeth Dawson and Others on land owned by the executors of Samuel Holliday.
Next up from the Beer House were two cottages, the first of which was a Bank in 1911 facing onto Rodley Town Street.
Living in the same building were Anthony Garratt, aged 68, along with his wife Maria, aged 90. They were married for 40 years.
After the two cottages are four houses (the house numbers have changed over the years) but both cottages and houses were on land owned by a Rachael Hardaker and occupied by Joseph Marshall and others.
It is thought that the cottages and houses replaced earlier dwellings as the date ‘1690’ is said to be painted on the eaves boarding of one.
After the houses, you can see a modern grey building. This was once the site of a travelling crane that would load and offload the barges.
Carry on walking along the canal towpath and you will come to another swing bridge called Moss Bridge. This bridge might have been built when Airedale Mills opened in the 1860’s as it is not on any earlier maps.
If you nip across it you can see the remains of a weighting machine on it what is now a car park.
Check out the map of your route for both walks here.
Read more of Mark’s History columns chronicling the history of West Leeds here.