Garforth Miners' Welfare Hall - a proud history

Garforth Miners Welfare Hall was built in 1924. The miners themselves paid for the building from their wages.

The land, which had been a playing field, was given by the Gascoigne family, the mine owners.

The hall was run at that time by the Garforth Miners Institute, with a committee whose names are recorded on a brass plaque in the entrance hall.

The Hall was used for many activities such as plays, concerts, dances and other musical entertainment. There was a very popular boxing club and the changing rooms were used by a football club that played on the Rec. Upstairs there was the billiard room with two tables.

The Miners Institute also gave an opportunity for education, with a small library for the miners to use and rooms for discussions and meetings.

Although mining for coal in the pits in Garforth disappeared in the late 20's and early 30's, miners still lived in Garforth and travelled to pits such as Micklefield, Ledston Luck, Peckfield and others.

Over the years the ownership of the deeds of the Hall passed from the Miners Institute to the National Coal Board, to the Coal Industry Social and Welfare Organisation, to Garforth Council and lastly to Leeds City Council. A covenant in those deeds states that the Hall shall be available for the community of Garforth as a social centre, for ever. Although ownership has changed the Hall has continued to serve its purpose and is today a thriving community centre.

Today the Hall is leased by Leeds City Council to the Garforth Community Association - GCA.

This is a registered charity with an entirely voluntary committee of trustees, all Garforth residents.

GCA is responsible for the upkeep of the interior of the building, as well costs of heating and lighting, furniture, cleaning, insurance, licensing and all the other administrative demands that exist today.

GCA's income comes from hiring the various rooms to local people for all the activities that go on. There is a policy that hire charges will be kept as low as possible for the benefit of the community.

For any bona fide local charity wishing to raise funds the Hall is generally available free of charge on a Saturday morning.

GCA is non profit making and puts maximum income back into renovations, equipment or improvements. It maintains only a minimum bank balance to cover essential foreseeable costs.

Anyone who would like to help or perhaps become a trustee would be welcome.

At the beginning of 2007 Councillor Tom Murray opened an extension to the Hall. This was funded by Leeds City Council and was a joint project with them and GCA. This extension provides greater access for wheelchair users, a disabled access toilet, an improved kitchen facility and greater storage capacity.

Although the way we live has changed hugely and the town of Garforth is very different from 1924, the Garforth Miners Welfare Hall is still at 52 Main Street serving as a very busy attractive popular venue where all are welcome.