Leeds nostalgia: Temple Newsam ‘scalped’ by huge opencast mining operation in 1975

YEP pic dated 1975 showing  mining around Temple Newsam, Leeds
YEP pic dated 1975 showing mining around Temple Newsam, Leeds
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Temple Newsam House was surrounded by a wasteland, effectively scalped thanks to an open coal mine on the estate.

The YEP reported it was “not the prettiest of neighbours” but the National Coal Board told visitors to the historic house not to panic, adding that the slag heaps would be gone in two years.

Indeed, the open cast coalfield was scheduled to close at the end of 1976, with the landscaping completed by 1977.

The site was said to have six seams of coal, some as deep as 180ft - in July 1975, it was down to the last 500,000 tons.

Despite the 970-acre site being donated to Leeds City Council in 1922 on the grounds it be used “as a public park”, the open-cast mining operation had been in place since 1943. Although Leeds councillors put up a strong opposition, the Ministry of Fuel and Power forcibly requisitioned the land from Leeds on September 1, 1942 and again on July 21, 1945.

One monstrous crane towered three storeys high, built in the US and made for scraping away topsoil, it had three men operating it and was called ‘The 600’.

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