29th May 2018
Bramley has many hidden treasures and secrets. Bramley Park is lovely open space on a summer’s day with many people not realising it hides an underground reservoir. The park is home to Bramley’s spectacular firework display on Bonfire Night, which because of the altitude can be seen from miles around. It is also the venue for Bramley’s annual carnival.
Bramley Falls Wood is a densely wooded nature area that is sandwiched by Fall Park on one side and the Leeds to Liverpool Canal, on the other. The woods are home to an array of flora and fauna and the park offers sports pitches, tennis courts, a children’s playground, bowling green, picnic areas and the War Memorial and Rose Garden.
Bramley Baths is lucky to be a treasure we can still enjoy today, thanks to the efforts of local residents fighting to prevent its demolition or change of use. It’s the last remaining Edwardian era bath-house in Leeds. It had a gymnasium, Russian steam room and 25-yard pool which they used to cover over for dances on a weekend – Virgin and Puregym are not new concepts! It’s now a Grade II listed building and still has a beautifully restored pool, steam rooms, exercise classes (Zumba, spin, aerobics, Tai Chi, etc) and a gymnasium, and is well supported by both local residents and those from farther afield.
Famous people who have come from this part of Leeds include the late Ernie Wise (Morcambe and Wise fame) who was born in Atlanta Street on the border of Bramley and Stanningley. If it wasn’t for one Robert Haywood Jones of Bramley – a war veteran noted on the War Memorial in Fall Park) – we would never have heard such songs as ‘Life on Mars’, ‘Starman’ and ‘Space Oddity’; Robert Jones was David Bowie’s paternal grandfather.
Thinking of Major Tom, another famous ‘Major’ out of Bramley was the Commando and SAS member, Major John Geoffrey Appleyard DSO, MC and BAR. Major Appleyard’s fame followed as a consequence of ‘Operation Basalt’ which he led on the island of Sark. His raid outraged Hitler so much Hitler responded by issuing the infamous Kommandobefehl (Commando Order) stating that all captured British commandos were to be shot on sight. Major Appleyard’s three investitures in 11 months resulted in the King exclaiming, “What, you again?”.
The Leeds-Bradford train line stops at Bramley, providing excellent commuting to both cities with 3 trains per hour Monday to Saturday (correct at time of going to print) with some trains regularly continuing on to Halifax and Manchester Victoria. The original 1854 station in Bramley was closed in 1966 following the Beeching Report (Ernie Wise’s father was a Railway Lamp Man and probably worked at the station when Ernie was born) but the current station was opened in 1983 and although unmanned provides an excellent service to the Bramley community.