Treasures of the Leeds Industrial Museum Store


Model Hunslet Engine Company
The store at Leeds Industrial Museum is packed with intriguing artefacts. Our Industrial History curators are still investigating many of the stories behind them. Last week, I had a behind the scenes tour with Curator John McGoldrick.
Enclosed inside a secure cage, is a huge space filled with shelving, drawers and curious objects from a massive wooden early locomotive wheel pattern to cinema projectors through the ages. This eclectic collection encompasses the range of Leeds industries past and present.
Technical drawings from the
Leeds Industrial Museum Store
Tiny scale models are dotted around the store – from the Crown Point Bridge to a tiny re-imagined Armley Mills, as well as dozens of working machines. Among my favourite items was a tiny replica of an engine made in Hunslet. Did you know that steam locomotives are still made in Leeds? The Hunslet Engine Company was founded in 1864 and is still making new steam locomotives today, as part of the LH Group.
Wallpaper printing blocks
Inside rows of drawers are a wealth of plans, many of which tell the story of Armley Mills and reveal something of the people who once worked here. Alongside machine designs, we uncovered technical drawing tests used to try the skills of new employees.
A whole series of shelves are filled with large wooden wallpaper printing blocks. Each one is covered with a different pattern, which would once have adorned rooms all over the country.
The printing industry has been going in Leeds since John Hirst began printing the Leeds Mercury in 1718, and the Industrial Museum has a great deal of related paraphernalia. 
I was fascinated by a Monotype typesetting keyboard. This triple QWERTY keyboard has three layers, with lower case letters, capitals and heading letters. Typesetters used these machines to create tapes of text, feeding them into a caster which formed the individual metal letters into columns of text ready to print.
Monotype typesetting keyboard
With National Mills Weekend starting this Saturday, the curators have been selecting some special items to go on display at the event (see our website for more details).

John will be demonstrating steam power using some of the scale models in the collection.

You can watch a short demonstration of an 1/12th scale model of a beam engine, made by E J Szlumper via the You Tube video below.

Do you have a story to tell from Leeds’ industrial past? We’d love to hear from you! Why not share a story in the comment facility below, via Facebook or email us?

Follow us on Instagram @leedsmuseumsandgalleries to see more behind the scenes images of Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills!
By Jen Newby, Digital Media Assistant

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