A Visit to Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills
*Sponsored blog by Leeds Museums and Galleries
Have you ever visited Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills before? Until last week I hadn’t either… and if you’re deciding whether to make a trip, here’s what to expect when you go!
Getting to Leeds Industrial Museum
Leeds Industrial Museum is based at Armley Mills, right on the Leeds-Liverpool canal. I’ve seen the brown tourist signs for Armley Mills lots of times, so can’t believe I’ve not visited! There’s a fairly large car park on Canal Road, and from there just a short walk to the entrance.
Inside Leeds Industrial Museum
The museum is HUUUUUUUUGE! Perhaps not surprising given this was once the world’s largest woollen mill, but for me unexpected! There’s currently a one way system in place, which does involve going up and down floors. There are lifts in the museum, but I’d recommend trying it without any pushchairs to be honest. Almost all the exhibits are indoors, making this place a good choice for rainy days (and pre-booking is not required).
The Tool Trail
For young children, a tool trail is available to follow- something that guarantees Jess’s approval. Around the museum spot the tools and mark them off your sheet. At the end of the tour you can claim a badge and certificate (we didn’t actually spot all the tools, but those friendly people at the museum gave us a badge anyway!)
The Textiles Gallery
The city of Leeds is said to have been built on wool, and the size of the mill is testament to that great Industry. Inside the Textiles Gallery you can see the full process of wool manufacturing. Jess was amazed at the size of the machinery, and one of the super friendly staff explained to us (socially distancing!) how the wool was processed through the various equipment on display. Information about the workers and conditions in the mill was provided too, so lots of opportunity for learning!
Media in the Mill
This gallery has a range of cameras, photography equipment, projectors and printing presses. Slightly concerned when I was trying to explain to Jess how the printing press worked that she asked ‘What’s a Newspaper?’!!! In this area is also the Palace Picture House; one of the smallest 1920s cinemas in the world! Sadly you can’t sit in the cinema at the moment but you can still pop inside to take a look and they should be showing film reels from the archives. They often screen family favourites in there and it’s only £9 for a family ticket. Hopefully that will start up again next year.
Engines at Leeds Industrial Museum
There are LOTS of engines to look at if you have any Engine loving children. Perhaps the most impressive is the 1887 Mill Engine (that powered the Mill and is still in working order). Jess’s favourite was the 1891 Steam Fire Engine- although her love for Fireman Sam may have swayed her on this!
Outside the Mill
Whilst the museum is a great place for a rainy day, hopefully you’ll get to enjoy some of the outside space too! Have a look on the centre pages of the site map at the variety of outside objects and get exploring. There are some lovely picnic benches to enjoy, and make sure that you visit the Colour Garden where they are growing exmaples of plants used in natural dyeing.
There’s no play area at the museum, but you just need to pop across the little footbridge adjacent to the picnic area to access Cardigan Fields, which has not only a play area but a wide selection of restaurants, bar and leisure facilities.
Hopefully that gives you a good overview of what to expect! There is a lot to see, and a lot to learn- it’s such an impressive location too!
If you go for a visit make sure to tag Mumbler on your social media for us to share!!