Tuesday, 9 August 2016


The towpath of the Leeds Liverpool Canal is a popular place for getting exercise, I was only walking but this twosome passed me more energetically on their morning run . You may be thinking, as I did, that the building they are running past must have been a rather grand lock keepers cottage, especially as a local description calls it being built in the Edwardian neo Baroque style.
As I step on to the Strangford Swing Bridge a more industrial view looms into view to the left
with some sturdy stone gate posts at the entrance.   At this moment the gates started to glide open
to let a Yorkshire Water van exit the site.  Too good an opportunity to miss I clicked the view inside before the gates closed.  So no lock keepers cottage but a cluster of early 20th century buildings.  This is Esholt Sewage Works which in past times must have been the only profit making sewage works in the country, living up to the Yorkshire expression, "where there's muck there's brass", ie money.  The opportunity was the large amount of rich wool grease (lanolin) waste produced by the wool industry in nearby Bradford.  In Esholt it was turned into lubricants for train axles and indeed was used on the national rail system until just after the second world war.  Of course that was not the only thing that happened here, it did not get called the Esholt Pong for nothing. The human organic matter was reprocessed into cakes and used as fertiliser.  All this was transported around the site, at its peak, by 22 miles of rail track and 11 locomotives which did not run on coal but on the waste product. The ultimate recycling site way before its time
  People even came to take a tour around the site behind one of the little engines. Standing room only!
Perhaps they came over this now disused railway bridge which linked the massive Esholt site.  Esholt Sewage Works closed in 1977 but the photographer Ian Beesley worked there in the latter years before his work mates, who he took photographs of, encouraged him to go to art college. Some of  those photographs can be seen here

In the present day a recent multi million pound bio energy scheme and waste water treatment plant doesn't make money but saves it and boasts of being energy neutral in Esholt.   

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at E here 


Leslie: said...

Do you live near Liverpool or Leeds? I was there for a couple of days this summer and stayed at Albert Dock so I could do the hop on/hop off tour and then met up with Diane Westwell (on here) for dinner! Next time, we should meet for a chat! Let me know although it'll probably be a year or so before another visit! I LOVE England and Wales!

abcw team

Amit Agarwal said...

Thoughtful captures! I loved the loco:)

Melody Steenkamp said...

A wonderful walk through many different scenes.... What strkes me the most is the photo with the old building and the modern day cars parked beside it

Have a nice ABC-W-day / - week
♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

Roger Owen Green said...

Love the train.


Leslie: said...

Hi again Joy! Got your comment and would love to add the Lake District to my next adventure. I remember almost 20 years ago taking my daughter on a tour of England and we ended up there in pouring drenching rain! We spent the entire time huddling in a café drinking tea to keep warm and dry. Hopefully, next time I'll be able to see something of the area! As I said, it won't be for at least a year or two, but something to keep in mind if we're both still here on ABCW - to meet up somewhere for lunch or something like that. *smile*

Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA said...

It sounds like a fascinating place to visit, and the train looked like fun. Blessings!

carol l mckenna said...

What a great post and lovely photos ~ Very fascinating that they recycled long before it became popular ~ Thanks for visiting ~ ^_^

Wishing you a Happy Weekend coming up ~

Trubes said...

Hi Joy, such an interesting post and like Roger, I too
like the train. I have a fascination with canals and appreciate how valuable they were in the ages of productivity.
I've often dreamed of taking an canal barge holiday but husband doesn't fancy having to deal with all the locks. I wouldn't be much help, being a wheelchair user, I'd probably end up taking a splash!

Best wishes,
ABCW team.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

I enjoyed reading your post. Lots of good history to take note of.