QUARRYING has a long history in Guiseley and the surrounding area.

These fabulous photographs from Aireborough Historical Society show some of the quarries and some of the people who worked in them.

The images give a fascinating insight into the industry in Guiseley, Rawdon and Yeadon a century and more ago.

Some of the photographs show Moor Lane Quarry in Guiseley- also known as Reddiough’s, or Riddiough’s Quarry. Others show Whitelands Quarry in Rawdon.

In a picture from Moor Lane in 1920 we can see that horses and carts were still in use.

The AHS website says:”There were many quarries around Aireborough, the stone was used to build houses and mills.

“It is said that stone from a Guiseley quarry was used in the construction of the Houses of Parliament.

“This is Reddiough’s quarry on Moor Lane, a steam crane is in use with horses and carts to transport the blocks of stone.”

In an undated photograph at the same quarry a group of workers and two children pose in front of a crane. Another shows workers in the quarry, with stone in various stages of preparation, from uncut blocks to dressed pieces.

A photograph at Moor Top Quarry, taken in 1927, shows quarrymen and stonemasons sitting and standing on quarried stone. Among those picture (second from the left on the front row) is Alfred Baldwin.

Another photograph at Moor Top Quarry also shows a stonemason called Alfred Baldwin. this image was taken in 1890 so it is feasible that the two could be father and son.

The AHS website says: “Quality stone had been quarried in the area for centuries. There are records of stone being transported to Ackworth in the late 12th century for building.”

Wonderful photographs from Whitelands Quarry in Rawdon are also undated. they show a crane with driver, the steep side of the quarry and a young boy - George Hardcastle - standing on a piece of machinery.

The stone from Whitelands is thought to have been used in the construction of many local houses.

Although stone from Guiseley is reputed to have been used in some way for Parliament the main stone used in construction came from another Yorkshire Quarry.

The UK Parliament website says: "The Palace of Westminster was built with a sand-coloured limestone from the Anston Quarry in Yorkshire. In 1839, a committee including the architect Charles Barry, two leading geologists and a stone carver toured the country looking at quarries and buildings. Anston stone was chosen because it was cheaper and could be supplied in blocks up to four feet thick and lent itself to elaborate carving.

"However, the stone quickly began to decay as a result of atmospheric pollution from coal burning in London and the poor quality of the material used. Although these defects in the choice of stone were visible as early as 1849, very little was done to prevent its decline during the 19th century. Barry himself experimented with various compositions on the stone and believed that the decay had been halted.

"During the 1920s, it was clear that something had to be done, especially when a large fragment fell off the Victoria Tower and members on the Terrace were advised to sit near the river rather than underneath the main wall of the building. In 1928, it was deemed necessary to use Clipsham stone, a honey-coloured limestone from the Medwells Quarry in Rutland, to replace the decayed Anston. A restoration project began in the 1930s, but it was brought to a halt during the Second World War and was completed only in 1960."

The fascinating story of how stone was hewn from the Pennine slopes in Yorkshire over hundreds of years is explored by geographer and landscape archaeologist David Johnson in his wide-ranging book published in 2016 - Quarrying in the Yorkshire Pennines, An Illustrated History.

Until relatively recently hundreds of mostly men were still working hewing stone from the Yorkshire Fells. It was an industry crucial to the development of Yorkshire as a hub of the industrial revolution and these men were at the centre of the growth the West Riding cities, towns and villages including at that time, Skipton.