This month sees the 170th anniversary of the opening of the Bramhope Tunnel, and a new film and book are set to pay tribute to the thousands of navigators (or navvies) who worked in horrendous conditions to build the rail link between north Leeds and North Yorkshire.
The 60-page book What Lies Beneath has been written as part of a research project by Angela Leathley of the Otley Conservation Taskforce. It covers the hard and dangerous life of navvies during the rapid expansion of the railways in the 19th century. Available to buy for £5 from Otley Core, all proceeds will go towards future maintenance of Otley’s Navvies Memorial (pictured) on Church Lane. An accompanying exhibition of research materials will be available to view in various locations throughout July.
Otley-based Catapult Films, meanwhile, has produced the 30-minute documentary The Navvies Who Built The Bramhope Tunnel. Featuring footage from inside the tunnel, it includes interviews with local historians, Geoffrey Forster, Barbara Winfield and Neil Simpson, as well as contributions by Otley musicians Serious Sam Barrett and Greg Mulholland from the Summercross.
The film will be screened at two events to mark the 170th anniversary of the opening of the tunnel and the building of Otley’s Navvies Memorial.
Otley Parish Church
19.30 Saturday July 13, 2019
This screening will follow a re-dedication of the Navvies Memorial and will be followed by a chance to view all the printed material
19.30 Friday July 26, 2019
Tickets for both events are available from Otley Town Council’s offices on Orchard Gate and are priced £4 for adults and £3 for concessions. All monies raised will be used for ongoing maintenance of the memorial.