Bramhope Tunnel’s Vision of Irish Sacrifice


The monumental efforts and ultimate sacrifices of Irish navvies bought in to construct the Bramhope rail tunnel in north Leeds in the mid 19th century should not be forgotten.


That’s the view of Phil Mone, director of Morley-based quarrying and recycling firm Mone Brothers, who explained: “A total of 24 men lost their lives in the construction of the 2 mile long tunnel that is now Grade II listed. A monument recreating the tunnel’s north entrance and plaque sit in the courtyard of All Saints Church in Otley commemorating their efforts.


“Anyone taking a train between Leeds and Harrogate would do well to consider their sacrifices. The 24 men did not die in vain and their hard work resonates today.


“It was a massive undertaking at the time when it was built between 1845 and 1849, a golden era in the development of the railway network. Built on behalf of the Leeds and Thirsk Railway company, the tunnel links Horsforth with the lower Wharfedale valley.


“Over 2000 navvies and 400 horses involved in the back breaking, extensive excavations and construction work for a tunnel that eventually came in way over budget at £2 million, £200 million in today’s money.


“The tunnel cut through shale, clay and the distinctive Bramley Fall sandstone found at our nearby Blackhill Quarry.


“As someone with a strong and established links with construction across the region I believe we should never forget the sacrifices of those who perished whilst helping to create our architectural landscape,” concluded Phil.




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