Leek: Local History In Old Photos & Film

The market town of Leek is in the English county of Staffordshire. It’s about 10 miles (or 16 kilometres) north east of Stoke-on-Trent, next to the River Churnet, and has easy access to excellent walking terrain in the Peak District National Park.

A Brief History Of Leek

In 1207, the right to hold a weekly Wednesday market and an annual seven-day fair in Leek, Staffordshire, was grated to Ranulph de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester, by King John. Then in 1214, the borough received a Royal Charter.

The town has a coat of arms made up of a Saltire Shield. The Stafford Knot sits at the top, on either side is the Leek “Double Sunset”, then a gold garb is placed at the bottom. The crest is a mural crown with three Mulberry leaves on a Mount of Heather. Finally is added a Moorcock, which rests its claw on a small-weave shuttle. The motto ‘ARTE FAVENTE NIL DESPERANDUM’ means ‘Our skill assisting us, we have no cause for despair’.

Today the town is home to the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council. Although it’s no longer known for its textile industry, the stone-cobbled market square and historic buildings preserve its sense of tradition and history.

In particular, Leek’s connection with the Arts & Crafts movement is remembered through the local buildings that William Morris lived and worked in during the 1870s. He studied and developed printing and dying techniques. In the Parish Church of St Edward the Confessor, you can still view the stained glass designed by Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

Local History Videos

This page lists a collection of old film and old photo montage videos about Leek in Staffordshire, or montages of old photos.

Every video is free to view, but on YouTube please remember to like, subscribe and comment. That helps the people who posted the videos to get a larger audience by pushing them up the video rankings. If you don’t, the algorithm thinks you didn’t enjoy it because the video is no good, and buries it under all the Vlogs and Gamers!

Old Photos Of Leek


Ivorbigunzz: Published on 14 Nov 2006.


Ivorbigunzz: Published on 16 Dec 2007. Past in Pictures & Music.


Ivorbigunzz: Published on 11 Jul 2008. Music and pictures.

Leek In The 1930s

The Leek and Manifold Railway, 1930’s – Film 12074

HuntleyFilmArchives: Published on 12 Aug 2014. The Leek and Manifold Railway, narrow-gauge train. The LMS narrow-gauge railway of the Leek and Manifold Light Railway was opened in 1901 and closed in 1934.  The section filmed is between Waterhouses and Hulme End on the Staffordshire and the west Derbyshire border.

View of scenery in the Manifold Valley.

The film begins with shots of the rivers Hamp and Manifold and a 1930 Austin Car with butterfly radiator cap crossing an unbridged ford.  View of track from the train. The unidentified station is viewed in passing. Passengers boarding. The guard waves a flag from the back of the train.  Details of the locomotives ” E. R. Caltrop ” and ” J.B.Earle ” with American stock. Guard and footplate men. Train departs. Thor’s Cave Halt.  Long scenery shots. More details of train and locomotive. Coming out of Swainsley Tunnel. Final view as the train goes on its way.

A Quaint Little Railway (1930)

BFI: Published on 10 Oct 2008. A Quaint Little Railway (1930)

This short, silent film captures one of Britain’s minor little railways: the Leek and Manifold Light Railway on the Staffordshire Moorlands. The railway opened in 1907, linking the villages of Waterhouses and Hulme End, and was built mainly for agricultural traffic, with a passenger service being a secondary consideration. Its route went through beautiful countryside in Staffordshire, and it is unfortunate that the intertitles state it as being shot in Derbyshire!

“In 1934 the entire line was closed by the North Staffordshire Railway. There is little in the way of recorded film material of this quaint little train, so this gem gives an invaluable insight into the railway.”

Stuart Smith, Midland Railway Centre

North Staffordshire Railway

Rudyard Lake; Published on 27 May 2015. Black & white historic footage.

Leek In The 1940s

New Challenge to Steam , 1940’s – Film 39362

HuntleyFilmArchives: Published on 23 Jul 2014. Leek and Manifold Railway. Quick shot of LMS 6256. Diesel-electric Locomotive No 10000.  Derby to London. Men stand looking at the passing train which was the new challenge to Steam.

Leek In The 1960s

Club Day – Leek – 1963

Johngcrimes1: The Annual Celebration of Sunday Schools in Leek, Staffordshire. July 1963.

Rolls-Royce Farm (1964)

British Pathé: Published on 13 Apr 2014. Leek, Staffordshire.

Racing driver David Scott-Moncrieff lived in Leek with his son Humphrey. Injured and requiring the aid of a stick to walk, he found a new car-related occupation: vintage car restoration.

He obtained old Rolls-Royces from around the country. Some of them were pre-1914 and were bought for parts. He then restored the beautiful vintage cars before selling them to enthusiasts.

leek touttoxeter and the last passenger train from leek

ian burgess: Published on 15 Oct 2010. Leek touttoxeter and the last passenger train from leek  on the 2/1/1965

leek touttoxeter and the last passenger train from leek part 2

ian burgess: Published on 15 Oct 2010. Leek touttoxeter  and the last passenger train from leek on the 2/1/1965

The Nightman’s Morning

whooligan 100: Published on 13 Mar 2013. “A film made by my grandfather Herbert Whatley in the 60s. Filmed in Leek, Staffordshire.”

Leek In The 1970s


marc Gallimore: Published on 18 Sep 2012. Colour footage taken in 1977 of the Pied Poudre Celebrations in Leek, Staffordshire to mark the Queens Silver Jubilee in Derby Street.

Leek Staffordshire 1978 -2018 – in response to Ed Ruscha’s Hollywood Boulevard, 1973 and 2002

Howard Pratt: Published on 21 May 2018. Black and White stills – Rolleiflex Rolleicord V + Schneider Xenar75mm F3.5 TLR film camera. Colour stills – Nikon D600 + 50 f1.8 lens.

Iconic Los Angeles artist Ed Ruscha photographed iconic Los Angeles streets beginning in the 1960s. By mounting a camera to a moving car, Ruscha documented sequential storefronts on the north side of Hollywood Boulevard between McCadden Place and Hudson Avenue, and on the south side of the street between Wilcox Avenue and McCadden Place. He produced a black and white sequence in 1973 and a colour one in the same locations in 2002.

Leek In The 1990s

Staffordshire Funfairs during the 1990s

Tigeriffic46: Published on 11 Jan 2011. From my UK Funfairs Volume 13. Stoke on Trent 1994, Leek 1994, Newcastle Under Lyme 1994, Tamworth 1998, Cheadle 2001.

Starting The 21st Century

Leek Rugby Club

Thomas Kennedy: Published on 1 Apr 2009. Leek Rugby Club Viral Uni Project.

Ryan Sidebottom plays for Leek Cricket Club

Staffslive: Published on 27 Apr 2009. By Emily Croydon: Leek Cricket Club welcomed an international to Highfield this weekend in a special day for the club.  Ryan Sidebottom turned out for Jamie Cullerton’s side in a bid to improve his fitness ahead of this summer’s Ashes. 

Market In Leek Staffordshire

Staffordshire: Published on 3 Jul 2009.

2010 Onwards

Rudyard Lake Steam Railway 23rd May 2010

Mollsmyre: Published on 26 May 2010. Paid a visit to the delightful Rudyard Lake Steam Railway near Leek in Staffordshire and found King Arthur and Excalibur in service. The 3-mile round trip runs alongside Rudyard Lake which was a hive of activity, As was the railway itself. Maybe the beautiful weather had something to do with it. Certainly everyone was enjoying themselves.

Leek Brewery Bottling Beer Part 1

Leekbrewery: Published on 17 Feb 2011. Part one of how to bottle beer using the equipment we sell. Last year we produced 130,000 bottles through this system!

Olympic torch in leek Staffordshire

MrDiscountDiscs: Published on 30 May 2012. Elliot Boyle carrying the Olympic Torch in Leek, Staffordshire.

Between 19 May and 27 July 2012, the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay event took the Olympic Flame to within 10 miles of 95% of the UK population. In total, 8,000 miles (12,800 km) were covered.

There were 7,300 confirmed torchbearers (an average of 115 torchbearers a day) taking it in turns to run a section of the route, whilst holding the flame high.

Many routes attracted crowds of supporters, especially where celebrities were involved. But the huge distance involved meant many routes and runners gained little attention as history was made.

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Thanks to Natalie White for use of the image shown at the top of this page.