Armley Weir

Hidden away from view, many people do not release there is a weir on the river at Armley Mills.  A track leads from the bridge between the Industrial Museum and Kirkstall Retail Park upstream to a view of an impressive sweeping 140m long weir.

The history of the weir

Armley Mills weir is possibly medieval in origin and was enlarged and rebuilt c.1788 by John Sutcliff, a Halifax engineer.  During World War 2 the weir was struck by a bomb and had to be repaired with concrete in 1942.

Historic image of Armley Mills and its goit
Undated. View of Armley Mill buildings and goit © Leeds Library & Information Services

There has been a mill on the site at Armley since the middle of the 16th Century. The first description of the mills, dated 1707, refers to it as:

‘That Fulling Mill in Armley… containing two wheels and four stocks… also the water corn mill and all the fulling mills… containing one wheel and two stocks.’

The current weir directed water to power five waterwheels in Armley Mills located on an island between the River Aire and Leeds-Liverpool Canal.   This was once the world’s largest woollen mill and is a Grade II* listed building.  Built in 1805 it finally closed as a commercial mill in 1969.

The weir today

The Mills were taken over by Leeds City Council in 1982 and reopened as an industrial museum.  Why not visit and explore the history of industry in Leeds?


A visualisation of the planned fish and eel pass at Armley Mills