Knostrop Army Camp


Eric Janssen has made contacted from Belguim please see below, can anyone help provide further information on the Knostrop Army Camp?


I have been searching the Internet and writing letters and mails (in vain) to the Leeds Historical Section, the Army Cadet Forces, Territorial Army, the Leeds local newspaper…(none of these even answered my mail !) for information concerning the “Knostrop Army Camp”

Your article has given me a small ray of hope ?!


My maternal grandfather Major (Retd) Arnold LE PAGE was Quatermaster / Caretaker of the 154 W.E.T.C. (Week-End Training Camp) KNOSTROP from 1947 until his retirement in 1966.(He died in 1970). My grandparents lived in a house just outside the camp next to the guardroom – The camp commander was a Colonel (Retd) HARGRAEVES (I’m not sure of the spelling)


As my father was Belgian and my mother British, we didn’t live in England but visited my grandparents about every two years and all I can remember as a (10 -11- 12 year old) child is that the camp was located in Black Lane about a 10 minute drive from the town centre of Leeds.

From the Guard-Room you could see two huge cooling towers (similar to those in nuclear power stations) as well as a freight railway line used to transport coal.

The huts (Nissen type) were made of wood similar to those in the Pirbright Depot (which I know quite well having been there on several occasions to participate at the International Skill-at-Arms competition held there every year).

Many different units (probably Cadet Forces) such as The Black Watch came to this camp in the summer months (July/august) while we were on holiday.

There were also gun-pits (very similar to anti-aircraft gun positions) located uphill in the camp. I can remember going through these huts (after the cadets left) with my grandfather to check that everything was o.k., going through the empty lockers and finding bits & pieces left these such as badges, cuff-links, photographs, chocolate bars etc. These are unforgettable childhood memories Unfortunately those are all the details I can remember.

My quest is as follows:


As Knostrop meant a great deal to me during my childhood I would be most interested in any information whatsoever concerning this camp especially photographs and old Ordnance Survey maps of the area. (any costs would of course gladly be paid for).

Does it still exist ? If not what happened to it ?


Thanking you in advance for your kind cooperation,


            Yours sincerely

Eric Janssen

4 Responses to “Knostrop Army Camp”

  1. Sonia Noble Says:

    I haven’t written the following, but I just found it on as I had been looking for things related to Knostrop as I believe a relative came from there years ago, Mum is on holiday at the moment so I can’t remind myself as to whether it is the Priestley or Cawthra side of the family. As for your Army Camp info. the following bit mentions rifle range so I am guessing that may well be part of it. Best wishes, Sonia

    saw a map in Leeds central library today,19th century.

    It shows Knostrop old hall and Knostrop new hall.

    Unfortunately there are no nearby landmarks to give you an accurate position of the two,which were virtually next to each other.

    The best indication i can give is midway between Skelton Grange cottages,on Sewage works road and Knostrop rifle range.

    This is where Knostrop Lane meets sewage works road.

    A couple of years back I traced the site of the old hall to the dead end of Long causeway.

    Just before that is a right turn down to the sewage works, but the few yards to the dead end a nd a large heap of rubble seemed to be the site of the old hall – done by matching my 1935 map of Leeds up which shows the hall with modern A-z’s.

    I have a reprint of the book “The old kingdom of elemete” by Edmund Bogg. A must have for secret Leeders and peobably available to look at at your library.

    This was reprinted at the same time “The romance of old leeds” was re-printed which has some good old stuff in it – Red Hall in Leeds and Hunslet lane Theatre!!!

  2. Ian Chadwick Says:

    I was born in 1951 in East Leeds and we used to go to the army area in Knowstrop (around 1959-60). I remember quite clearly climbing into an old rusting tank and then regretting it as I became frightened by all the metal around me. We always thought that the old tank was on a firing range of some sort.
    Near here were some deep trough like lakes that were known as the ‘Blue Lagoons’ as they had a blue hue to them.
    I also remember going to a farm near Swillington that was owned by Joe Steel. He was a little eccentric and drove a 1928 Rolls Royce complete with Chicken muck inside, he also played the violin. I went with my father to get Free range eggs. There were two pillars on the drive to his farm that he said he took from Knowstrop Hall before it was demolished as no one wanted them. If they are still there today I do not know as I moved to Tyneside in 1971!

  3. Wayne Bickerdike Says:

    I remember the army camp at Knostrop. We used to go fishing for tadpoles in a pond where an army tank was bogged for a long time.

    The farm later became Austin’s farm but originally it was run by my Father’s Uncle, A Mr H.E. Bickerdike.

    I have a tray which was left by my late Auntie which was a gift from the armed forces who occupied his farm just before the start of WW2.

    The tray is inscribed:

    “Presented to Mr H.E. Bickerdike by all ranks of 197 Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Artillery in appreciation of his many kindnesses and help during their occupation of his farmstead at the time of the temporary mobilisation in September and October 1938”

    The farm went out of our family to an adopted son of my Great Uncle, who had none of his own children.

  4. junefox Says:

    I lived in the area that you are talking about .Iwas there 1940ish to1950,sWe lived at skelton grange cottages,as part of skelton grange farm.At the back of our cottages was a wood the plantation it was known by . I remember Tanks being testedby the army, in the field behind the plantationI also remember there being a n army camp in that area.from our house going towards leeds there was a rifle range. we knew that place as the red hills. I watched thepower station being built. the cooling towers that you could see were part of the skelton grange power station.I too have fond memories of living there.and often wish I could go back, but it has changed the cottages are not there anymore as is the powerstation,It has changed so much,but they were happy brother might be able to shed more light to the camp I willhave a word with him and get in touch againIhpe this has shed a bit more light to you quest

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