Open site @ Barnbow Shell Filling Factory (Optare) Crossgates, Leeds

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The Optare factory is now gone and the developers want to build houses on the site on Manston Lane, Crossgates but they keep unearthing underground entrances... The site is accesible but out of my range of expertise and looks super interesting. Here is the bit of history I know:

Originally the site of the Barnbow Shell Filling Factory in 1915 which produced a huge amount of ammo and was staffed by 93% women. A big explosion in 1917 killed 35 women, known as "The Barnbow Lasses". Over the road is the gigantic barnbow factory which produced tanks for all of my childhood but now stands mostly empty and rumour has it one day it will be an out of town shopping mecca with a link to the A1 M1 link road at Colton.

The site then became Charles H Roe Coach Builders then eventually Optare. I hope there is someone willing to have a look, and that it isn't a waste of time. It is a very very dark site that backs onto a dark quiet back road on one side and fields on another shielding it from Pendas Fields estate's view...

Here is a link to the history of the site:

Barnbow Munitions Factory 1915-18

This is my first post so please excuse any great clangers I may have dropped. Also I have photos but am suffering a small brain moment and can't find the upload bit.


28DL Member
28DL Member
May 28, 2013
Ahhh got it. Here is the link to the photos:

Casabutton's Library | Photobucket

I'm off to read the rule book now, was just rushing to get this on...
Louise, you are on the wrong site.The WW1 Barnbow site is about 2miles to the East. The old rail track can be seen as acutting near Lazencroft Farm,this went to the factory 1mile on.Cock beck flowed thro, the site.ROF Leeds the 1936 factory for tanks was also known as Barnbow. This is south of Old Manston Lane.ChasRoe site is north of OML. The Roe factory was built circa 1926.I think you will findyour tunnel is WW2 air raid shelter -I was down it many years ago! accord.


28DL Member
28DL Member
May 16, 2014
if you look across the road @ Manston Park at the Lamp of them isnt a lamp post its the Air intake for and old bomb shelter........not sure if these are the entrences.


28DL Member
28DL Member
Jun 9, 2015
I went in there with a few friends and there is nothing there is some builders in there but if you want to get in we got in by crossing the train tracks and going thru a hole in a fence or you can go in cross gates cricket club and climb up a fence