Archive for May, 2018

Don’t Let Our Old East Leeds Legends Pass Beyond Living Memory

May 1, 2018

DON’T LET OUR OLD EAST LEEDS LEGENDS PASSBEYOND LIVING MEMORY
The East Leeds I fondly remember includes a few folk notorious for their good works or perhaps their eccentricity that brought them to the attention of the rest of us. I take the liberty of including a few iconic events and places, including some from the greater Leeds area This is not scholarly research but just from my own memories or heresy. Please forgive my mistakes or omissions. These must be written down and remembered, many are about to pass from living memory and will be lost. Embrace them while you can.
*Means other tales on the site have reference to the entry.

Remember to ‘Click’ on pictures to enlarge
In no particular order:
*BIG ERNIE: Was commissionaire/chucker out at the Princess Cinema. Who does not remember Big Ernie in his green uniform standing outside the Princess organising the queues or sat besides the screen eating his sandwiches and balling out miscreants who went to the toilet too many times or for general quiet. As everyone in the forties and fifties surely attended the Princess Cinema his voice must have been heard by more East Leedsers than anyone else’s.

DORIS STOREY: Doris was a great local, international, swimmer who trained at York Road Baths. She won the breast stroke gold at that which was then called The Empire Games and it was said she would have won the Olympics if they had not changed the technicalities of the breast stroke. She later ran the family fish and chip shop near the Star Cinema.

14th  of MARCH 1941: Big date in East Leeds history: Richmond Hill School hit by German bomb. It was during the night so no casualties but the pupils were scattered about around other schools and some evacuated.

*WILLIE KNOTT: Willie was a school boy champion in everything he attempted. He was a giant of a lad at school complete with moustache and legs like tree trunks already at a time when we left school at fourteen. Attended Victoria School but he was a hero to East Leeds lads in general He represented Leeds City Boys and Yorkshire at football, cricket, and Swimming. He was the best at everything he attempted including fighting, which ranks highly among schoolboys – when Willie walked past we stood aside in awe. He ran in the English School Championship sprints, some say he won others say he came third but whatever, the school bought him a bike. When he left school he signed for Leeds United but ironically, as he had been so huge at school he must have had his growth spurt early and he did not in the end grow tall enough for centre forward or centre half and he drifted out of the professional game. But which of us would not have taken that to have lived Willie’s school days as a tiger?

Willie is in the centre of the back row
*JILL ROBINSON MBE: Jill launched a group of amateur artists: The Show stoppers who raised a shed full of money for good causes.

*EAST LEEDS CRICKET CLUB: still going strong after all these years when the fabric of old East Leeds in general falls away.

*ABE WHITE: Genial, Jewish, roly poly proprietor of the Easy Road Picture House. He was always attired in his dress suit and greeted patrons with ‘I hope you enjoy the show tonight’. He was strict on miscreants but always a gentleman. His two sisters looked after the pay box and the interior. The Easy Road Picture house was not the most salubrious of cinemas but always claimed it had the best ‘Talkie’ in Leeds.

PAUL REANEY: Attended St Hilda’s, Ellerby Lane and perhaps Parkside Schools? He played for Don Revie’s great Leeds United team of the sixties and seventies. He could run like a stag and went on to play for England.

*‘CLEGGY’: Woodwork teacher at Victoria School and absolute legend for creating fear amongst the pupils. I didn’t attend Victoria Day School but attended his woodwork class on Friday afternoons along with lads from other schools. If you misbehaved he let fly with the pieces of ‘two by ones’. Before you met ‘Cleggy’ you would be painted a picture by those already attending they would say he lays you hand on the desk and asks, what do you want the chisel or the mallet. If you say mallet he lays you head on the bench and hits the bench with the mallet a few inches from your head so your head bounces up and down, if you say chisel he lays your hand on the bench and goes in and out the fingers with the chisel if you move your hand you’ve lost a finger. I have to say I never saw him do that trick but we were all terrified of him even the usual villians. The upside was: if you really tried he’d help to make you into a good carpenter.

*THE PADDY ENGINES: Kitchener, Jubilee, Dora and Antwerp In their green livery and later Silvia.

*MARY/VAL MILNER: Director of the famous film ‘Brought to Justice’ made entirely by the children of Ellerby Lane School in 1953.

LEEDS RHINOS: won 16 trophies in 13 years: eight Super League Championships, three World Club Championships, two Challenge Cups, and three League Leader’s Shields. In 2015, their finest year they won all three trophies – the Treble.

*HARRY BENDON: Who, who lived in our area in the forties and fifties will not have memories if Harry? He was a character and a half. He was a good singer around the local pubs and clubs but often could not resist blotting his copy book with vulgarity. I remember Harry in a smart camel coat with his a concertina. He is once said to have put his window cleaning ladder up against a bus standing outside the Corn Exchange and while whistling away started to clean the upstairs windows. I recall a night in the Scotsman Pub, a fracas was going on and the police were called, things were beginning to look really nasty. I expected fists to fly and arrests to be made when out of nowhere Harry turned up the middle of them all and started playing his concertina. The whole melee erupted into laughter and the situation was saved.

*TUSKY: (rhubarb). Our staple diet.

The 61,62,63,64 bus routes.

ROCKING HORSE: Rocking Horse was a bit before my time but those older than I remember him as a policeman with a rocking gate who had his beat in our area. This was at a time when gambling was frowned upon. ‘Pitch and toss schools’ of which there were many in the area were illegal. Rocking Horse would try to catch the culprits but the neighbourhood was friendly and would allow culprits to run into their houses and out the back door, if there was one. He was old school policeman and warmed to the locals by administrating a cuff behind the ear rather than to arrest.

REG PARKS: (Mr Universe) lived in the Saville’s.

*SOUTH ACCOMMODATION ROAD SUSPENSION BRIDGE: with its great, bowed, green, parapet that Jimmy Thrush daringly crossed on his bogey.

MR SHAW: Scary manager at York Road Baths.

DOLPHUS: The park ranger on east End Park in the 1940s.

MULLIGAN’S MANSIONS:  (Bridgefield Place)

*THE OLD PRIMAY SCHOOLS; Hilda’s, Mary’s Vicky, Ellerby, South Accomm, All Saints Saville Green, Charles’s, East End Park Special School. York Road board School, the Bombed out Richmond Hill School. All with their teachers good and bad.

*THE NAVVY: our dangerous playground

*THE PUBS: Gone but not forgotten: Cross Green, Bridgefield, Black Dog, Fish Hut, Waterloo, Prospect, Slip, Hampton, Shepherd, Yew Tree, Spring Close, Cavalier, Shaftsbury and Dog and Gun.

*HARRY: Waiter extraordinaire at the slip, He would come waltzing through a busy concert room balancing a tray of seven or eight pint glasses on a tray above his head without spilling a drop and he would have already calculated the note you were going to give him and have the correct change already worked out and ready in his top pocket.

*AGNES LOGAN STEWART: (Mother Agnes) opened St Saviour’s Institute a school and home for girls from dysfunctional families in Knostrop in 1872 and staffed it with sisters in holy orders. She wasn’t in holy orders herself but wore the dress of one. She was a woman of private means and boundless energy and also opened the St Hilda’s School for boys in Cross Green Lane, all from her own funds.

RED ROAD AND BLACK ROAD: Portals to adventure.

*EAST END PARK: Happily spruced up and still with us

*SNAKEY LANE: One pitch now instead of the two we had but it’s a good ‘un.

CHARLIE ATHA: Had a bicycle repair shop near the Princess Cinema. He could just about build your bike up from a single spoke but you had to catch him when he wasn’t in the Shepherd pub.

THE CHURCHES AND CHAPELS: St Hilda’s, St Mary’s, All Saints, St Saviours, St Patricks, New Bourne Chapel, Richmond Hill Chapel, Zion Chapel and others long time closed with their great incumbents that looked after our wellbeing and tried to keep us on the straight and narrow. Lots attended then, few now.

*THE KNOSTROP EXPERIENCE: Knostrop House, Knostrop Old Hall, Knostrop New Hall Knostrop Institute, Thorpe Stapleton Hall, The Humbug House, The ABC Houses. Most of them stood for hundreds of years but all sadly demolished during our watch.

*STOURTON SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM: a tiny school by modern standards but one year in the 1930s they became school football champions of all England.

*THE BASINS AND THE BLUEBELL WOOD: Pleasant features on the walk from Cross Green to Temple Newsam.


*ATKINSON GRIMSHAW: a bit before our time – born in 1836 but he lived in Knostrop Old Hall and was a wonderful moonscape painter – The way he deals with artificial light passing through windows onto wet pavements makes him my particular favourite painter. His pictures of Leeds, Liverpool and Whitby in particular hang in Leeds and national galleries and now sell for ‘telephone number’ prices.

WOODBINE LIZZIE: Lizzie was not particularly an East Leeds woman but probably the best known lady in Leeds in the 1940s. She would stand in the entrance to the Whip Public House In Duncan Street – near the three stumps – in a moth eaten fur coat and hat and ask you for a Woodbine when you passed , if she didn’t get one she’d let you have a barrage of obscenities not usually heard from the mouth of a lady.

JOHN CHARLES: John was not an East Leeds lad not even a Leeds lad he was Welsh but he played for Leeds United in the 1950s and his standing was so high amongst we East Leeds youngsters I feel he warrants and entry. He was 6ft 2ins when, not like today, when 6ft 5s are not abnormal. He was a giant on the field. A sight not to be forgotten was John dropping the ball down from his chest and accelerating up the field tacklers more or less melted away rather than getting a tackle in and there would be john tucking the ball into the corner of the net and walking back and he was impervious in the air – one season he scored 40 goals. When he was transferred to Juventus lads cried openly In the street. The £65,000 we got for his transfer (what would he have brought today?) helped us build the new West Stand He was always a gentleman into the bargain. Big John, the Gentle Giant.

ALMA: Genial conductress on the 61/62 bus and member of the Showstoppers troop

*THE CINEMAS: The Picture House Easy Road, Princess, Star, Regent Shaftsbury, Hillcrest, Victoria, Premier, Strand and Regal. (The Shaftsbury had double seats at the back for courting couples)

*THE QUARRY: Located at the back of the Easy Road Picture House. Dirty, but An adventurous playground for the Easy Road gangs.

*DAVID WILSON: He jumped all the way down the navvy for a bet, five comics and six pence. He didn’t get the comics or the six pence; he did get a broken arm but also legendary status for the feat – look he’s mentioned here sixty years later.

BOB BATES: Ran Mount St Mary’s football teams for years and years and better years and the boy’s club too. He could be seen marking the Snake Lane football pitch out before a match all on his own with little thanks, the lime we used to use for the job blowing all over his good suite. Sometimes his best players let him down and didn’t turn up but he just got on with the job. To me he was a prince among men.
NEVILLE HILL HOPPER AND SHED WITH CLOCK:

RED WALLS: Where we would paddle and fish for tiddlers, and sometimes get glass in our feet..

*THE ARMY AND POW CAMPS DOWN BLACK ROAD/KNOSROP: With their ack ack guns an barrage balloons.

*CHUMPING: They only seem to have communal bonfires today.

*THE GREAT WINTER SNOW SPORTS OF 1947.

AIR RAID SHELTERS.

THE CANE FROM THE TEACHER.

LEEDS UNITED : THE REVIE YEARS: We won the cup in 1972 and the league championship in 1969, 74. And two European trophies. We won the championship again in 1992 but not under Revie.

TRAMS:

*THE MARKET DISTRICT BOY’S CLUB: It was supposed to have been opened by The Parish Church to keep us lads off the streets but it became much more than that.

THE RICMOND HILL WHIT WALK: Disappeared with the demise of the pubs but before that it was run from The Cavalier and later The Prospect pubs. It went down Dial Street and on to a couple of circuits of East End Park. Crowds would turn out to cheer the walkers. There was a money prize and I can remember Jimmy Croll won it on a couple of occasions.

DOLLY DAWSON: legendary Hunslet rugby League player and genial ‘mine host’ of the Hampton Hotel.

THE PREFABS: Much better accommodation than the properties they replaced.

THE MONKEY BRIDGE: Iron bridge where dare devils would trapeze hanging above the navvy.

GEORGE TOOTLE: George was blinded by his time in the boxing ring, he too was an old Hunslet ruby league player’ He was a popular figure who lived in Knostrop Old Hall during the war. Knostrop was very dark during the ‘black out’ and George endeared himself to the folk of Knostrop by singing in a low rumble when he came home in the dark with his three littler guide dogs. so that females of the area knew it was only old George and not to be afraid.

THE GINNEL: Spooky little tunnel between Fewston  Avenue and Easy Road to allow the paddy train to pass overhead on its way to the coal staithe.

THE RED HILLS and the THE BLACK HILLS: The Red Hills at Knostrop the Black Hills near the Shaftsbury.

EDGAR STREET CLINIC: ‘Our own Little place of horrors.’

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YORK ROAD LIBRARY AND SWIMMING BATHS: Have been closed for a long time and I thought we were going to lose them but they have put the clock back up and they say it’s going to be a gym

I’m sure there are more that deserve a mention if you can think of any please send them on a comment

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