Beeston – All the way from Copperfield Ave- and a whisker from being run over

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Beeston – all the way from Copperfield Avenue – and a whisker away from being run over!
By John Holloway

When I was seven, my mother had to spend several weeks in hospital, and as my father worked full time (at Lever Brothers) it meant me going to my ‘Nan’s’ straight after school. Lovely – ‘spoiling’ coming up! I soon adapted to delicious beans on toast for tea, and tea cakes (with currants), but best of all she had a TV – which we did not! It didn’t matter that the toilet was up the street and shared by other residents of Lady Pitt Place, it was all a great adventure for a young lad – firstly the Bus from Cross Green Lane followed by the No 5 tram to Beeston from just round the corner in Briggate.
I had been to Beeston a few times with my parents and sister, so knew to get off at the stop just before the top of Beeston Hill, and I had soon made friends with the local youngsters who lived in that area. Their favourite pass-time was roller-skating – on the pavement of course – and I had soon passed the ‘test’ of skating down the short hill from the bottom of Lady Pitt Place towards the Dewsbury Road. Most times we stopped well before the main road, knowing that – if needed – there was a sturdy metal Lamp-Post further down on the corner – a ‘ridged’ post which gave extra grip! Some of the older, more adventurous kids, skated on as far as the Lamp Post every time, swinging themselves around it with one arm to slow themselves down until facing back up the hill – the Dewsbury Road just feet away!
I’m not sure if my Nan and Grandad (Mr & Mrs Booth – actually my cousin’s grand-parents) knew about the skating just around the corner, but most days – after watching the brand new children’s TV programmes – I would ‘pass’ on the BBC News and go out to play – skates at the ready!
I was a fairly competent skater, having spent quite some time, ‘honing my skills’ skating up and down the lovely smooth surface of Courtley Road back in east Leeds, so eventually decided to have a go at catching hold of the lamp post on the corner of the Dewsbury Road.
I can remember it all as if it were yesterday. Several of the local children were there, encouraging me on as I bent down and set off down the pavement on the south side of the short hill. I was determined to do it and watched the lamp-post getting closer and closer, gritting my teeth. I knew I was going a bit too fast but still thought it would be ok – until I reached out for the lamp-post and found it was out of range! The next thing I remember was dropping down off the pavement onto the Dewsbury Road with a thump and gliding at full pelt right across both ‘carriageways’ – and still upright! I had no idea how I managed to ‘keep my feet’ crossing the main road but the smooth surface must have been a big factor. I can still remember the noise of the vehicles I just missed!
But I can’t remember trying it again! Mum must have come out of hospital at just the right time.

I have ‘Google-earthed’ the area recently but it is very different now – Lady Pitt Place gone. And no! ………….. I daren’t look for the Dewsbury Rd!

PS Does anybody out there remember the ‘Lady Pitt’ roads – I think there were 2 or 3 (Place…Road?….Ave?) and all short, with ‘back to back’ houses. I guess they were early Victorian houses – built with those lovely deep red bricks, and – if I remember rightly – Lady Pitt Place had 5 houses on one (east) side only, with two ’shared’ outside toilets between the five, at the top of the road.

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3 Responses to “Beeston – All the way from Copperfield Ave- and a whisker from being run over”

  1. peterwwood Says:

    Doug commented: A GREAT STORY, That near escape over Dewsbury Road has burned itself deep into your memory . You lived to tell the tale.
    At seven years old you were a pretty capable lad, relied on by your parents to catch a bus and transfer to a tram all by yourself . i think parents expected more of their kids than is usual today . And there is nothing nicer, still than some heavily buttered toast and baked beans followed by teacakes with currents . making my mouth water just to think about it.

  2. peterwwood Says:

    You have an amazing memory too, John, for remembering all those things about East Leeds when you left the area at nine years old.

  3. peterwwood Says:

    John himself commented: I have just read the piece about unintentionally skating across Dewsbury Road . I now need a stiff drink. Will be in touch, John

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