Posts Tagged ‘Cross Green Lane’


November 1, 2017

Just a reminder before Jean’s Tale that The East Leeds Old Codger’s Reunion for 2017is to be held at the Edmund House Club, Pontefract Lane Leeds 9 on Tuesday 7th November from around noon onward all welcome.
St Hilda’s School Cross Green Lane, Leeds, was a grand little school in the 1940s/50s. Unless you were of the elite and passed your eleven plus and off to high school you stayed at the same school with those same class mates all the way from five years old until you left school at fifteen. In those ten years we got to know each other pretty well and had a great affinity with each other. Of course we didn’t always appreciate it at the time. So imagine what a treat it is to meet up with old class mates, hale and hearty, from that old school seventy five years after the day we all started school together. I recently had that pleasure when I bumped into a couple of old mates from that class; the twins; Joyce and Jean (nee Burrows). Jean has a tale to entertain you with from that old school

I was eight years old when attended St Hilda’s Church of England School. It was December 1945 and Mrs Duckworth was our teacher in class 2b, and it was the day of our school Christmas party, I still remember the day well. My twin sister, Joyce, and I shared an attic bedroom and as soon as I awoke that morning remembered it was the Christmas party. It was so cold in the attic that morning that the window was covered in ice. I crawled out of bed and felt the shock of my feet on the cold attic floor. Quickly I pulled the large hand pricked rug from the bed onto the floor and sank my toes into the warmth.

Mam had made the rug last winter on a large frame in front of the living room fire. Within the rug could make out the vestiges of the red material from our lovely red coats which had too been made by Mam, this time on her treadle sewing machine. How Joyce and I loved those coats, but alas they were now too small for us, at least now, along with some of our other old clothes they were having an afterlife here in the rug.

I walked over to the large mahogany washstand beneath the window and scraped away the ice from the pink and blue patterned jug, and poured water into the bowl. When my ablutions were completed and I had fully dressed in my school clothes I pulled Joyce out of bed too, reminding her it was the day of the school Christmas party. Downstairs Dad had lit the fire but it had barely caught hold yet and was throwing smoke into the living room. I remembered we were awaiting the chimney sweep and hoped he would arrive to do his job while we were away at school. Mam was stirring the porridge in the kitchen and, Pauline, my other sister, was busy setting the table Mam had washed our socks and gloves for school so I checked the coal oven which was alongside the fireplace to make sure they were dry. Joyce came thundering down from the attic and we all sat down for breakfast. Mam poured the porridge into the bowls and in no time at all we had polished it all off.

The morning lessons dragged on, nobody seemed to want to work, even our teacher, Mrs Duckworth, seemed to lack enthusiasm. At twelve noon Joyce and I rushed home for dinner. Mam had just cooked us egg and chips as she knew soon we would be starting the Christmas party. The parents had all donated various types of delicious party foods for their children to take to school. Mam had prepared jelly, custard and iced buns for us to take.

At 1.00 p.m. the kids trooped into the classroom but we were to do little work before the big event. Eventually we were told to make our way into the big hall where we all sat on mats laid out in rows on the floor, the sandwiches, buns, cakes and various fancies were brought round on large trays. Everyone was allowed a choice and when it was my turn I greedily chose a Swiss roll from the centre of the tray, which I had decided to take home and share with my family. I put the Swiss roll on my lap and was busy talking to my sister and our friends when all of a sudden the Swiss roll was grabbed from my lap by a group of boys who started breaking it into pieces and throwing it about the hall. Pieces were going everywhere, children were screaming and teachers were all over the place trying to sort out the chaos. Eventually when, everything had calmed down Mrs. Duckworth dragged me from my position on the floor and took me into her classroom: I was trembling with fear wondering what she was going to do to me. She started shouting at me – demanding that I tell her why I had started throwing the Swiss roll about. I tried to explain what had happened and how I was not to blame but she wouldn’t listen, she called me a liar and pushed me into a corner of the classroom closing the door behind her. She then left the room herself closing the door behind her. I had felt so happy that morning now I felt so miserable and frightened: I could hear all the happy children enjoying themselves and wondered what would happen to me. Time passed and I could hear everyone leaving the hall to go home. Eventually Mrs Duckworth came back into the classroom and told me that when I returned in the morning I was to be severely reprimanded.

The dreaded morning arrived and I dragged myself to school feeling sick with fright. I hid in the cloakroom until the religious study period was over and then crept out to be confronted by adversary; she grabbed me by the jumper and marched me into the hall where she said I must stand until I admitted throwing the Swiss roll.

To cut a long story short I stood in that bloody hall for two and a half days. I was so bored and so cold as each day went by that I finally decided I would admit to the dirty deed but the injustice of the situation still infuriates me, even after seventy years. All through my life I have regretted my decision to actually LIE about the event. It was such a tiny episode but to an eight year old child it felt quite monumental. I realize now it was just a childish prank by the lads, but if anyone remembers who threw that Swiss roll I’d still like to know.
WOW Jean! Anyone know who threw the Swiss roll?
I was at that Christmas party all those years ago I don’t remember the Swiss roll but I remember my mam sent a blancmange in a fancy glass mould and I was worried it might get lost. A lot of water has run under the bridge since then Jean. Sigh!

Street Names

October 1, 2015

This year’s East Leeds Old Codgers Reunion will be held at the Edmund House Club, Pontefract Lane, Leeds on Tuesday the 3rd of November 2015 at noon onwards for a couple of hours. All welcome.


Eric Sanderson gives us something interesting to think about

Wandering the highways and byways in the area of our youth, familiarity with street names automatically became a subliminal knowledge with names tripping from the tongue, usually without thinking much about them.

But street names can be a rich source of interest and a significant clue to the long forgotten history of an area , such that knowing a little about the evolution of the district in which you live, adds to the feeling of belonging to which so many “East Enders” still obviously attach some importance.

Some are self evidently named after an event or place which may have no immediate connection with the area, such as the Glencoe’s & the Pretoria’s, but have a wider, familiar historical significance & remind us of those events of long ago.

Others may be named after people or places, an event or even an occupation which play or played a large part in the community, such as the St Hilda’s ,East Park Parade/View, the Victoria’s & the Clark’s etc

Yet others simply describe where they’re leading to (or from), such as Pontefract Lane, York Road, East Street & so on.

But perhaps the more interesting ones are those which are a puzzle as to how they came to acquire their soubriquet & here are a few, from the East Leeds area which leave me mystified, but there may well be explanations that others have the answer to.

So let’s start with a very familiar one, Snake Lane. It certainly wasn’t because it twists and turns, snaking its way from Cross Green Lane to the red shale path connecting Knostrop and Black Rd.

In fact it was arrow straight between these two points. Could it, at some time in the past been a haven for Grass Snakes? On the other hand, has it acquired its name from the human variety which frequented the area, in much the same way as Lover’s Lane, Gypsy Lane etc.

Cross Green Lane itself suggests a lane or path crossing an ancient village green which may have existed long before it became a well built up area.

Easy Rd? Running roughly parallel to Cross Green Lane, could that have acquired its name simply as an easier & quicker connection between East St & Pontefract Lane than the rutted cart track that Cross Green Lane may have been?.

Take the Copperfields. It seems to describe an activity, similar to the Coalfields or the Goldfields, but very unlikely to have taken place in the vicinity. The name could have been given due to some distant connection with the world’s largest copper mines in Southern Africa.

The Charltons, where I used to live ‘til the late 50’s are unlikely to have been named after either Bobby or Jack, or even Charlton Heston but is a name not unfamiliar in other parts of the country, even London. It’s mentioned in the Doomsday Book & is derived from an old English word meaning farmstead of freemen or peasants. I hardly think the East Leeds Charltons of today could be remotely regarded as farmsteads, except in the context of clandestine cultivation of illegal substances.

Dial Street – could that possibly, at one time have contained “dial” or clock, similar to the one that used to exist at Halton Dial, & which was a significant landmark in the area.

Long Causeway – not the only one in Leeds but an unusual name because while it was no longer than many a modern thoroughfare it somehow suggests it was some ancient, possibly paved route connecting the rural hamlet of Knostrop towards the centre of a growing Leeds city, if so it may have indeed been a ‘long causeway’. The Long Causeway at Adel was said to be the remnants of an old Roman highway so there could be some traction there.  


Such as the Dawlish’s & Fewstons were fairly obviously named after well known places, as were many others whilst the well known Black & Red Roads were the given local names  for Pontefract Lane & Halton Moor Road, simply to differentiate their road surfaces but were never, in my recollection, known by other than their colloquially given names  

East Leeds certainly isn’t unique in its interesting street names and of course there’s hundreds of other, long established names, both in the area & elsewhere. Many of them don’t however appear to have much historical significance or connection, but who knows?

There’s sure to be many interesting examples & explanations from the area, those mentioned are but a few but hopefully, helps explain how an area may be somewhat defined  & characterised by some of the street names 

Delivering the Sunday papers in 1950s East Leeds

June 2, 2009

blog eric sand del papersEric Sanderson tells of his trials and tribulations and some of the benefits od delivering the Sunday papers to East Leeds and Knostrop   

Sunday Morning Papers in East Leeds

By Eric Sanderson

For a couple of years in the 50s, I did the Sunday morning paper round for Oldcorn’s newsagents, which was on the short parade on Cross Green Lane between the church billiard hall and Easy Road Coal Staithe. It is no longer there having been replaced by a modern housing development. The only other establishment I remember on that parade was Fletcher’s barber shop.

            I took over from a lad called Wilfred Pickles who left to become a police cadet. Wilfred was a tall, fair haired good natured boy: I guess he made an excellent Bobby. The weekday deliveries were done in my time, if I remember correctly, by two girls called: Jennifer Chappelow and Beryl Morley.

            My job started early, around 6 a.m. summer and winter and often having had to awaken Mr Oldcorn. My first task was to lug in the huge bundles of newspapers, unpack and sort them and place them in rows on the shop counter. There was no paper or magazine racks in those days. I would then put the papers I had to deliver into two bags which finished up enormously heavy, leaving me at the end of my round with an aching back, shoulders and neck, but I usually slipped two or three ‘spares’ into bag number two – more of them later.

            The first part of the round covered: the St Hilda’s, the Copperfields and Cautley Road, which was covered on foot and largely uneventful apart from the odd man eating dog. The second bag didn’t have so many deliveries but covered a much larger area including right down to Skelton Grange and had to be done on my bike. This section started at a couple of rows of cottages on South Accomm, just before the river bridge [Falmouth’s and Bridgewater’s]. Without exception every house had a letter box with the strength of a rat trap and barely large enough to let a mouse in, let alone bulky (sometimes several) Sunday papers. Trying to push the paper through usually shredded it, especially if wet from the regular Sunday morning shower of rain. Tucking them behind the door knobs had equally unfortunate consequences and my only solution was to roll the paper up tight and jam the first few inches into the letter box, leaving them stuck out like sore fingers. This was far from the perfect solution as the newspapers would become soaked if it rained, Complaints were not unheard of but there was no practical solution. At the end with knuckles bleeding from the gin trap letterboxes, I could look down the row and see what looked like a line of sentinels with a fag in each mouth. Today I suppose they would have been rolled up and placed in plastic sleeves but no such high tech solution existed in those days.

            It was then up South Accomm, onto the Long Causeway and down Knostrop Lane. I had long been impressed by seeing at the cinema, American newspaper boys tossing rolled up papers from their bikes up to the customer’s front doors. My first wheeze was to try this but there were a couple of critical errors on my part. First my aim was not so accurate as theirs and my papers often finished up in the wrong garden or in a cabbage patch. Secondly, they didn’t have the waterproof wrapping that the US boys had. Legions of complaints quickly followed so my experiments at improving efficiency had to be abandoned.

            Next calls were the Old Hall and the New Hall, these were two fine if fading Jacobean and Georgian houses. One, the New Hall, with a round house feature was converted into what today would be called ‘apartments’. Winding marble staircases,  intricate wrought iron balustrades with floor to ceiling doors characterised the place – along with a horrible stench. Walking along the balconies, dropping papers by the doors (there were no letterboxes) usually whistling (the place was like an echo chamber), I was often shouted at from behind closed doors—“SHARRUP” – do you know what time it is?”  Consulting my one inch thick Newmark watch (with luminous dial I might add) I would shout back, “Yes, it’s seven o’clock” Then colourful ripostes shocked my innocent schoolboy’s ears and couldn’t possibly be repeated here.  Nonetheless, it was good sport and a bit of fun on an often dreary and lonely job. One resident of the New Hall, an elderly, kind lady who seemed to be living her life in a slightly shabby and fading elegance, would always eagerly await her Scottish Sunday Post. She kept about 1,000 cats and had a very impressive collection of antique firearms which she enjoyed showing and explaining the provenance of.

            On to the next call, round the double bend and onto the straight towards a row of cottages, which I think were called the ABC Houses (but I never knew why) adjacent to the water treatment plant. On the way my wheeze number two came into play. I invariably crossed with a van carrying workers from Skelton Grange Power Station. They would always stop me and ask me if I had any extra copies. Remember the few ‘spares’ I mentioned earlier? These were always profitably disposed of which earned me a bob or two extra with sometimes a tip thrown in.

            Next stop was the row of ABC cottages where I had to collect the money for the week’s papers as well as deliver the Sundays. The residents were always somewhat grumpy. Even though they wanted their papers early they didn’t relish getting up to pay the bill. They even had the temerity to suggest I come back later in the day for the money. Not a good idea.   

            Wheeze number three came into operation here, I used to keep a very small amount of change in one pocket and when proffered payment, said I had very little change. The residents would then often round up the payment which translated into another few bob or so for me. Of course, I couldn’t operate the scam on all of the people, all of the time but it was an occasional nice little earner.

            Just after the cottages a narrow gauge railway line crossed the road at a very acute angle. In wet weather this was quite a tricky hazard to negotiate on a bike and many is the time a tumble resulted in muttered profanities, bringing down curses on anyone who happened to be in my bad books at the time.

            Onwards to Skelton Grange and here was a short row of terraced houses in the shadow of the cooling towers. What a depressing windblown place this was but after avoiding the usual combination of scary dogs aggressive geese and deep potholes, I had finally arrived at my furthest point. One resident, a huge man, always in bib and brace overalls and hob nailed boots, had massive hands, a bald head and a mouth full of rotten teeth – he could easily have starred in the film – ‘DELIVERENCE’. Nonetheless he was a very nice man.

            Then turning for home, head down, peddling furiously, spirits rising, back past Old and New Halls and turning right into Snake Lane (some called this part of the lane which ran up to Black Road – Red Road but rightly or wrongly I always considered this part of Snake Lane). Up, the hill, turn left into the part of Snakey that ran into Cross Green Lane and stop at the farm (which later became the school but even that has now gone), my last call, parking the bike and walking up to the house which was about a hundred yards away, I first had to get past the snarling, slavering Hound of the Baskervilles, which was (thankfully) chained to a stout post. The chain was just about long enough to allow me to sidle past without having the brute sink its fangs into me and once past I approached the house deliberately looking dishevelled, forlorn and a bit of play acting came into play here for wheeze number four. The lady of the house was always very kind, enquiring after my wellbeing and my play acting stood me in good stead here, feigning cold and hunger, she would sometimes invite me in for a bacon sandwich and a steaming cup of cocoa, especially on cold winter mornings.

            Suitably refreshed and often with a nice tip (one shilling), I tripped back down the path past the dog, which strangely never bothered me on the way out. Feeling warm, replete and with spirits soaring, my round was complete and I headed back to the newsagents. Oh, bliss and joy, did bacon sandwiches ever taste so good? Back there, the good old Mr Oldcorn would give me my five bob and sometimes an extra shilling if the weather was bad (because I never let him down) and I would set of for home with nearly ten bob in my pocket, to 68 Charlton Road where I lived until I was eighteen.

My dear Mam would be waiting for me with a hot bath to warm me up and sooth away my aches and pains to be followed by a full breakfast, THE FULL MONTY.   

I never did tell her (until many years later) about my ‘early starter’ at Snake Lane Farm. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have got the extra sausage with my breakfast.