Posts Tagged ‘Snake Lane’

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 

Baths and Bladders

April 1, 2009

blog-baths-and-bladersThe author remembers school swimming lessons at Joseph Street Baths at Hunlet, Leeds and School Football training on Snake Lane in East Leeds 



                                                 Pete Wood

In the Course of the week we had two sports lessons at St Hilda’s. The first was swimming on Monday mornings. Pupils of Ellerby Lane and Victoria schools tell that they attended York Road Baths but we had our swimming lessons at Joseph Street Baths in Hunslet.  We didn’t set off until after playtime, so it would be approaching eleven o’clock already and we had to be in and out of the bath by twelve! Note: I said ‘playtime’ not break or recess – good old playtime – that’s what we had. How often have you heard someone say: ‘You’ve had it now – I’ll get you at playtime!’ Anyway we’d set off walking in a crocodile, no school buses for us. We had our trunks rolled inside towels and under our arms – you were a ‘geek’ if you had a shoulder bag! Then we were off down South Accomm, Atkinson Street, Goodman Street, across Hunslet lane and so the baths. You changed two to a tiny cubicle, it was a bit of a tight squeeze, and you were lucky if you managed to get your own socks on at the end of the lesson. Then we were through the slipper baths and lined up along the side of the pool.

Those who were training for certificates were allowed in first – first class certificate candidates had to execute life saving procedures, diving for the brick and a neat dive in addition to the actual swimming. Then it was the turn of those taking the second-class certificate – three lengths breaststroke and one length backstoke. Finally, the last of the certificate takers had their chance – those who were going for the third class certificate, which was just the one length of the bath. There was also the advanced ‘bronze medallion’ but I cannot remember any of our lot attempting that one although Pat Brown who lived next-door to us and attended Mount St Mary’s was successful in achieving such a medallion.

There was also a seldom attempted fourth certificate, if my memory serves me correctly this was a speed certificate which necessitated completing four lengths of the bath (100 yards) in under 110 seconds. There was just one lad at our school capable of achieving this: Norman Gibbs. Norman was a great lad but somehow or other he always seemed to have a note from his mother excusing him from the swimming lesson, which meant we hardly ever saw him at Joseph Street, making it all the more extraordinary that he was an absolute fish when he actually managed to get into the water. I can only remember being privileged to see him swim a couple of times in all the years we attended swimming lessons but when we did it was an absolute treat, he would churn up and down that pool – over arm crawl – just like a motor boat. As he hardly ever seemed to go to the baths it was a puzzle as to how he managed to be the best swimmer among us!

By the time we ‘gash hands’ were allowed to have our thrash about in the pool it was time to come out and make the long crocodile trip back to school. 

            Our other physical training lesson – the one we all liked – was football practice on Wednesday afternoons. We didn’t get set free on Snake Lane until after ‘playtime’ for that either. But as the footballs needed to be prepared – they had invariably deflated from the previous week – a couple of lucky lads would be given the task of making sure the balls were ready for action; it was a bit of a ‘skive’ that we carried out in a cloakroom away from the classroom. The leather footballs we had then could not be re-inflated, merely by sticking in an adaptor and blowing them up, for us it was a work of art. First the lace had to be removed and the neck of the bladder fished out from under its protective piece of leather. The neck had then to be untied and the ball re-inflated, then the neck had to be doubled over and retied with string, this completed the neck of the bladder had to be tucked back in beneath its leather protection and the ball re-laced. There was a special tool to facilitate the re-lacing of the ball, which had to be carried with the expertise of a surgeon as the ball had to remain perfectly spherical even though it had a neck and the lace must be so neat that it did not pose a danger when the ball was headed. The whole ball then had to be covered in ‘Dubbin’ to protect the leather.  With a bit of guile you could make the job spin out for the whole of the first period if it were a lesson you didn’t fancy. School footballs were only supposed to be size four (normal men’s footballs are size five) but we had to make our footballs last and as they were leather they tended to stretch and get bigger, so by the time we had worn them out they were probably size six! There was as bonus with our footballs though: if they sustained a puncture you could pull out the bladder and mend it like a bike inner tube and you were up and running again. Today if they burst they have to be sent away for a panel removing the puncture mending and than the panel stitched up again, as you can imagine it all costs a bob or two and you can be without a ball for weeks; plus the balls cost twenty times more to buy in the first place! I see them kicking those modern plastic balls they can tickle them in from the corner flag or to the half way line from a goal kick and they bend and swerve all over the place, you had to give our footballs a real ‘thwack’ to get them moving but if you hit one right they went as straight as a canon ball; when Alfie Duckworth hit the woodwork with one of his shots on Snake Lane you could hear the noise Easy Road!