Large factories and small businesses intermingled: corner shops, cabinet makers, coal yards, wheel wrights, coffin makers, blacksmiths. Loud clanging sounds came from the steelworks and the sky had a rosy glow. Bromley’s Coffee Works was in the middle of Belinda Steet and the smell of coffee hung in the air. Alongside was Lax and Shaw’s Glass Storage Depot with glass bottles rattling. The smell of the lead works of Wilson and Jubb nearby. The chemical works in Church Street threw out a yellow dust which settled on pavements, roads and gardens and gave off the smell of sulphur. Opposite Low Road school was the Hygenol Soap works, making disinfectants, polish and soap. Also the Coghlan Iron and Steel works giving out loud sounds of metal being beaten by trip hammers. The Wireworks and Nail Mill were on Penny Hill. The smell of fish the fish canneries and leather from the tanneries over Balm Road Bridge. Every business used horses - breweries, iron foundries, corn merchants, removal firms - so you had many horse troughs. There was one on Penny Hill next to the urinal, and one at the bottom of Pepper Road also next to a urinal, and one on Hunslet Moor next to the urinal. Barges came along river to deliver coal, corn, flour, wood etc to mills and yards alongside.
Carrie Stocks was born in 1932 and lived at Gill Place near Belinda Street
Alf Cooke's: the world's largest print works when it was built in 1895. The imposing former factory, with 30 bays, stretches for 120 metres along Hunslet Road. (photo 2009)
Anyone want some twine?
An advert from 1902-3
What are your memories of Hunslet's industry and firms? What are your stories about working conditions, your fellow employees, or social activities?
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An advertisement from 1901-2
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Butterley Street/Leathley Road. Edmund James Arnold came originally from Barnstaple in Devon. He arrived in Leeds in 1870 at the same time that the 1870 Education Act established school boards to oversee elementary education and so the opened the prospect of increased demand for books and other educational materials. He set up a business at no.3 Briggate and by 1876 had a warehouse and factory in Blayd's Yard. George, the son of Edmund, was Lord Mayor of Leeds 1916-17. In its heyday in the 1960s Arnold's, now in much larger premises at Leathley Road, were Britain's biggest educational suppliers and printers and employed around 1,500 people. After Fowler's closed their factory on the south side of Leathley Road in 1974 Arnold's opened a new factory there. They became part of Robert Maxwell's group and later moved to a site near the Broadway pub on Dewsbury Road, then to Parkside. Production ended in Leeds in the mid-1990s.
See Pottery Field map.
The profiles of Hunslet firms on the Industry pages are roughly in alphabetical order.
The Leeds Steelworks, with Hunslet Parish Church behind the fumes (photo from Keith Greenhalf)
Hunslet's industrial development started in the 18th century. By 1850 it was expanding rapidly - the Midland Railway had arrived in 1847. An 1850 map shows the large number of industries at that time.
The 1901 Kelly's Directory described Hunslet as a district of ".... extensive chemical, glass, spinning, woollen cloth, blanket, flax and linen works, potteries etc. The neighbourhood abounds with coal, and the iron trade is extensively carried on in all its branches, including the manufacture of iron, locomotive and other engine building, and boiler, machine and tool making."