Hunslet remembered
 
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Key map
Leeds city centre
Hunslet
Leeds Metropolitan District
The Places section contains lots of detailed maps of Hunslet, along with photos and people's memories. You can  click on one of the named areas on the Key map below to take you to a map of a particular area and see the old street pattern, remind yourself of street names, look at photos and read memories of that part of Hunslet. Alternatively, click on an area in the drop down box on the right to explore all of the pages in this section.

Some areas aren't yet included - I'll be adding more soon.


Centre
Grove Road area
Pepper Lane area
Woodhouse Hill
Hunslet Carr
Hunslet Moor
Parkside
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Jack Lane area
I was born in 1953. The first place I lived was at 2, Dewsbury Terrace – near the junction of Moor Road and Dewsbury Road. We left there in early 1957, but I still have memories of it. It was a curious house, in that the staircase from the upper rooms came down into the kitchen.

I have vague recollections of a Salvation Army Band playing in the street behind us, and, on another occasion, of looking up at a policeman from the police station opposite. He was huge, with his head lost in the clouds.

On the corner was Mr and Mrs. Crosslands’ newsagents. I can remember my mother buying Five Boys chocolate bars for me there. (I think there was a machine vending the same confectionery outside the shop, or, at least, a poster advertising the brand). I also remember coming home at night, with the butler from the Capstan At Your Service advertisement on the door of the shop, looking very vivid.

I vaguely remember, also, the sound of pneumatic drills. My mother tells me that because of the sharp turn in the tram tracks at the junction, they often had to do serious maintenance work on them.

There’s a more curious memory I have of standing in the doorway at the house on a grey day in the morning, but feeling a strong sense of being alive in a city. Maybe it was the hum of the traffic… The sound of  the theme music from the Housewife’s Choice radio programme is oddly mixed in with this.

Another memory is of us walking at night (probably from Dewsbury Terrace) across Hunslet Moor to our new house at 15 Nursery Mount in Hunslet Carr. We got fish and chips, and, when we  arrived at the new place, there was a film of an Agatha Christie story about 10 Little Persons of Colour (to give it it’s more politically correct title).

The big contrast between living there, and life for children nowadays, was the great freedom. Even as  a 5 year old, I was able to roam the adjoining streets without any problems. There were hardly any cars except on the main roads. In  the summer of 1959 it was really hot, and I remember that the tar between the cobbles on Nursery Mount Road would melt at the corners - much to the delight of we children - who would poke and probe them, and get seriously ‘mucky’.

Around 1960, I went to live with my grandparents, who lived at 47, East Grange in Belle Isle - very near the Hunslet border. Looking out of my bedroom window, I could see the entrance to old Hunslet cemetery. I often heard deep reverberating sounds that I suspect came from the Henry Clayton Foundry on Pepper Road - even though it was over half a mile distant.

When my parents moved to 27, Middleton Road, in 1962, much of my play was spent around the Parnabies and in the fields adjoining Wakefield Road, and around Hunslet cemetery.

At that time, I used to go watch Hunslet play at Parkside (including reserve matches) almost every Saturday. An especially fond memory is of a group of us running from Belle Isle Primary School across the old Broom Colliery ‘Tip’ to get to Parkside for the last half hour of Hunslet v. Australia in late  October, 1963.




         
I also did a paper round in early 1968 on the side of Parnaby Road that was eventually demolished for the motorway. The newsagent I worked for was Wilf Booth, who had a shop on Woodhouse Hill. I remember reading a little feature on him in the Evening Post (probably when he retired) saying that, as a child it had been his ambition to be the proprietor of that very same newsagent’s shop. It’s nice to know that some little dreams come true…

On the way back from that paper round, in the Spring of 1968, I would go through the old Hunslet cemetery. Spring in that place  remains in my memory very vividly - the sounds of birds singing in  the late afternoon, and a profound sense of the peace and beauty of  momentary things.

I got my first deep sense of belonging to Hunslet during my wanderings there. I can still remember details of some of the graves - a soldier who was killed serving in west Africa in 1915, the landlord of the New Inn on Dewsbury Road who died in 1881, Annie White who was killed in an accident at (I think) Leeds City Station on Christmas Eve 1894, Henry something or other - described, I think, as an ‘engineer’ -  who died in 1870 and was ‘interred in Rio’, T.P.Wade of Pepper House who died in 1910 and who obviously had a rhubarb growing business - since elsewhere on the Hunslet Remembered site there’s reproduction of an advert for that business. There was also a Betsy Hodgson of Woodhouse Hill House - one of the older stones.

Best of all was a rather grand elevated edifice, with an inscription in gothic script  in memory of ‘Horatio Wood, Solicitor’ who died in 1849. His wife Sarah died on the same day and was interred with him. Even as a boy, I deduced that the shared date of death suggested that they died in  the cholera epidemic.

Many years later, I researched Horatio Wood. He did, indeed, die of cholera, and  was one of the Chartists elected as a Leeds Improvement Commissioner in 1841. He had his office in Bowers Yard in Leeds. (The yard is still there). He didn’t actually live in Hunslet, but his wife was the daughter of Alderman Bower - one of the bottle making family, of whom there are quite a few buried in the cemetery. (The company was still in existence in Hunslet even in the 1960’s.) Alas, Horatio and Sarah’s memorial was removed sometime in the early 1970’s.

In 1969, all our family moved to the Town Street area of Middleton. However, my Hunslet experiences were far from over. I attended Parkside Secondary Modern School, got a few ‘O’Levels and then went to Cockburn High School for two years of ‘A’ Levels.

During free-study periods and lunchtimes, I and a few friends would sneak out to the Boston Café on Dewsbury Road - where the manager Keith allowed us to use the backroom as a kind of clubhouse. It was a fine and private refuge from the bustle of school.

I went to Leeds University in the early 1970’s. There were often bus strikes. This meant that we often had to walk home through Hunslet after a Friday or Saturday night out.

These walks along Waterloo Road, and the Penny Hill area are - again -still deeply evocative of Hunslet’s past for me.
I have especially strong memories of two small streets off the Road - Pollard Square and Hardisty’s Yard (the latter of which was, apparently, the site of a fruit and vegetable market before the second world war).
       
Other fond recollections are of Kalinowski the watchmaker’s shop, Longbottom’s, The Progress Stores, Evans (‘Thousands of Bargains’), Ettie Bamforth’s the grocer and fruiterer, and the little group of buildings at the corner of Balm Road and Church Street - including Beetham’s the pawnbrokers, Tom Sinclair’s leather goods shop, the Anchor pub, and Bob Rayner’s barber’s shop.
        
These buildings and places had an intimacy, and a sense of living and friendly endurance through the generations, that has not been passed on after their demolition. Buildings are now thrown up to be functional alone, without any real possibility of being the focus of an enduring community. The whole area is like a wasteland…
         
Over the years, my life has taken me far from Hunslet and my other south Leeds places. In my travels, I’ve followed the careers of the important Hunslet cultural figures - names such as Richard Hoggart, Keith Waterhouse, Willis Hall, and Peter O’Toole. I’ve also encountered some less well known, but equally creative names - such as Michael Chapman, the folksinger and guitarist, and Glen Baxter - who used to do wonderfully surreal little drawings in the Independent newspaper in the late 1980’s.
         
Eventually, I became  a Professor of Philosophy, and it’s in philosophical terms that I sometimes think of Hunslet.
        
Human beings are that aspect of the universe which has become conscious of it itself. The species has evolved far beyond providing the means of its own practical survival. We exist to understand, and a basic means of this is knowing our past, and preserving it, so that we have a sense of being involved in a journey through the generations.
        
Through this journey we have attained the means to know where we came from, to revere it, and to know what we are today, and what we might become. This is the result of the stories of those countless thousands of humble working people who did not expect their lives or places  to be remembered.
        
Of course, they, in turn, sprang from deep genetic ancestors, whose different origins and stories appear to be buried in the sands of time.
       
But even those sands can be cleared a little. DNA tests tell me that my ancestors were Finno-Ugric people. The genetic markers that define them originated in  Siberia about 10,000 years ago. They migrated to Finland, and then to Sweden where they were absorbed into Viking culture, and were known as ‘Rus’. Most of them migrated to Russia - giving their name to that country. A very few of them came to Britain with the Norwegian and Danish Viking colonization, and, in time, some ended up in Hunslet.
      
And that’s  the beauty of  Hunslet. Its streets may have gone, and many of its folk relocated. But its  rich identity - built on myriad past stories and adventures - endures beyond memory alone. By remembering Hunslet, we tell a story not of things lost, but of a place whose recollected character continues to shape the future.
                   
Paul Crowther                                                                                                          
From Siberia to Hunslet
Places
 
Pottery Field
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