Remembering a Leeds pub with character

Sisters Denise Ramsden (left) and Lesley Greenfield who used to live in The Queen pub.
Sisters Denise Ramsden (left) and Lesley Greenfield who used to live in The Queen pub.
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Two sisters who grew up in The Queen pub on Burley Road were given the chance of a last look around before it is turned into a convenience store.

Denise Ramsden, 49, and her sister Lesley Greenfield, 55, were given special access to the pub by the Spirit Pub Company, which still owns the building.

As reported previously, Tesco is in negotiations to turn the former Tetley pub into a Tesco Express, an idea which caused much controversy.

However, Denise and Lesley were just keen to get the chance to have one last look at their former home.

There was another surprise for the sisters too after Spirit’s business relations manager, Andy Mason, informed them they had managed to locate an overmantle mirror which belonged to their grandmother and which was last in the possession of the family some 30 years ago.

Cavernous

As the two sisters looked round the cavernous interior of the pub, memories from their childhood came flooding back.

Denise, an administrator for Leeds City Council, who was born in the pub, had fond memories of growing up there.

She said: “It was a pub with a lot of character and it was well-known in the area. It was over the road from Yorkshire Television so we used to get all kinds of people in here. One was entertainer Max Wall, another was Patrick Newell, who played Mother in The Avengers and I remember him taking me and my brother David out for rides in his MG sports car.

“It was a lively pub, my dad, Denis ran it and my grandfather, Tony, before him. They used to hold Easter egg hunts, pram races, there was always something going on, we were the only pub around here to open seven days a week every week, we were even open Christmas Eve, until my dad decided he was fed up of all the fighting.

“When Tetley’s took over the lease in the 1960s, they ripped the heart out of the pub, they replaced all the woodwork with concrete pillars and made it so there was no longer a central bar from which you could see all the rooms, that meant you always had to have more than one person on at any one time.

“When we left, one of the things we forgot to take with us was an overmantle which belonged to my grandmother. We asked for it back but they just said it was no longer ours as we had left it.”

Mother-of-three Lesley, who works at Leeds Library, also has fond memories.

Birthdays

“I had my engagement party here, lots of birthdays, my sister got me into guiding and I used to hold Brownie meetings here.

“It’s so good to see it again and to have the chance to get it back.”

Mr Mason said: “We would be delighted to give the overmantle back to the family, it’s our pleasure to be able to let them have a last look around what was their family home.”

Denise, who also has a brother David, recalled: “We used to slide down the bannisters. I was born in one of the upstairs bedrooms and one of our favourite places to play was up in the attic, as it was so quiet and seemed so far away from everything.”

Lesley added: “The pub had its problems, it used to leak like a sieve. I can remember having to bathe in the dark using a candle for light.”

Saphieh Ashtiany, the equality and employment lawyer

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