Leeds nostalgia: A-Z of Leeds for those tricky trivia moments...

Workers on the stamping machine making the last stamped axil at Kirkstall Forge before the site shuts at Christmas. 5th October 2002.
Workers on the stamping machine making the last stamped axil at Kirkstall Forge before the site shuts at Christmas. 5th October 2002.
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If you’ve ever found yourself stuck for that titbit of trivia to throw into the conversation to impress your friends, this week’s article is just for you.

A -Armley firm J W Roberts used to make asbestos mattresses from 1870 right up to the 1950s. Unusually high death rates from chest conditions in Leeds prompted an inquiry in the 1980s.

1967. The general public enjoying the one and only opportunity to walk through the 1200 ft tunnel section of the inner ring road.

1967. The general public enjoying the one and only opportunity to walk through the 1200 ft tunnel section of the inner ring road.

B - Baths: the first public baths to open in Leeds came in 1820 at Eyebright Well (where Wellington Street is today).

C - Chapeltown takes its name from a chapel, which stood in the village in the 1700s.

D - Ducking Stool: this implement was used to punish “gossiping women and dishonest alewives”. It was used mainly in the 15th century and was still in use in the 18th. The Leeds one stood at Quarry Hill.

E - The electrification of Leeds began in 1891 with the Yorkshire House to House Electricity Company, which the council bought out in 1895 for £63,011.

F - Freemasons: the first lodge in Leeds was formed in 1754 and it held meetings at The Talbot Inn.

G - the first gas supply in Leeds was established in 1818. Leeds City Council bought all the providers in 1870.

H - Hyde Park, the area between the University and Headingley, once had a toll gate, at the bottom of Grosvenor Road.

I - Inner Ring Road, which was begun in 1951 and only completed in 2009 when the final stretch was opened.

J - Jews, the first of which came to Leeds in the 1840s, opening a synagogue in 1861.

K - Kirkstall Forge, soon to be a new train station, was operational from the 1600s, when the monks of Kirkstall Abbey ran it.

L - Leeds Blues Angels, a motorcycle gang formed in the 1970s - when members appeared in court in 1996, the judge ordered armed police stand guard outside the building. The last known incident was in 2008 in Sheepscar, when a motorcycle dealership was attacked.

M - When an 82-year-old Nlson Mandella came to speak in Leeds in 1992, he was made a freeman of the city and promptly (and mistakenly) thanked “the people of Liverpool”.

N - 99 steps of Burley begin at Park Lane end of Westfield Road and climb up to Belle Vue Road.

O - Owls of Leeds, which have been associated with the city since 1626 and were originally part of the coat of arms of Sir John Savile.

P - there are 4,000 hectares of parks in Leeds.

Q - Queens Theatres, built in 1898 on Meadow Lane and Jack Lane, could hold 3,500 - it was demolished in 1968.

R - Railways: up to 1846, Leeds clocks ran six minutes four seconds behind London.

S - Seacroft Hospital was once known as Fever Hospital.

T - Leeds Town Hall was meant to cost £35,000 but ended up costing £122,000.

U - The Union Cross pub, Armley (demolished in 1992) was said to have a 100ft high chimney.

V - V1 rockets from Germany landed in Dewsbury, Halifax and Sheffield on Christmas Even, 1944.

W - West Yorkshire Playhouse cost £10m and opened in 1990.

Y - Yorkshire TV first opened in 1969 but was imaged a year earlier.

Z - Zeppelin, which flew over Leeds on June 30, 1936.

Extracts taken from Leeds A Historical Dictionary by David Thornton.

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