Leeds nostalgia: Leeds was ‘fraud capital’ of coupons in 1946

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On this day 70 years ago, all eyes were on Leeds and Government ministers were seriously concerned about the illicit trade in clothing coupons.

Leeds was said to be the “clearing house” of the black market for the entire north of England.

A flood of forged coupons, selling at 1s 3d apiece, was said be of grave concern to the authorities.

A report in the Yorkshire Evening Post on the day said small traders and large had “fallen for the forged coupons”.

But the report warned: “For the most part, however, the ingenuity of the forgers, who are believed to be operating their own printing press in Leeds, is such that shopkeepers complain that was soon as they are warned about one type of forgery another makes its appearance.”

One Leeds shopkeeper said it was not always possible to examine coupons in detail in order to check their validity, especially if there was a queue.

Previously, forged coupons were selling in pubs and back alleys for 2 shillings each but the flood of them on the market had caused the price to drop.

In other news, plans were announced - and then criticised - to restore Fountains Abbey. Architects were even appointed but in an editorial on this day, the YEP questioned whether the plan was worthwhile.

It said: “In its strongest form the aesthetic objection cannot be reconciled with any such project, however carried out.

“In real Gothic times everything was done in the contemporary manner. But those times are 50 years ago and the result of attempting it now cannot be anything else than a fake.

“Since no-one would dream of putting a modern style building on the Fountains site, the conclusion of this argument is to leave the ruins alone.”