Leeds nostalgia: What was making the headlines back in 1945...

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It’s not every day you see a Government minister getting his kit off, as it were, but on this day back in 1945, that’s exactly what Minister of Labour, George Isaacs was doing.

He was part of the 1945 radical Labour government, which saw Clement Atlee replace Winston Churchill as Prime Minister.

The forward-thinking bigwig disrobed to take his daily dip in the Thames, which he apparently did every day, during both summer and winter. Now, you wouldn’t catch a Cabinet member doing that today, would you?

In other news, plans were unveiled to build a new £5m 55-acre power station for Leeds. The station would be built at Knostrop, replacing the existing one at Kirkstall. The new station was being built as part of the National Grid.

C A Goodall, chair of the Corporation’s Electricity Board, said: “Now the Electricity Board has sanctioned the scheme, we will go full speed ahead. When contracts are let, there will be work for hundreds of men. The scheme involves large excavations, railway sidings, buildings and river facilities, etc.” The capacity of the planned station was said to be 300,000 kilowatts, compared to 200,000 at Kirkstall, which was opened in 1931.

Meanwhile, there was also a more sobering report of the first time British troops entered the Belsen concentration camp in Germany.

Colonel James Alexander Johnson, RAMC, who entered the camp on April 17, told a court: “the prisoners were a mass of humanity, emaciated, without succour and huddled together in huts, many without blankets. The conditions were vile and foul, compared with any ordinary, decent camp for keeping prisoners.”

He went on: “There were 13,000 naked and emaciated corpses lying around. These conditions must have existed for at least two months before our arrival.”

The camp was thought to contain at that time, about 40,000 prisoners.

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