I have been researching an area of Leeds -Wellington Road - just a stone’s throw from the recently vacated Yorkshire Post building.
I am a member of Wortley Local History Group (WLHG).
Researching Wellington Road has proved to be full of surprises. Just like Commercial Road, it had lots of pubs, clubs and ale houses, as many chapels and churches of all denominations, interspersed with shops, heavy and light industries and small businesses, providing employment for the thousands living cheek by jowl in the area.
Not everyone could live in the new model dwellings such as those in Langham Street; some lived in through-by-lights in Greenland Terrace, surrounded by the smell from the gashouse but most families lived in two-up-and-a-down or two-up-and-two-down houses in streets with names such as Prince Albert Street, Perseverance Street, Bright Street and Noble Street. However, the size of the house in no way reflected the number of people living there, nor did it restrict the aspirations, achievements and resilience of the residents. The area produced artists and heroes, good Samaritans, Jack-the-lads and trailblazers.
In the mid to late 19th Century, Wellington Road, New Wortley, really was where it was all at. Fortunes were made and history was shaped. Just imagine men, women and children in 1899, campaigning for better working conditions for gas workers, standing together outside the gashouse facing the Dragoon Guards whilst The Lord Mayor read the Riot Act, giving them just one hour to disperse before the soldiers opened fire. No one was shot that day and the workers won their cause.
My research is on-going so if anyone has any memories about the Wellington Road area, I would be grateful for them. The products of my research will form part of the WLHG exhibition on Heritage Day on September 12.
Val Smith, 23 Moor Park Drive Addingham LS290PU, tel: 01943839661/07964360568