Avro Yeadon - Memories of a Leeds 'shadow factory'

This photo from the 1940s showcases the part Leeds played in the war effort.

Friday, 11th December 2020, 6:00 am
PIC:  Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net
PIC: Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net

It's a group portrait of some of the young women who were part of a staff of more than 17,500 people employed at Avro Yeadon (A.V. Roe) during the Second World War.

The Avro factory was built in 1939 close to Yeadon Aerodrome. It was one of several nation-wide 'shadow factories', as they were called, and also the largest in Europe, occupying a site of around 34 acres.

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Many of the workers were female and a proportion were local girls. However, huge numbers of workers arrived for their shifts in special buses, travelling from all over West Yorkshire.

Third from the right on the front row is Audrey Tunnington whose home was in Edgeware Mount, Leeds 8.

The Ministry of Aircraft Production (MAP) also built temporary homes/accommodation for workers who lived some distance away from the Avro assembly plant, for example, on the Westfield Estate in Yeadon and Greenbanks at Horsforth.

Between 1939 and its closure in 1946 around 700 Avro Lancaster bombers and 4,500 Avro Ansons were assembled here by women such as these.

A partially built Lancaster is visible in the background.

This photo is one of the most popular on photographic archive Leodis, which is run by Leeds Library & Information Service. They also run heritage blog The Secret Library Leeds, which provides a behind the scenes look at the Central Library and highlights from its special collections, including rare books hidden away in the stacks.

HAS THIS PHOTO BROUGHT BACK MEMORIES? Share them with Andrew Hutchinson via email at: [email protected] or tweet him - @AndyHutchYPN

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