Rare footage of Leeds city centre in 1960s offers glimpse of a bygone age
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The traffic streaming through City Square may look slightly different but no less congested. Fewer suits, but the workers and shoppers seem no less hurried and the Queens Hotel and Black Prince statue are no less imposing. Possibly the biggest surprise is, apart from the grime, how little the city centre has changed.
It was shot decades before the arrival of high definition, digital camcorders, mobile phones and YouTube. The cine film is stunningly clear, capturing gems such as a policeman directing traffic wearing a long white coat, a pre-cleaned Queen’s Hotel and enough flat caps and perms to shake a stick at.
The clips were filmed in the mid 1960s by Uno Bersweden, a Swedish man, who was a frequent visitor to West Yorkshire.
Hailing from the picturesque region of Skane in southern Sweden, Uno frequently brought his cine camera with him to capture English scenes.
The footage was rediscovered by his son-in-law, David Clay, following Uno’s death.
“During the mid sixties Uno was a frequent visitor to England and to West Yorkshire in particular when he came to visit his family in Ossett,” said David.
“The footage was taken on standard eight cine film which was the ancestor of today’s digital video formats. It was an expensive, and by today’s standards, unpredictable hobby.
“In those days there was no option whatsoever to delete and try again.”
The original film was brought over from Malmo in 2001 when David transferred it to VHS tape where it has remained largely unseen.
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