Leeds nostalgia: Police hunt for man with “shifty eyes”

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Dateline: October 23, 1948...

On this day 70 years ago, Leeds Police were hunting “a man with shifty eyes” who was said to have held up two motorists on a quiet roads between Ilkley and Keighley. He stole £10 to £15 from one driver, plus the watch of a passenger, before making off into the night. In addition to his shifty eyes, he was also said to stand about 5ft 6, have light brown hair and broad shoulders.

In other news, Leeds tested its first ever single decker tram. It was 42ft long and it was being put through its paces around “every sharp curve” in the city, in addition to measurements being taken of its overhang, in case it had to overtake other, slower trams. The tram came from Sunderland and seated 44, with room for another 40 standing.

Over in Horbury, firefighters were attempting to put out a fire which had been burning for three weeks. Described as the ‘Horbury volcano’, fire crews had tried to stop it by using 25lb carbon dioxide blocks, which was apparently the first time such an approach had been tried in Britain. The fire broke out at the Addingford refuse tip.

In Ilkley, Nancy Sowden, 22, of Dene Farm, Nesfield, saved a woman from drowning . She spotted 52-year-old Eva Smith, of Grosvenor Terrace, Ilkley in the water between the bridge and the boating stage and ran down the steps but upon reaching the bank saw her floating face down in deep water.

She dived in to save her and pulled her onto the far bank and than alerted a passing motorist. Eva was taken to hospital and recovered - it was later established she had been worse the wear for drink prior to the incident.

The first post-war World Open show of Leeds Ornithological Society took place on this day at St Stephen’s School, Kirkstall, with over 1,000 canaries and budgies.