Leeds nostalgia: York Road in 1970... and now

PAST AND PRESENT: York Road shown (above) in 1970 and more recently (below).
PAST AND PRESENT: York Road shown (above) in 1970 and more recently (below).
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One of these pictures was taken on January 20, 1970, whereas the other was taken around the same date this year, a gap of 48 years and yet the view does not look that much different.

The White Horse pub, on the right of the pictures, has lost its Tetley’s sign and its exterior looks in better condition in the older picture. Indeed, there’s even the beginnings of what looks like a tree, sprouting from the masonry just above the second storey windows, just below the main sign.


Other than that, pretty much everything on that side of the road, right down to the row of houses in the far distance, looks very similar.

One difference which is of interest, however, is the central reservation, which in the older picture shows grass sloping gently up toward the opposite carriageway, whereas in the modern picture, the border between the two thoroughfares is now bound in monotone concrete. One cannot help but note how much more pleasant a little strip of greenery would look today.

Another significant difference is that in the older picture, two neat rows of streetlamps march off toward and over the horizon. In 1970 they would have emitted a gentle phosphorescent glow, unlike the sobering magnesium glare of modern lights.

According to the 1901 Census, the White Horse pub leant its name to a field at the rear and possibly also a smallholding or farm, where a number of people lived and worked.

The older picture shows what appears to be two buses cresting the horizon but otherwise looks relatively empty, which stands in contrast to today, as motorists well know it to be one of the busiest roads in the city.

If you have an old photo you want us to feature in this column, please get in touch.