We think of litter as a modern problem but 100 years ago, tourists turned one Leeds park into a dumping zone

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April 21 was a Monday in 1949.

It was also the day on which Leeds tram service notched up record takings, thanks in the main to people wanting to head out of the city to places like Roundhay and Guiseley to spend a day in the sun.

Fair weather no doubt contributed to the record breaking take, which was recorded thus:-

1919 1918

Good Friday £2,190 £1,264

Saturday £,3,631 £2,225

Sunday £2,114 £1,155

Monday £4,567 £2,435

It meant the takings eclipsed all previous records, with the 1918 total being £7,080, compared to £12,502 for 1919. For those interested in figures, the bulk of that money was in silver, the weight a not insignificant 9cwt. Perhaps even more remarkable was that most of the traffic came after noon. Tram drivers in the morning were setting off with half empty carriages.

Much was also made of the good order which was observed among those queuing, in part put down to discipline of returning troops.

...but what about the litter?

However, it wasn’t all good news. According to the same YEP report from the day, visitors to Roundhay left the park “strewn with paper and bottles”.

The article reads: “Never before has Roundhay Park had so many Easter visitors. Apart from the immense queues at the tram barriers... the extend of the popular patronage of the park was the gauged this morning by the innumerable pieces of paper, the covers of many sandwiches and broken bottles by the dozen, to be found all over the place, even on those grass plots which, in pre-war days, were forbidden ground.”

Meanwhile, some 43,000 went to Wetherby Races over the bank holiday weekend, with some 18,000 of those travelling via train from Leeds.