Leeds nostalgia: From Lower Briggate to Hindenburg

The Hindenburg over Leeds city centre on June 30, 1936 - its appearance left many Loiners a little shaken.
The Hindenburg over Leeds city centre on June 30, 1936 - its appearance left many Loiners a little shaken.
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Today, Times Past presents a ‘letters special’, with a round-up of some of the letters we receive...

I remember seeing the Hindenburg when I was 10 years old. I saw it flying over Halton Moor Avenue, Leeds 9. I fell down on my face I was so afraid. It was so big and quite low as well. I also had two brothers in the war – one was shot in the Home Guard, the other was taken P.O.W.

Anne Layton, Leeds 15

Walking up Lower Briggate, I was casting my mind back to my working days in the early 1940s, I was working in White House Street, behind Briggate. I was recalling the many companies and shops on its length.

Just below the Railway bridge was the Golden Lion Hotel on the left, now renamed, on the other corner was Verity’s, with its concave window. They supplied fireplaces.

Going further, there was the Viaduct public house. The licensee I remember was a Mr G Wheelhouse. Next to the Viaduct, a jewellers by the name ‘Silvers’. Then there was Reynolds and Bransoms, a wholesale chemist who also manufactured the soft drink ‘phospherade’. just across the road on the right was a small doorway, an entrance to the Irish National Club, also on the same side was the Royal Public House, said to be a coaching house in times gone by.

Then on the left was Strand Libraries, a private library and above them was Gaskell & Chambers, who made and fitted beer engines to the licensed trade. Next door was a high class grocers which cheeses and hams in the window.

Just higher on the same side was the Queen of Briggate, Dysons. Renowned for high class clocks and jewellery, the windows and contents were lowered into the basement each night on a series of pulleys and chains.

Dysons was a well-known meeting place for young girls and men before they went on dates and most trams stopped there. Opposite Dysons was Watson and Cairns, noted for sales of motorcycles.

R T Grace

On BBC2 on Christmas Day, I was watching the Morecambe and Wise Show. The first few minutes it showed five still photographs, the last one was one I took of the two of them in the early 1950s and here’s the story of how it came about.

My girlfriend Maria, who later became my wife, went every Tuesday evening to the Empire. One night Morecambe and Wise were appearing well down the bill. I said to Maria, these lads are going to make it big time, so I went to the stage door, Ernie Wise came out and I asked them if I could take some photos and they said yes but to come back the following evening. I did so and was welcomed into their dressing room. Eric acted around like he always did and I took four photographs altogether, then I went home and developed and printed them. I did two sets.

The following evening, I took Morecambe and Wise a set. Eric signed one of my set, I thanked them and didn’t think any more about it until the early 1990s when my son, Martin, bought for my birthday the life story of Eric Morecambe, written by his son, Gary.

My wife was the first to open the book and she said to me ‘you have to see this’. I opened the centre spread and there were all the pictures taken by me. So I wrote to the publisher, who wrote to Gary, who then wrote to me – eventually the publisher sent me a cheque for £50.

All that was forgotten about until I saw my photograph on the TV.

Jimmy Pitts, Storey Place, Killingbeck, Leeds

Is this picture of any interest to your readers? The family moved from Hunslet to Eccles, Lancs, for the new Trafford Park Industrial Estate for work about 1908. I am the daughter of Willie Dixon. His brother Harry sang who is circled, sang for Hunslet Parish Church. He went to Australia and ended up singing in Melbourne Cathedral. He came back to England and ended up marrying a girl who lived across the street from him. I came across the picture recently and didn’t want to just throw it away, so I thought it might be of interest to someone in the Leeds area.

Margaret Meake, Sandbach, Cheshire

In a letter to Times Past, a Mr V Bedford of Pudsey asked if Old Cottage on Bramley Town Street was still there. Yes, it is still there. It is the last reminder of old Bramley before Leeds City Council demolished everything in sight, from The Globe pub end right along Bramley Town Street to the Barley Mow. It was all stone houses and shops.

Now we have a big shopping centre made up of a supermarket and four charity shops, three betting shops and other small companies, not to mention all the empty shops.

C Dutton, Leeds 13