Leeds nostalgia: ‘Healthy children should walk to school’ says 1946 transport chief

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Children should walk to school rather than get the bus, to alleviate pressure on the system - that was according to a leading transport official in Leeds in 1946.

John Rafferty, chairman of Leeds Transport Committee, said the move was necessary in order to free up space for teachers and other professionals, whom, he argued, were unable to get to work on time because of too many children taking up spaces.

He urged all children who were travelling only a few stops to walk rather than take the bus.

The Yorkshire Evening Post covered the story: “Mr Rafferty said he thought that many of the older children who were nowadays travelling only two or three stops to school could very well walk and thus greatly ease the pressure on the transport system.

“It is no good asking for more vehicles,” he went on. “The department simply could not put them into running in present circumstances.

“We now have got to the point when even teachers cannot get to or from school in reasonable time because of perfectly healthy children travelling comparatively short distances.”

He added he did not think they would wear their shoes out sooner because once they arrived at school they spent time in “vigorous play”. He knew this, he added, because he had “specially watched them.”

In other news, a Hull man was prosecuted using a 600-year-old law. The 35-year-old was caught peeping through windows at women. The law under which he was charged was passed in 1360 under the reign of Edward III and prohibited “breakers of the peace, nightwalkers and eavesdroppers.”