Leeds nostalgia: Ice, fire and missing finger

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Turn the clocks back 70 years and Leeds plumbers were being kept busy as the city was the grip of icy weather.

At Roundhay Park, temperatures plummeted to -1 Celsius. It was even cold enough for people to skate on local lakes and the |carried notices to that effect, announcing that the snow would be cleared from the surfaces of Ilkley Tarn, Yeadon Moor Tarn and Lilster Lake, Bradford. The cold weather also meant Leeds Market traders had no bananas to sell and it was expected to be February before any were available.

On Monday January 21, 1946, the YEP reported that storms had breached the sea wall at Withernsea.

In Bradford, part of a man’s finger tip was produced in a test tube during a court case. The case was against George Seakins, 34, a labourer of Isaac Street, who was charged with breaking into Anchor Stores on Thornton Road and stealing 146 pairs of women’s tights.

The finger tip in question was found attached to part of the cash register. The prosecution claimed it matched Seakins and added his left forefinger was also bandaged.

He later admitted the offence, saying: “I did it, I was drunk.”

On January 23 it was reported that a large fire broke out in Lowther Arcade shortly after 4am. The arcade, which linked Cambridge Street and Oxford Street, was 150 yards long and contained 30 shops.

The fire originated in a pet shop - a parrot and two cats were killed in the fire. One cat escaped. Shop owners entered the building even though it was declared unsafe, due to the risk of falling glass from above. The owner of the pet shop managed to recover his safe from the rubble. Despite it snowing at the time, fireman brought the blaze under control in 45 minutes.