These two images of Rodley, set 40 years apart, tell a story of survival, for in the 1980s, Leeds City Council considered demolishing the buildings as part of a clearance programme.
The black and white picture was taken on July 9, 1973 on Nunthorpe Road, Rodley.
The caption in our archive reads: “Leeds City council planned to initiate action towards clearance between 1982-86.”
Clearly, that never happened and the stone-built buildings are very much still part of the local scenery.
The road is just a short stretch from the Leeds Liverpool Canal and Rodley Bottoms.
Leeds has a long history of house clearance programmes, which began in the early 20th Century as city leaders realised that squalid housing in certain parts of the city, mostly in the centre, provided excellent conditions for diseases to spread. A vast programme of sanitation and slum clearance was begun and this continued periodically right up to the 1980s, when the programme was extended beyond ‘slums’ to other areas of the city, where it was deemed older housing was less practical or efficient than more modern buildings.
For example, houses on Hoxton Road, Leeds, were being demolished in 1981 as part of a clearance scheme. Even right up to the late 1960s, there were domestic houses right in the heart of Leeds, just a stone’s throw from the Civic Hall.
The programme co-incided with a massive building project by the council, which went on into the late 1980s. One of the biggest schemes of its kind in Leeds was Quarry Hill Flats, which replaced the old back-to-back houses in that area.
The flats, built between 1935 and 1941 and the biggest in Europe, were finally demolished in 1978.