Leeds nostalgia: The Shire and retiring type of retro transport

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Dewsbury, December 22, 1989: Old-syle tradesman Kenneth Briggs was fast bcoming one of Dewsbury’s tourist attractions.

According to an article which appeared in the Yorkshire Evening Post at the time: “Visitors stop and stare in amazement when they see him carrying on his greengrocery business with the aid of his horse-pulled traditional green and gold painted cart.

Kenneth said: “People from various parts of the world, including Australia, Canada and Iceland have stopped to ask me if I mind posing for their cameras.

“And some of them are good enough to send me copies later.”

Kenneth, of Leeds Road, brings a touch of past ages as he makes his tour of the Shaw Cross district on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays of each week.

He added: “It is a family business started around 60 years ago by his father, George, when he escaped from the biting depression in the North East.

“He came down with his belongings on his horse and cart, started up the business and only when he had established himself did he send for mother and the rest of the family.”

You only need to turn the clock back 100 years and horses and carts were a common sight on our, more sedate (and most likely safer), streets. They were the predominant form of transport, outnumbering motorised cars, which even in 1910, were a relatively rare sight.

Even with the rise of the motorcar, some businesses in Leeds, most notably Tetley’s continued to use the old system to deliver their ale to local pubs.

When Joshua Tetley, a maltster from Armley, bought William Sykes’s Hunslet brewery in Leeds for £400 in 1822, the only way to deliver the beer was by horse and cart.

As the brewery expanded they kept up to 120 horses and remarkably, these were still working and making public appearances right up to 2006.